Lake Tahoe Ironman Race Report by Bruce Aldrich

By Bruce Aldrich
The days leading up to IM Lake Tahoe were full of good weather and excitement for the race. There were triathletes practicing on the bike course, runners on the run course, and hundreds out practicing the swim start at Kings Beach. Everyone’s high spirits were dampened when a storm blew in the day before the race. Athletes had to think again about their clothing choices. They wondered how they would keep warm in the icy water. Ironman Lake Tahoe was all about staying warm.
The weather cleared on race day, bringing cool temperatures. The swim went well, but the water was definitely colder than in previous days. The beach sand had an ice-crust layer on it. Sighting the turn buoys was difficult because of the morning fog. Once out of the swim, frozen hands made dressing for the bike difficult.
The challenging bike course with 4 major climbs became even more difficult on race day due too the cold weather. It’s hard to dress for 40 degree weather on a bike. It’s even harder to dress for 40 degree weather when you are trying to race. Bottom line: You dress light and freeze to death while you wait for your body to warm up. I started to thaw-out just about the time the course took us into fog, where the freezing process began again. I rode the whole ride without shedding any of my “extra” clothing layer. The first two hours on the bike were a slow misery for me.
The run course along the Truckee River from Squaw Valley was cool and scenic. The course is moderately flat with four short hills. The cool weather made hydration a relatively easy chore. Staying warm was difficult for many once the sun went down. I saw hundreds of athletes shuffling along after dark wrapped in Mylar blankets to protect them from the falling temperature.
My experience at IM Lake Tahoe was a positive one. I am pleased with my results (13:43), and I thank IM for putting the whole race together for me in my new home town. I was amazed at the large numbers of spectators along the bike and run courses. The Lake Tahoe area definitely embraces endurance sports.  I will enjoy watching or volunteering at next year’s race. I just hope I stop shivering by next year.
About Laura Matz