Donner Lake Triathlons

I used to do this race every year, back in the late 80's and early '90's. With the old gang, which in addition to Ferrell and Delucchi, included Rick Lowell, Kurt Karbowski, Dave Slothower, Steve Rigor, Ian Ross.... but, most have "retired" alas. Sloth is still at it, and Rick Ferrell, Dave Delucchi and I are as well. However, I had that '97 through '08 taken out of my triathlon life by the loss of my left hip. Since fixed, but still I've only done pieces of this race since rebuilding myself back to some semblance of my former self. In '11 I did the swim and run. This year, I signed up and did the full race. Ferrell was here with the family and stayed at a cabin. Rick and I planned to do the Olympic distance race. Dave Delucchi is signed up for the Lake Tahoe Ironman race, and so needed to get in a long race at high altitude to gain some fitness and confidence and signed up for the (new this year) Half Iroman Donner Lake Triathlon. Diane was busy at home helping pro racers with logistics and post-race festivities for the Wharf to Wharf run. So, Dave and I decided we'd just rough it and camp along the Yuba River a few miles from the race start.

The Olympic race starts at Donner Lake south shore for a ~1 mile swim, then bikes 1420 ft up to Donner Pass, then some small rollers, then 1400 ft downhill past Kingvale, and then reverses, for a total of 2840 ft of climbing. The run is 6.7 miles counterclockwise around Donner Lake, and is a 100 yds or so longer than the '11 race because of the placement of the finish mats.

Like last year, Rick drove up with the family and stayed in a cabin.

Pix below are shot with my little Lumix, which unfortunately was not set on the "intelligent auto" mode (counting on, I suppose, an intelligent human. Big mistake this morning!), and are saturated in many cases. So, think of these as documentary shots, not art shots.

Saturday noon - time to debark

A hard boiled egg, for the road

Late afternoon; Rick, Dave, Dan, and I at the race HQ at the south shore of the lake

The finish line was moved. Always good to imagine the end of the race before you get there.

Back at camp; yum! pasta, broccoli, and hard boiled eggs for protein, with some red pepper and tomato soup from TJ's for added flavor.

The night-before ritual: afix the bike number, prep the gear. Then we turned in early for a good night's sleep.

4:30am - Yow! Rise and shine, Nolt.

I parked about a mile from the start; we'd bike to the transition area from here

A snapshot of the moon in the dawn light, over a pine bough, shot with the little Lumix I'd carry with me on the bike and run

clip in, and head to the transition

Dave got a good spot, near the swim entrance, run/bike exit

Ferrell arrives - Looks like Mr Coffee got him well-caffeinated for the race

Tracing out the swim bouys; first leg would be tricky, swiming straight into the low sun

Seems to be some disagreement about which is the second bouy

the Fearsome Foursome

Dave and Dan start the Half Ironman race. Dan's out in front already.

Ferrell, still wiring in the logistics. Time to put the camera away and ready for the swim and bike...

A selfie, as I start the run. The June Lake tri shirt is a great race shirt, doubling as a rash guard for the swim. Made for some quick transitions!

At the north end of the lake, 4 miles into the run, I glanced to my right and proceeded to wonder if I was really extracting maximum utility from what Donner Lake had to offer

Dave and Dan had a second lap around the lake to look forward to; but for me...

...the end is near

Rick clinches 2nd place! And for all that hard work he gets...

...these smiling announcers, and a swell pair of don't-quite fit swim goggles to add to his collection

Meanwhile, Dave and Dan are still out there - Dan came in with a great finish here - how could he NOT finish on fire, with shoes like that?

Dan, calf starting to cramp up in the heat

A few minutes later, Delucchi comes in.

Dave wanted to preserve himself for more good training before Ironman, and dialed it back a notch - result: he looks fresh as a daisy!

Congratulations are in order...

...and a thorough debriefing, of course.

Party's over - pack up the Transition. Bag it and tag it, till next year.


Bottom line on results - Ferrell had an excellent race, and took 2nd place in his age group.

Olympic Distance Race

  Overall Age Grp swim 1.5k Transition Bike 40k Transition Run 6.7mi Total
Nolthenius 219th 5/8 28:07 3:31 1:58:03 01:45 1:25:10 3:56:35
Ferrell 31st 2/12 27:14 2:05 1:22:09 ???? 0:52.39inclT2 2:44:07


Half Ironman Race

  Overall Age Grp Swim 1.2mi Transition Bike 56mi Transition Run 13.4 mi Total
Dan Johnson 32nd 9/32 33:51 1:54 2:52:11 1:17 2:06:20 5:35:31
Dave Delucchi 90th 11/16 39:22 2:55 3:32:41 3:44 2:03:28 6:22:08
32 9/32 Daniel Johnson 624 M 43 Lincoln CA 35 33:51 1:54 17 2:52:11 1:17 58 2:06:20 5:35:31 32 5:35:31
90 11/16 David Delucchi 561 M 51 Aptos CA 100 39:22 2:55 115 3:32:41 3:44 50 2:03:28 6:22:08 90 6:22:08



Race results- Olympic Distance Tri