Local athletes dominate at XTERRA Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Local athletes dominate at XTERRA Tahoe

Local athletes put on a dominant showing at Big Blue Adventure's XTERRA Lake Tahoe off-road triathlon last weekend, taking first place in both the men's and women's divisions.

John Donovan, of Incline Village, outpaced the field of 135 runners to capture first place; while on the women's side, Sian Turner, of Truckee, took advantage of a strong mountain biking performance to capture the XTERRA Lake Tahoe crown.

"We're just outdoor people," said Turner of the local athlete's success at the race. "Most people I know moved here because they love to run, bike, and swim. They just love the lifestyle … and so we produce a lot of great athletes."

The race was held on Saturday, Aug. 19, and included a 1,500-meter swim in Lake Tahoe, a 22-mile biking section with over 4,000 feet of climbing across the Flume Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail. The race ended with a 10-kilometer trail run through Incline Village.

No one would come close to Donovan, who finished the race more than 12 minutes ahead of anyone else.

He'd be the third swimmer out of the water before making his move on the mountain biking section.

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"I've done this race a few times, and I just kind of have a good feel for it," Donovan said. "I tore off on the bike trying to catch everyone. I'm pretty good at climbing, so I tried to outclimb everybody. My goal was to try and get everybody earlier on in the climb, and I got some people a little later than I expected. There were people riding pretty well."

Donovan reached the transition station with a healthy lead, and top time through the mountain biking section at 1 hour, 46 minutes, 46 seconds.

"I do a lot of running, so usually I'm looking forward to getting off the bike," he said. "If there's someone ahead or I'm racing someone, I try to stick it to them on the run."

From there Donovan cruised across the running section of the triathlon with the fifth fastest time in the field to take first place with a total time of 2:56:50.

Donatas Ereminas, of Truckee, finished in second place (3:09:03), followed by Reno's Matthew Balzer (3:10:42), and Ross McMahan, of Incline Village (3:12:05) in fourth place.

On the women's side, Turner got off to a tough start as she battled her way through the field of racers during the swim.

"I nearly got drowned at the start of the swim," she said. "I made a bad call on where I started and got pummeled a bit. But I made my way out of it, and then had a pretty good swim after that."

Turner came out of the water in second place, behind Kristin Corbett, of San Clemente, Calif. She'd make up that ground in a big way on the mountain bike, finishing nearly 10 minutes ahead of Corbett to move into first place.

Turner then held off Corbett over the 10-kilometer run, to take the win with a time of 3:39:39.

"First lap of the run I felt good," Turner said. "The second was a struggle. Mental grit definitely got me around."

Sarah McMahan, out of Incline Village, was the next fastest local competitor with a time of 3:55:27 for fifth place out of the women's division; followed by Truckee's Kimberly Larson.

The racing also included a shorter sprint distance, which took competitors on a 750-meter swim, 22-mile bike ride, and 3-mile run. The Lake Tahoe Duathlon was also held, consisting of a pair of 3-mile runs with the 22-mile mountain bike ride in between.

Stefan Laursen, of Minden, Nev., came out on top of the men's division of the sprint with a time of 2:32:46. Laura Holien, out of Montana, took the win on the women's side.

John Garrison, out of Kensington, Calif., was the duathlon champion with a time of 2:44:16; while Helen Gilbert-Snyder, from El Cerrito, Calif., was the top woman.

Big Blue Adventure will next host one of its biggest events of the year with two days of racing next weekend for the Lake Tahoe Triathlon, which will include seven different races of varying distances and disciplines.

For more information or to register, visit BigBlueAdventure.com.