Sunday, August 28, 2022

Lake Tahoe Half Iron Tri-Robin-2022

August 28, 2022 – Lake Tahoe, CA
Swim 1.2miles – Bike 56miles – Run 13.1miles

6:22:37 (38:51 – 7:22 – 3:23:52 – 2:50 – 2:09:40)


1st W45-49 (out of 1!); 5th/27 Overall


OLY – FCA: Troy Soares

OLY DU – Dave Campbell

Yesterday started off great cheering Anna at her first cross country meet. Now it’s Troy and my turn to race this morning.  We wake up at 4am, ouch, and get ready.  It’s cold outside which we are not used to since it’s been hot in Auburn.  Troy and I came prepared with jackets, beanies and gloves.  We bundle up and drive 10 miles to the venue, Sugar Pine Point Park.  It’s dark out when we park.  We use flashlights, forgot headlamps, to ride over to transition.  We run into Francie and Dave Campbell.  Dave is racing the Olympic Duathlon and Francie is volunteering.  Always nice to see their smiles.  And good friend Courtney Cardenas is announcing this morning.

I’ve been having a GI issue and am glad that today it seems better.  Thank you Lord!  Troy and I head down to the beach with the girls.  I have on 2 caps, booties and a rash guard on along with my wetsuit.  I love to swim open water but I really dislike being cold! I’m still cold so Anna gives me her blanket and wraps her arms around me.  What a sweet heart!  We all huddle and pray.  Courtney explains the course to us.  It sure looks like a long way!

The race is delayed 10 minutes but eventually the first wave is off and I’m on deck. The water feels cold so I avoid getting in until the very last minute. 


Ready, set, go!  I get a good start and get into a good rhythm.  The water feels great and it’s so crystal clear.  It’s fun looking down at the sandy bottom seeing the occasional log or rock.  The first 500 is sub-10. 

I am really enjoying the swim.  The next 500 comes fast, sub-8!  Wow, that’s awesome.  I turn at the last buoy to head back to shore.  I feel like I’m not moving!  A current, in a lake??  Has to be because I feel like I’m swimming in slow motion. I look for someone to draft off of but the swimmers are far off to my left.  I do some extra sighting to see if I’m on course. I am.  I just keep trying to press forward.  Finally a swimmer from the wave behind me comes by.  He’s not wearing a wetsuit!  I get on his feet and try to hang out.  I am able to hang with him for about 250 yards.  It’s enough to propel me to the finish. 

I swim as far as I can before it gets too shallow.  I carefully stand and weave my way among the rocks. I decide to take off my wetsuit in the water for ease of getting it off.  It’s risky since the air is cold.  Anna stashed my towel on the beach and I wrap it around me as I run up the hill to transition. 


I am cold.  I put on my jersey, arm warmers, two jackets, a beanie and gloves.  I hope that will keep me covered!  I also put bike shorts over my tri shorts for extra padding.

(10th on the swim)


I run out of transition and jump on my bike.  I head out of the park and onto the shady road.  I’m glad I have all these layers on but I’m still cold and shivering.  The first 32 miles of the race are an out and back on W Lake Blvd.  It’s flat and fast. Going out I’m yearning for the open sunny spots and enjoy them when they come.  It’s fun to admire all the beautiful homes along here.  I imagine folks inside enjoying their morning cup of coffee.

The turn-around comes quick and I’m heading back. I notice several women heading back. I hope to hold them off as long as possible.  I’m feeling warmer and more comfortable now.  The little towns are waking up more as I head back.  More people are on the bike path that meanders along the road.  I’m feeling good and moving fast.  I remind myself to enjoy this because the last 25 miles of this course is hilly!

I make it back to Sugar Pine and turn and head out for one more out and back.  This time I don’t dread the shade.  Thank you Lord for the warmth!

I remind myself to enjoy the flat and push it. The miles go by fast and I’m already turning around for the last time!  There are a lot more cars on the road and I know the Emerald Bay area is going to be busy by the time I get there.

Once back to Sugar Pine Park I keep going.  I have to pull over briefly to take care of some business and then I’m back on the road.  It’s a nice stretch for a while but I soon hit a long climb.  It’s a rude awakening after over 30 miles of flat!  I watch the Olympic riders flying back.  At least coming back I will have my reward of that downhill!

I finally get to the Emerald Bay area and enjoy some downhill stretches.  I am most concerned about this part of the course because it’s narrow, winding and busy.  Lord, please keep me safe.  It’s comforting that I’m on the hill side of the road and not the cliff side at the moment.  I can actually look around at the scenery a bit and soak it in.  The hair pin turns do keep my on my toes though. 

I get beyond the bay and make it to the turn around.  I make a quick stop to get a water bottle and then it’s up I go!

Thanking God that the cars have been fewer than expected.  But, it’s nice to have other riders around me…strength in numbers!  It’s a difficult climb back through Emerald Bay.  There are some short and scary spots with no shoulder and a sheer cliff. 

