Kayaking’s popularity has stalled | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Kayaking’s popularity has stalled

Jeremy Evans

ZEPHYR COVE – When Steve Lannoy, owner of Kayak Tahoe, first participated in the kayak race in conjunction with the Lake Tahoe Marathon, he never really thought it would catch on. It’s 2007 and he still hasn’t changed his mind.

“This race hasn’t gotten popular enough,” the 53-year-old Lannoy said. “It’s too late in the season and it’s on a Thursday. Those are the two biggest reasons. We haven’t gotten the hot dawgs up here, so it’s basically cheating because I am the only one that is going real fast. … I take it fairly seriously.”

Lannoy proved that on Thursday as he won the 10-mile kayak in the men’s masters division on Thursday, finishing in 1 hour, 34 minutes, 24.9 seconds. His time would’ve also placed him first in the men’s open division.

“Most of the people are just doing it for recreation,” said Lannoy, who mentioned most of the competitors rent kayaks from his shop. “People still haven’t figured out that there is a huge difference between the type of kayak they use and the one I use. Still, it’s fun to be a part of this because it’s a local event.”

South Lake Tahoe’s Adam Schweim won the men’s’ open division (1:53:22.83), while South Lake Tahoe’s Frank Kovac won the 5-mile kayak in the men’s masters division (59:08.88) for the third consecutive year. Kovac, a former athletic director at South Tahoe High School, placed second in 2004 – his first year racing.

Now an English teacher at STHS, Kovac said he’s not sure he needs stiffer competition but perhaps he’d like to see more kayakers.

“The guy who came in second today, he was great competition,” Kovac said. “That was good enough for me. I wasn’t leading after about the first 15 minutes. He was very strong kayaker, and I found it difficult to pass him. But, yeah, I would like to see it get more popular.”

cold water affects swimmers

Of the several dozen people who competed in the various swim events on Thursday at Zephyr Cove, none of them were brave enough to not wear wet suits. However, most admitted to breathing a lot harder than usual after that length of swim.

“I think the altitude was a bigger challenge than the cold water,” said 49-year-old Jeff Spencer, who won the men’s masters division in the 1-mile swim in a time of 26 minute, 39.41 seconds. “The wet suit obviously helped, but getting enough oxygen seemed to more of a challenge.”

Spencer, who lives in Arkansas but used to be a lifeguard in Santa Cruz, said the water right now in Arkansas is 78 degrees. The water temperature of Lake Tahoe was 60 degrees, according to a University of California, Davis Web site.

Ian Getzler won the men’s open division of the 2-mile swim in 25:36.69, while Meghan McCarthy was the top female swimming in 28:30.22.

cyclist looking for record

Marathon director Les Wright has heard a rumor that a Truckee athlete will be attempting to break the record for cycling the 72-mile circumference of Lake Tahoe in Friday’s 72-mile bike ride. The current record is 3 hours, 1 minute.

“Anybody who gets under three hours is hauling,” Wright said. “With the hills and altitude, it would be a pretty amazing thing to do.”

Marathon participants, however, get an added advantage because they get preferential treatment at stop lights, meaning they get to pass through stop lights unimpeded.

Wright heard that, while in high school, former Tour de France cyclist and Reno native Greg LeMond circled Lake Tahoe in 3 hours, 15 minutes but likely could’ve broken three hours had he not been required to stop at stop lights.

cold water affects swimmers

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