Truckee women claim XTERRA titles (UPDATED) |

Truckee women claim XTERRA titles (UPDATED)

XTERRA Tahoe City will take place Saturday, June 29, and serves as the final competition of Adventure Sports Week.
Courtesy of Harry Lefrak / Lefrak Photography

It was a busy weekend for athletes on the North Shore with more than 100 competitors battling conditions to take home swimming and off-road triathlon titles.

Locals found success amid chilly and choppy lake conditions at Big Blue Adventure’s Tahoe City Swim; while at the same time, Truckee’s Sian Crespo managed to outduel the field of women racers to win this year’s XTERRA Tahoe City title.


Each year Big Blue Adventure’s brings a pair of XTERRA off-road triathlon races to the region.

Last August, Truckee’s Crespo, 37, captured first place in the women’s division of the XTERRA Lake Tahoe triathlon in Incline Village. On Saturday she became defending champion of both the area’s XTERRA races, finishing the Tahoe City course with a time of 3 hours, 27 minutes, 42 seconds for first place in the women’s division. Crespo’s time was the 19th fastest overall.

Under windy conditions, water temperatures in the 50s and air temperatures in the 60s, roughly 100 athletes entered the water for the first of two 750-meter laps to start the day’s racing.

From there the competitors transitioned to mountain bikes for 22 miles of single and double track racing on the trails northwest of Commons Beach. The race finished with roughly five miles of trail running.

Mike Sooder, 45, of Carson City, threw down the second fastest time on the swim (24:07) and fastest on the run (44:43) to take this year’s overall championship with a total time of 2:54:16, edging second place Niels Vande Casteele, of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif., by 23 seconds.

Incline Village’s Ross McMahan, 49, was the top local athlete with a total time of 3:12:13 for fifth place. Truckee’s Donatas Ereminas was the next fastest local with a time of 3:27:26 for 18th place. Ereminas had the fourth fastest time on the running section. Truckee’s Raeleigh Harris, 47, was first in her age group, and 39th overall with a time of 3:45:55. James Rawie, 71, of Incline Village, won his age group with a time of 5:31:50.

The day’s racing also included a shorter, sprint course, and Truckee’s Jessica Starr, 33, claimed first place on the women’s side, crossing the finish line with a total time of 2:22:37. Incline’s Jim Kaplan, 49, finished with a time of 2:16:12 for fourth, and Tahoe City’s Dan Haas, 43, took eighth with a time of 2:22:05. Austin Loper, 21, of Brighton, Mich., was the overall winner with a time of 1:55:19.

Swimmers battle ocean-like conditions on Tahoe

Shortly after athletes got out of the water and made their way to the transition area of the XTERRA race, dozens more competitors swam out for the first race of the Big Blue Adventure’s Sierra Open Water Series.

By the time the race began, winds had picked up, creating choppy waters on Tahoe, which was compounded by a reported 52-degree water temperature.

Several swimmers would tap out of the 1.2- and 2.4-mile races, hailing down personal watercraft and kayaks to get a tow back into Commons Beach. Several who did finish the race called it one of the most difficult they’d attempted as they staggered up the beach, comparing the conditions to swimming in the ocean.

Truckee’s PJ Madigan, 47, took the victory in the 2.4-mile course, crossing the finish line with a time of 51:55. Charles Perry (1:06:14), Devin Triantos (1:07:37), and Kathleen Bober (1:19:14) also completed the 2.4 mile swim in the wetsuit division.

Bjarne Sipple, 51, of Park City, Utah, was the only athlete to finish the 2.4 mile race without a wetsuit, finishing with a time of 55:44.

Four non-wetsuit swimmers completed their registered distance of 1.2 miles, while several other athletes, who were registered for the longer distance, opted out after finishing the first 1.2-mile lap.

Truckee’s Jessie Koltz, 29, was the 1.2-mile women’s and overall champion with a time of 27:02. Koltz topped the field of 19 finishers for the victory, taking the title by 26 seconds.

The next race in the Sierra Open Water Series will be the Alpine Fresh Water Swim on Saturday, July 21, at Donner Lake’s West End Beach. For more information visit

Big Blue Adventure will return for its fourth straight week of competition with the Lake Tahoe Mountain Bike Race on Saturday, June 23, followed by the Lake Tahoe Burton Creek Trail Run the next day. For more information visit

*This post was updated to correct information in regard to the 2.4-mile swim. The original post incorrectly stated only two simmers completed the distance.

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

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