Truckee’s Jay Wild wins wintry stand-up paddle race
DONNER LAKE, Calif. and#8212; In windy, bone-chilling conditions on Donner Lake this past Saturday, Jay Wild of Truckee raced to a first-place finish in the opening stand-up paddle race of the O’Neill Tahoe Cup Series.
Wild posted a winning time of 52 minutes and 10 seconds over the 5-mile course, which began and ended at West End Beach. Robert Pelkey from Dana Point finished runner-up, 22 seconds behind Wild, while Mitchell Kahn of San Clemente rounded out the top three in 54:01. Rand Carter of Tahoe Vista was fourth, in 54:44, and Ronnie Ayres of Truckee was eighth, in 58:01.
Among the women’s contingent, Sky Robbins of Hood River, Ore., took first place and was 19th overall with a time of 1:02:59. Jen Fuller of Sausalito was the second women (22nd overall) in 1:04:23, and Shana Kaplan of Incline Village was the third women (25th overall) in 1:05:43.
Despite the cold temperature and gusty winds and#8212; and even some lightly falling snow and#8212; a total of 57 people took part, with all but one reaching the finish line.
The racers paddled 2.5 miles along the south shore of Donner Lake before cutting north across the middle of the lake to the north side. That’s where the racing became interesting, as the wind blew a handful of athletes off course as they struggled to paddle across the choppy body of water. Once they did reach the north shore, they faced another 2.5 miles of paddling upwind.
Local resident Brenda McGirr and Aytan Litxyz of Reno were among the racers blown east of the course.
Tired of fighting the wind, McGirr opted to paddle from her knees instead of a standing position, which helped her cut through the chop as she righted her course along the northern shoreline. Sporting a hooded sweatshirt over her wetsuit, with rubber gloves, she then hopped back to her feet and powered toward the finish line. She completed the race in 1:32:26, which was good enough for 44th place.
Litxyz, gloveless and with his bare legs exposed to the cold, struggled to make progress against the waves. But he, too, found his rhythm eventually as he began inching his way along the shore. He wound up in 47th place, posting a time of 1:39:37.
The Tahoe Cup Series continues with two more races on Lake Tahoe and#8212; the Jam from the Dam on July 9 and the Fall Classic on Sept. 18. For more information go to tahoecup.org.