A young girl passes me like I’m standing still.  I tell her good job and she encourages me back with much enthusiasm.  Cool!  I try to keep her in my sights as long as possible.

God gets me through and I soon find myself enjoying that downhill stretch back to the park. 

Almost there!  There is a volunteer directing me to a bike path that leads to the park.  This path is is bumpy due to the tree roots pushing underneath. I carefully pull my feet out of my shoes and place them on top and continue to pedal. I finally turn off the path and into the parking lot of Sugar Pine Park.  I dismount and run my bike to transition. I can hear girls are cheering.  I run into transition and see Troy cheering.  I figured he’d be done by the time I finished the bike (I have no idea that he crashed on his bike but still did the run). I make a pretty quick transition and then I’m off.  Troy tells me the course is nice but that I have to do a “mean” out and back.  Ok, good to know.


(9th on the Bike)


My legs are tired but beside the typical stiffness, I feel pretty good.  I wonder if my hamstring is going to nag me the whole time.  It feels a tad sore. I go down a steep bike path and pass Olympic distance racers coming up to finish.  That will be me eventually.  Soon I’m directed off onto a dirt trail. I realize that I still have the bike shorts on.  Oops!  I remember our good friend and pastor Lincoln Murdoch made the same mistake in a race.  He stashed the extra shorts and came back for them.  I have no idea where I can leave them so I just keep them on.

Mile 1 is 10:15. Hamstring is sore so I focus more on my form.

I hear Anna playing her school’s fight song on her trumpet through the trees!  Love it!  It gets me amped.


Mile 2 is 9:48. I need to use a restroom.  Those look like bathrooms!  I run around a large building and see that it’s only showers.  Darn, keep going!  Soon the trail passes right next to some bathrooms.  Score! 

Mile 3 is 11:20. Feeling much better now!  Someone asks me if we are doing a loop.  I tell them there is a loop we have to do but not sure if we are on it.

Mile 4 is 10:10. Hamstring still sore but not bad.  This going so much better than June Lake where I had to baby it.  I actually feel like I can push it!  The other nice thing about this course versus June Lake is that there is a lot of shade!

Mile 5 is 9:36. I see a sign pointing me to the right for an out and back.  The fine print says I need to do this twice.  Ugh!  Troy says it’s mean so it must be really hard.  I am pleasantly surprised that it’s not too bad.  There is an aid station here and I grab some chips. Yum!  The volunteers look like a mother-daughter pair.  So sweet!  I thank them.

I see that young girl from the bike coming back.  She’s smiling and still encouraging me.  I tell her good job.

Mile 6 is 9:51.  At the turn around, yay! 

Mile 7 is 10:03. I have to do the same loop again with the out and back.  I merge with other half runners starting the loop.  I come behind a guy with a race shirt that says “Hot as Hell”.  I tell him this race is much more pleasant than that race.  He tells me he’s from Alabama and that race was 105 degrees with humidity!  Ouch!  I find out it’s his first time to CA.  I tell him welcome.  We part ways and I tell him good job.

Mile 8 is 10:52. I realize two things.  One, my hamstring doesn’t hurt.  Praise God!  Two, this loop is much shorter than I expected.  Another praise!

Mile 9 is 9:40.  One more out and back!  At the aid station I ask if they have Cola.  They say yes and offer it to me but I tell them thanks and I’ll get it on the way back. I grab some more chips.

I pass a woman going out and tell her good job.  After I pass she tells me she’s from Fresno and knows my FCA teammate David Kurtz.  I tell her that’s awesome and keep up the great work.  I see that young girl coming back and I realize I’m not that far behind her now.  Wow, could I actually catch her?  I keep pushing.

Mile 10 is 10:09.  I get to the aid station and there is a crowd of girls.  As I come up, one of the volunteers sees me and hold the cola out to me. "Thank you so much!  That’s awesome!”

The loops and the out and back are done! I get to head back. I find my way along a single track trail.  It’s meandering and fun!

Mile 11 is 10:44.  A guy comes up behind me and I move over for him to pass but he says he likes the pace.  He motivates me to push.

Soon I can see that young girl ahead!  I actually catch up and pass her.  I’m so surprised.  I tell her good job.  I’m amped now and push harder.

Further along I see another woman!  I never noticed her.  I pass her and tell her good job. 

Mile 12 is 9:50.  I am just in awe.  Lord, this is crazy! Thank you!  I feel tired but I’m so excited that it’s almost easy to push.

I can hear Courtney announcing the finish line in the distance.  Almost there.  I hop of the trail and I’m on the bike path.  It’s my turn to finish now.  I can hear Anna and Ariel cheering.  I smile and wave.  It’s a short but steep climb to the finish.  I don’t look back but just push hard.  What a gift this has been!  I cross the finish and point to God.  Thank you Jesus! 

(5th on the Run)