Matt Backler was a long way from home Saturday. Yet he raced through the XTERRA Lake Tahoe triathlon course as if it were his backyard.
The 33-year-old from Tauranga, New Zealand, claimed first place in the annual off-road triathlon, posting a time of 2 hours, 53 minutes, 43 seconds. Matthew Balzer, 32, of Reno, finished runner-up in 2:55:05, and Romolo Forcino, 42, of Oak Hills (Calif.) was third in 3:00:35.
Julie Baker, 37, of Sonora was the first woman and 10th overall in a time of 3:15:31, while a couple of top local triathletes also contended for the women’s win.
Genevieve Evans of Carnelian Bay was second among women and 13th overall, in 3:16:23, and Kara LaPoint of Truckee placed third in the women’s field and 14th overall, finishing in 3:17:30.
The International triathlon began with a swim that included two 750-meter laps off the shore of Village Green in Incline Village, plus a 50-meter beach run. The race then sent participants on a scenic, 22-mile mountain bike ride up and over the Flume Trail before finishing with a 6-mile trail run.
Truckee’s Donatas Ereminas, 31, was the top male finisher from the Tahoe area, as he placed 20th in the field of 113 triathletes with a time of 3:25:37. Lee Collins, 36, of South Lake Tahoe was 27th in 3:33:35, Peter Hanson, 48, of Incline Village was 33rd in 3:39:57, and Leslie Shaw of South Lake Tahoe was 40th overall in 3:47:49.
Among other local finishers, Andrew Ellis of Incline Village placed 44th in 3:50:27, Robert Kronkhyte of Tahoe City was 45th in 3:50:48, Dorea Shoemaker of Incline Village was 46th overall in 3:54:06, Chris Anderson of Carnelian Bay was 57th in 4:03:06, and Meghan Kelley of Crystal Bay was 60th overall in 4:03:56.
In the sprint triathlon — which consisted of a 750-meter swim, the same 22-mile bike as the International triathlon and a 3-mile run — 24-year-old Andrew Jensen of Bend took the win in a time of 2:35:46.
Marc Rancourt, 41, of Incline Village finished second in 2:48:22, Gregory Kenney, 47, of Carson City was third in 2:53:32 and Bradley Haag, 23, of Incline Village was fifth in 2:54:10.
Kim Devine, 47, of Reno placed first among women and 13th overall in a time of 3:20:53. She was followed by Kristen Martin del Campo of Kings Beach, who was the second woman and 18th overall in 3:26:26, and Shannon Wilson of Reno, who was the third woman and 22nd overall in 3:31:35.
Tim Racich of Incline Village was 16th in 3:23:02, Greg Flanders of Incline Village was 30th in 3:45:39, Kristen Morgan of Tahoe City was 37th overall in 4:10:37, and Incline Village’s Duane Andrews (4:16:42) and James Blanc (4:20:51) were 38th and 39th, respectively.
A total of 43 people finished the sprint triathlon. Find complete results at www.bigblueadventure.com and a photo gallery at www.lefrakphotography.com.