Truckee athletes shine during day 2 of Donner Lake Triathlon |

Truckee athletes shine during day 2 of Donner Lake Triathlon

Olympic distance winner and Truckee local, Donatas Ereminas, crosses the finish line for first place on Sunday, July 22. For more race photos visit
Courtesy of Harry Lefrak / Lefrak Photography

After hosting an event nearly every weekend since the beginning of June, race organizers and the crew at Big Blue Adventures will finally get a break from putting on events across the Truckee-Tahoe area.

The company has hosted nine different days of racing with dozens of evens since the start of the season on June 3, and concluded this month’s racing last weekend with the 37th Donner Lake Triathlon.

The two-day event brought hundreds to Donner Lake for several different triathlon distances, open water swims, and children’s races.

Bay Area Siblings own day 1

The first of two days of competition at Donner Lake kicked off on Saturday morning at West End Beach, where siblings Kevin Bishop and Kelly Bishop, Los Altos, Calif., swept the day’s featured event, the Donner Lake Sprint Triathlon, with each taking home a first-place on the shortened triathlon course.

“We come up to Tahoe every summer,” said Kevin Bishop, who races full time in the International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series for Team USA. “And this is the thing we want to do.”

This is the third straight year the family has made the trip to Donner Lake, and third straight year Kevin Bishop has taken the overall win in the sprint distance. Bishop, 24, would cross the line with a time 37 minutes, 35 seconds, besting his previous fastest time of 39:05, which he set at last year’s race. He finished this year’s event with the fastest swim and run legs, and second fastest time on the bike, calling the 1,000 feet of climbing the most difficult but most rewarding part of the race.

“You get to the top and you’re on the bridge, and you’ve got this beautiful view of the lake and the valley,” said Bishop. “It’s unbeatable, we come here mostly for that.”

Truckee’s Evan Opsal, who was the top local athlete, finished with a time of 43:28 for fourth overall and second in his age group.

On the women’s side, Kelly Bishop equaled her brother’s first-place finish with one of her own, crossing the line with a time of 48:13.

“Honestly, I just love this race,” said Bishop. “The whole family has been doing it for three years. It’s one of our top races, the swim is fantastic, the bike course — yeah it’s really hard but it makes it all the more rewarding at the end — and then just a nice little sprint to top it off.”

Bishop, 19, won the race in 2016 with a time of 48:01, and was third last year.

Truckee’s Raeleigh Harris was the top local woman, finishing with a time of 49:16 for third place.

In the youngster’s races, Truckee’s Amber Hansford claimed first place in the girls’ division with a time of 1:00:28; while Auburn’s Wyatt Hamilton took first in the boys’ race, followed by Truckee’s Braidon Klovstad.

Jack Craig, 76, of Lincoln, was the day’s oldest competitor, defying age with a time of 1:52:00.

Truckee’s Madigan swims to victory by 1 second

The morning’s competition also included the Alpine Fresh Water Swim on Donner Lake, which came down to the wire in the 2.4-mile distance.

Truckee’s PJ Madigan reached the finish a second ahead of Tyler Fidler, of Bakersfield, for a first-place time of 50:58.

“It was right into the chutes,” said Madigan on the finish.

Mike Carr gave local swimmers another podium finish, claiming third place with a time of 55:57.

Locals climb podium during day 2

Athletes returned to the beach the following morning to compete in the Olympic (0.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike ride, 6.67-mile run) and half Ironman distances (1.2-miles swim, 56-mile run, 13.36-mile run).

Truckee’s Donatas Ereminas climbed to the top of the podium once again at the annual Donner Lake event, winning this year’s Olympic distance with a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, 5 seconds. Ereminas won the half Ironman in 2016 and 2015, and was third last year in the distance. The decision to compete in Sunday’s shorter race resulted in a more than five-minute victory over Reno’s Scott Young.

During the race, Ereminas was the seventh competitor out of the water, but quickly made up ground with the second fastest bike ride and fastest run of the 171 competitors.

After racing to a third-place finish in the women’s division of the sprint distance on Saturday, Truckee’s Raeleigh Harris returned the next day to claim fourth place in the Olympic distance, finishing with a time of 2:48:14. Zuzana Trnovcova, of San Francisco, was first in the women’s division with a time of 2:40:45.

In the featured distance, the 70.2 half Ironman, women from Truckee had a strong showing on their home turf with two athletes finishing in the top five.

Julia Shotwell was the fastest local with a time of 6:36:16 for fourth place in the women’s division and 21st overall. She was followed across the line roughly 11 minutes later by Gillian Collom with a time of 6:45:31. Danielle Widenmann, of Vacaville, took first place in the women’s division and was fourth overall with a time of 5:24:31.

On the men’s side, Marco Capelli, of El Dorado Hills, captured first place with a time of 5:14:24, edging second place, Kevin Well, of Portola Valley, by 23 seconds.

The day’s racing also included the swim and bike only, Olympic aquabike, competition. Truckee’s Andrew Finney had the best showing, finishing in second with a time of 1:55:37, followed by Paul Krause, of Carnelian Bay, with a time of 2:02:35. Truckee’s Lynette Talbott took home first place on the women’s side with a time of 2:03:20, which was good enough for fourth overall.

After putting on an event nearly every weekend since the beginning of June, Big Blue Adventure will take two weekends off, before returning Aug. 11 with the Marlette 50K Trail Run.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at

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