Triathletes come to Donner again |

Triathletes come to Donner again

Colin FisherSwimmers compete in the High Sierra Mountain Bike Triathlon Saturday at Donner lake.

Tahoe residents dominated the second annual High Sierra Mountain Bike Triathlon this past Saturday at Donner Lake.

The event consisted of a half-mile swim in Donner Lake, 14 mile mountain bike ride through Cold Stream Canyon and four mile run along the south shore of Donner.

This race was apart of the regional qualifier point series in the Nissan Xterra Off Road Triathlon circuit. The goal of these events is to place in the top 10 athletes in each age group to earn points. Each place is worth a certain number of points. In the points series: first place is worth 75 points, second is worth 67 points, third is good for 61 points, fourth is 56 points, fifth is 51 points, sixth is worth 47 points, seventh is 43 points, eighth is 39 points, ninth is good for 36 points, and 10th is 33 points.

By earning points, athletes hope to make it the USA Championships in Lake Tahoe (Nevada side) Sept 28. Each age group has a certain number of available spots for the USA Championships. The athletes can compete in as many events as they would like, but their score is based on their top three finishes. So it is important for these racers to keep competing, because they can be knocked out of contention at any time.

In this weekends race, the Tahoe crew racked up points in all age groups.

In the men’s 25-29 age group, Truckee local Greg Christman took second place earning 67 points. He finished sixth overall. Before Saturday’s event, Christman was ranked seventh in the South West region. In order to qualify for the USA Championship, Christman will have to stay in the top eight men in his age group.

For the men’s 30-34 age group, Incline Village residents stepped up the competition. Ross McMahan won the age group and finished second overall. McMahan currently sits in the number one spot in the South West region for his age group. Capturing second place in this age group was another Incline Village local, Dave Noble. Truckee resident, Mike Jacob, scored 47 points by coming in sixth place.

Gary York, of Truckee, placed 10th in the men’s 35-39 age group.

For the men’s 40-44 age group, Truckee’s own, Zach Beekler captured first place and fourth place overall. Before this event, Beekler was tied for eight place in his age group in the South West region point series. The 75 points he scored, will help bump him into the seven spots available in his age group for the USA Championship.

Also in this age group, Eric Alstand of Truckee, placed ninth.

Scoring 61 points, Richard Silver of Tahoe City placed third in the 55-59 age group. Before Saturday, Silver was tied for fourth in the South West region. For his age group, he must place in the top two in order to qualify for the USA Championship.

In the women’s 20-24 age group; Tahoe City’s Jessica Ferguson placed sixth, and Jillian Raymond took seventh.

For the women’s 25-29 age group, Shannon Rahlves of Truckee won the division in her first off road triathlon. Rahlves finished third overall among the women.

In the same age group, Kris Bennhoff of Olymipic Village took fourth place. From Truckee, Laura Zander placed fifth.

In the women’s 30-34 age group, Samantha Shields of Truckee came in second place.

For the women’s 35-39 age group, from Truckee, Jill Ballantyne took 10th place.

The feeling of these smaller regional points series is completely grass roots. The shores of the lake and transition area are covered with cheering friends and family. At one point, an entire family cheered for their dad as he finished the mountain bike portion of the race doing a wheelie and ringing his bell.

The Tahoe locals have developed a family of their own. Each race I see the same faces smiling, laughing and cheering together. They sit together during awards ceremonies and make plans to train and race.

In early Aug., McMahan has plans to travel with Noble, and Rahlves to Crested Buette for another competition. Noble and Rahlves hope to score enough points to qualify for the USA Championships in Tahoe. Then in early Sept, Beekler, Christman, Noble, Jacob, Shields, McMahan, and Rahlves plan to travel to Redding for the Whiskey Man Off Road Triathlon. This is another regional points series event, in which Noble, Rahlves and Shields hope to score enough points to ensure their place at the USA Championships. For Beekler and Christman, this event will be another chance to ensure they stay in the top qualifying spots in their age group.

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