Sharp performance for local triathlete
South Lake Tahoe resident Michael Sharp won his age group at the second-biggest triathlon in the United States earlier this month.
Sharp, 46, finished first in the 45-49 group at the Wild Flower Triathlon at Lake San Antonio, which drew more than 7,500 athletes this year.
The Wild Flower consisted of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run. Sharp, whose weakest leg was the swim, started to realize his frontrunner status midway through the running portion of the race.
“I thought I was in the top 10 for sure, but I thought I might be out front because I didn’t see anybody in my age group for quite a while,” said Sharp, a manager with the Kirkwood Public Utility District. “But it took a good hour after I finished to figure it out. I’ve never won anything that big before, so it was a shock.”
Sharp won his age group by more than five minutes, with the shorter distances than a regulation triathlon a boost to his confidence.
“I was able to race rather than just trying to finish, so it’s not totally just endurance,” he said. “It’s not quite a sprint the whole way, but I knew I could finish even if I gave my maximum effort on every leg.”
Sharp’s biggest previous win was at last summer’s Lake Tahoe Half-Marathon, but he’s been competing in endurance sports for nearly 10 years. His biggest achievement was making the Ironman in Hawaii in 2002, which he hopes to qualify for again this year at the Cour d’Alene Ironman in Idaho in late June. He also plans to compete at the Escape from Alcatraz in San Francisco in early June.