This race was to be Ferrell's last Donner Lake Tri, so we planned to make it maximally enjoyable. We were both maximally busy, though, before the trip, and a half hour before Ferrell showed up at my place, he says over the phone - "by the way, could you maybe find some hotels in the area that might have a room?". I flash-backed to our Santa Barbara Pier-to-Peak experience 2 years ago, when we drove around town for a couple of hours, trying, before darkness came, to find SOMEwhere that had a room. So, I got busy and looked up every motel in a 30 mile radius of Donner.



I had a list of phone numbers, and as soon as we got into San Jose and cell phone heaven, we got busy.

Ferrell's car was equipped with voice-activated phoning... but the darn Siri (or whatever chip-brain was responsible), didn't like my voice and kept screwing up the phone call. Ferrell took over the talking - guess it knows its master. All Siri wanted from me was my credit card.

Next task was locating a Taco Hell for lunch. Eagle-eye Nolthenius can spot the little bell icon from a mile away. We scored just past Tracy. It was 100F as we reached Sacramento in the early afternoon. Pretty hot.

But not as hot as 106F, which it reached as we got to Auburn and made another stop, at a local fruit and nut stand, then headed more steeply up into the Sierra, where it cooled off to 80F by the time we arrived at Donner Lake.

Scott invited us to join his family and friends at his spectacular second home in Donner-Tahoe for Saturday night.

Dinner, setting, and conversation were all top class. Top. Class.

Tropical air and smoke from a fire south of us in the foothills, made for a spectacular sunset as we drove back down towards our motel.

Rendered in dry brush in Photoshop

Just below our bike course turn-around near Kingvale, is a beautiful old lodge - the Rainbow Lodge. Ferrell's great grandmother worked here in the 1940's. This also turned out to be the closest place we could find that had a room.

Ferrell relaxes, and I do some roller work on my legs while we watch the time trial stage of the Tour de France

A new record - our $117 room was officially the smallest hotel room ever! That's a lot per square foot. Barely big enough to fit in the single bed. My pillow and sleeping bag extend to under the tiny sink.

Up at 5:30am, we pull outselves together and exit. There's a complementary breakfast, but it doesn't open till 7:30am. A few miles up the road, Ferrell discovered we still had the room key! By the time we drove back to return it, we were behind schedule.

We park a half mile from the transition, pump the tires, and are off.

I grab a slot on the last rack. Rick and I were the last to leave the transition area before the swim start.

Rick looks concerned. I know I must have forgotten something.... now what was it?

Focus, Ferrell

That's better

The race is on. After the swim, camera access returns. The climb to Donner Pass

That's Donner Lake below

I had a good swim.... didn't wander around like last year. I did stay a little more contained, not red-lining it all the way like 2 years ago. Maybe that was the difference? Anyway, Ferrell beat me out of the water by a few seconds, and to the mat by 16 seconds, after I had a "after you. No, after YOU" moment to get some gatorade right before the mat timer entrance to the transition. But that Ferrell's sneaky, dogging it in the pool at our workouts, and then putting in secret quality work on Monday mornings when I'm unavailable. Then nipping me in half the races. "The man is.... nefarious"! My bike was decent, felt good. And my run started off good, but at mile 2 my left hip psoas/hip flexor issue came back with a vengence. Very painful getting around the lake and back in; it was mind over hip, yet again. Getting a little tired of that at Donner, actually. It's ALWAYS an excruciating run there, since my surgery. At least I did shave a few minutes off of my 2013 time. Scott beat us both out of the water pretty easily, by 3 minutes - a darn good swimmer.

Cheers! Rick and Scott imbibe a little Sierra Nevada pale ale to celebrate top 10 finshes in a quality race with some tough competitors

The food was good - and popular

Maybe that's enough Pale Ale, Scott...

That's better!

Ferrell checks the posted results: podium time? Alas, no.


Jim and Rick usually battle it out for podium time.

The ceremonial debarking from the transition zone. This party's OVER. Donner Lake Tri - bag it and tag it.


Olympic race age group results

Rick Ferrell: 4th place, at 2:47:14
Scott Adams: 7th place, at 3:04:26
Rick Nolthenius: 7th place, at 3:39:50

Great weekend, with it's share of stories and adventures and entertaining foopaa's.