Ferrell scored a nice A-frame cabin on the quiet side of the lake, right on the run course at mile 5. Very nice - and it also afforded us a good stairs workout every time we entered/exited - a bonus for free!

Work-out number #1 - getting from the garage to the bottom bedroom. Ferrell takes it on with pleasure.


We arrived mid-way through stage 19 of the Tour de France, another mountain stage in the Alps. Ferrell tries to figure out the remote....

A long drive, successfully navigated, deserves a cold refreshment, compliments of Rick

A stop at Ikeda in Auburn and we selected this exquisite pair of breasts.

Of chicken. For dinner.

Ferrell's a darn strong cyclist, hanging with pro cyclists in the Santa Cruz mountains tuning up for the Tour of California a couple years ago, for a few miles anyway... but watching the tour race up 10% grades at 15 miles per hour put us in our places.


Chez Nolthenius continues with dinner prep, as we wait for Dan and Patty to arrive

Saturday morning, a banana before we take off for a 26 mile ride

Snack break, close to Squaw Valley. Rick went on ahead after this, and I had my own adventure...

Just after I lost sight of Ferrell, I ran over a big construction staple, and that was the end of my rear tube. Getting it off my Campy rim was a major chore, bending my aluminum tire irons, and pinching to death my spare tube.

A bit later than expected, we had a late breakfast after I got patched and back to the cabin. Chez Nolthenius then prepared a delicious omlet breakfast for the gang.

At 3pm, we headed down to the race venue to pick up our packets, numbers, and collect our now-familiar shirts.

Sloth met us at the expo, and Dan, Patty, and Rick get caught up on things

Swim course bouys are out, although it's not clear they're positioned for our race, since there was a 1.2 mile swim race earlier on Saturday.

Slothower's high-end ride

Dan's high-end ride

Ferrell told me my front tire was low, and I brushed it aside, telling him my front tire was fine. But when I checked, I was wrong - a nail sat there mocking me, front tire flat. I bought a spare tube off Rick for insurance during the race, and patched the existing one.

Flat tire #2, and it was only Saturday. I've had 6 times as many flats at the Donner Triathlon trips as all other races combined. Not a good omen.

Dave, thinking deep thoughts. Ferrell, thinking -Tostitos.

Perfect weather for our deck enjoyments

Final race stage of the Tour de France, up the famous Alp d'huez. "Hey, tomorrow that's us, hammering up Donner Pass!"

Race morning - up at 5am, oatmeal was the breakfast of choice.

6:45am - We ride from the cabin to the race

Time to put away the camera and warm up the swimming muscles. Dan, Dave, Rick and I all started in the same wave - at 7:50am for the 50+ age groups. Rick, Dave and Dan chose the left side of the group, and I chose the right side. I like swimming alone, in races. I'll swim extra yards just to avoid dealing with other swimmers. I came into the first bouy from the right, by about 10 yards. Couldn't even see the bouy until I was there, so close to being directly in the rising sun. Navigating to the other side of the lake's 2nd bouy was no problem, and then in to the finish. I stood up, ran out of the lake, and felt a hand pushing me from behind - Ferrell! We do tend to finish quite close, even though I never saw him the entire swim. Dan, Dave, and Scott all had fantastic swims, getting out in 24 minutes, Rick and I in 27 minutes. Rick beat me out of the transition by about 20 seconds.

The thousand foot climb to 7,100 ft Donner Pass was slow enough I could do some one-handed shots of the spectacular scenery and racing. Great!

About this time, a call from Nature added a few minutes to my bike split.

The rollers at the top of the pass, I swear the gaps in the pavement were yet another few millimeters wider this year than last. I was prepared, with extra high pressure in my tires so no 'snakebite' flats this race. Some day those gaps'll be repaired, I hope. The exhilerating downhill to Kingvale was a thrill - I had it up over 40mph. Ferrell passed me at Kingvale, he on the way back up. The run was painful, as usual, on my left psoas. But my concerted efforts at rehab since the Monte Rio triathlon a month earlier had paid off somewhat - although I was slower than last year, I didn't suffer as much.

This guy took the steep downhill from Donner Pass a little beyond the control point, and paid the price

Cindy Koke was there again this year too, and took home an award

Back to the cabin, then home - but one more bit of drama along the way. There was a new fire near Alta, very close to I-80, and traffic ground to a halt. We then heard on the news it was a truck on fire on I-80 that caused the backup. We spent 2 extra hours burning unplanned gasoline...

Uh-oh... only 15 miles till flame-out. Would we arrive at a gas station before... The End?

45 minutes later and 4 miles further down the hill, we now had only 8 miles till flame-out

Here's the burned-out remains of the truck that caused this mess

4 miles till flame out... Finally, at 3 miles till we ran out of gas, we made it to a gas station - Saved!

Here's the race results ...

Name Age Group Swim Swim Place T1 Bike Bike Place T2 Run Run Place Total Age Group Place
Rick Ferrell 55-59 27:34 11/21 2:31 1:24:46 3/21 1:26 52:12 3/21 2:48:26 3/21
Dave Slothower 55-59 26:16 6/21 2:00 1:29:13 5/21 1:55 1:11:05 17/21 3:10:27 12/21
Dan Johnson 55-59 24:25 2/21 1:47 1:34:03 10/21 1:32 59:26 11/21 3:01:11 7/21
Rick Nolthenius 60-64 27:31 1/8 2:53 1:57:42 6/8 1:39 1:18:34 7/8 3:48:19 4/8

So - got to be pleased with the first place swim. Ferrell had an outstanding bike, as did Dave Slothower. Dan had a fantastic swim, and if he's here next year will dominate the 60 year olds in the water.

Here's an interesting factoid: On the Monte Rio Vineman triathlon a month earlier, I was only 17 minutes behinid Ferrell on the bike leg (which was at sea level and pretty flat), but 35 minutes behind him on the run (left psoas in DEEP pain). Today, I was 33 minutes behind him on this steep, high elevation bike course (29 minutes w/o the nature call!) but only 26 minutes behind on the run (24 w/o another nature call!). Still, my run was not good, I was stronger last year and although it hurt more last year, I was 5 minutes faster. My bike last year was also 5 minutes faster (well, 1 minute faster really). My swim was a minute faster this year.