Great Lake Tahoe Cycle Race record falls again
The Great Lake Tahoe Cycle Race record is made to be broken.
For the second year in succession the record fell for the 72-mile loop of the lake Saturday morning. This time, Curtis Doman of South Jordan, Utah, shaved nearly four minutes off Nate Freed’s 2008 record of two hours, 59 minutes and 8 seconds.
The lead pack was separated by a mere half-a-bike length as it came across the finish line in Zephyr Cove. Doman’s official time was 2:55:21.77, beating masters champion Todd Weitzenberg of Santa Rosa across the finish line by .27.
Race director Les Wright delayed announcing an official winner until later Saturday because of the close finish and to allow a finish-line camera to sort out the results.
Area racers fared well as Freed of Tahoe City took third (2:55:22.58), Justin Rossi of Reno came in fourth (2:55:22.82), Truckee’s Jesse Miller-Smith was fifth in 2:55:23.05 and Blake Bockius of Truckee claimed sixth place at 2:55:23.29.
Twenty-five racers, including a cache of competitors from South Lake, bested Freed’s former record. Walter Morris of South Lake Tahoe finished 14th in 2:57:57.26, Sean Sweeney of South Lake Tahoe was 20th in 2:58:00.01, Jason Schoonover of South Lake Tahoe placed 21st in 2:58:00.93, South Shore’s Dan Spano and Reve Ramos claimed 24th in 2:58:17.40 and Christopher Probert of Zephyr Cove took 25th place at 2:58:17.63.
Defending women’s champion Nancy Harrison of South Lake Tahoe was the runner-up Saturday, even though her time was 10 minutes faster. She also won the masters title.
“First amateur,” she declared after finishing the race in 3:14:10.19 and placing 35th overall. “It’s my personal best, so I’m really happy. I did the best I could.”
Katrin Tobin of Santa Cruz was the only woman better than Harrison, finishing near the lead pack at 2:57:57.58.
One of the biggest dramas of the race was where the tandem team of Spano and Ramos would finish. The longtime local residents accomplished their goal of breaking the three-hour mark, finishing nearly 2 minutes ahead of schedule – and well ahead of the old course record.
“I honestly didn’t believe it was possible to break three hours,” said Spano, whose team finished in 3:07 a year ago. “I realize I had a limited belief there, and I realized Reve was right. It can be done. Reve is all heart and all out all of the time.”
The duo, who led the single bikes until the climb to Spooner Summit, pumped their fists as they glanced back at the finish-line clock.
“There were a lot of times where we were out front, and when we got to Spooner that was our big challenge and minimizing the difference between the lead pack,” Spano said.
Freed was a little disappointed about not repeating.
“Yeah, I felt some pressure to defend,” he said. “There is a lot of prize money, so the word is starting to spread. I road race every weekend, there is not this much prize money unless you do a national-type race.”
Doman, who averaged 24.6 mph around the lake, received $500 for breaking the course record.
There were two other cycling races. Alan Koenigsberg of Lafayette, Calif., won the 20-mile race in 1:14:30.20. Gabriela Rathbun of Sunnyvale, Calif., captured first place by 12 minutes in the 35-mile race with her winning time of 1:22:53.45.
Local dominate kayak race
Lee Hanson, Frank Kovac and Alexander Bebout delivered a 1-2-3 South Lake Tahoe finish in the 5-kilometer kayak race on Friday morning. Hanson won in 57 minutes, 12 seconds, beating Kovac by only :20.
Jeff Miner of South Lake Tahoe was eighth.
South Lake Tahoe’s Bob Swain paddled away with the 10K title, winning in 1:35:52. Karl Unterleitner of Placerville was runner-up at 1:52:31.
Morris, a top-15 finisher in the cycling race, showed his versatility by winning the mile swim on Friday. He was timed in 24:53. Michael Sharp of South Lake Tahoe was 15th and Nancy Kuhn of Zephyr Cove placed 19th.
South Lake Tahoe’s Mark Sheetz took fourth place in the half-mile swim at 20:34. Heidi Smith of Kamuela, Hawaii, captured first place in 17:05.
Seattle’s John Murray finished first in the two-mile swim at 47:22. Pike Reardon of Gardnerville was fourth at 51:15, Megan Severa of Incline Village placed sixth in 53:47, Kara LaPoint of Truckee came in 11th at 57:57 and Jennifer Valosek of Truckee was 12th in 1:01:00.
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