LAKEPORT – Elite level athletes from around the world came to swim, bike and run their way through 101 miles of grueling competition on Sunday during Triathlon One O One's inaugural Lake County event.
More than 150 athletes took part in Sunday's competition, which was the culmination of months of preparation. Organizers and athletes began final preparations on Friday, with athlete check-ins, practice swims and meetings.
Twenty-nine-year-old Leandra Cave of Hilperton, England, a professional triathlete, won in the women's competition in a time of 6:39:05, which earned her a $10,000 prize, and also put her in seventh place overall.
David Thompson of St. Paul, Minn, another 29-year-old pro triathlete, led the entire field and won the men's division, taking $10,000 for his performance, timed at 6:03:07.
The race began at 7 a.m. Sunday with a 1.86-mile swim that included two laps around a rectangular course which began and ended at Third Street.
Next, competitors completed an 80.6-mile bike ride, which consisted of three laps from downtown Lakeport, along Lakeshore Boulevard and into Scotts Valley, and back to Library Park.
The triathlon's last leg was an 18.6-mile run that lapped twice around a course that extended from downtown Lakeport, along Hartley Road to East Hill Road and back.
Several hundred spectators gathered for the finish, to see Thompson, Cave and the rest of the field come across the finish line.
The race offered a $50,000 purse, with cash prizes in both the mens and womens divisions down to seventh place.
Top finishers after Thompson in the men's division were: second place, Jordon Rapp, Scarborough, NY, 6:07:36, $6,000 prize; third place, Brian Lavelle, Los Gatos, 6:09:15, $4,000; fourth place, Victor Plata, Sacramento, 6:17:15, $2,000; fifth place, Ted Aas, Molndal, Sweden; 6:18:48, $1,500; sixth place, Chris Hauth, Mill Valley, 6:24:52, $1,000; seventh place, Jeffrey Piland, San Carlos, 6:42:42, $500.
In the women's division, top finishers following Cave were: second place, Kim Loeffler, Colchester, VT, 6:44:06, $6,000; third place, Alexis Waddel, Monterey, 6:51:31, $4,000; fourth place, Karen Holloway, Richmond, VA, 7:00:38, $2,000; fifth place, Kelly Liljeblad, Burlington, VT, 7:00:52, $1,500; sixth place, Erin Ford, The Dalles, OR, 7:02:34, $1,000; seventh place, Gabriela Loskotova, Prague, Czech Republic, 7:09:08, $500.
Most of the competitors came from California and the U.S., with international competitors coming from Canada, Great Britain, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Sweden.
Several local competitors also put in strong efforts. Paul Farley of Lakeport finished 68th overall, with a time of 9:21:41; Michael Murray of Lakeport finished 81st overall in 9:53:24; and Mike Clifton of Lakeport ranked 119th, but no time was recorded for finishers after 99th place.
Shannon Kurek, executive director of Triathlon One O One, told Lake County News that this is the inaugural year of the 101-mile race. It's a middle-distance competition, not the shortest on the circuit but not as long as the 140-mile Ironman Triathlon, the competition that he said helped bring triathlon into the public consciousness.
The One O One race, Kurek said, is the “longest, most raceable distrance.”
Lake County came to the attention of competition organizers after they began looking for more Northern California venues for triathlon events, Kurek explained.
An athlete then told them about Lake County, suggesting they check it out. After he visited, Kurek was sold. “This is postcard perfect,” he said, adding that the county's scenery offered an amazing race venue.
Event director Doug Grout said preparations for the event began in December.
“We typically work 11 months organizing Tri 101 events,” he said. But when they came across Lakeport, toured the area and realized they'd found someplace special, they decided to make a push to put the event on this summer.
Denise Combs helped lead preparations locally, which included numerous tasks such as recruiting volunteers, organizing volunteer meetings, sending out publicity and more.
"We are so very pleased with the results, and we look forward to even greater participation next year, on both sides – the public as well as the athletes,” said Grout. “We hope to announce within a month or so a date for next year."
Kurek said he hopes to see the event grow from the four Triathlon One O One events planned this year to 20 events worldwide within three years. The legion of triathletes is growing, he said, and it includes professional athletes as well as those who only compete in one event a year. He believes the demand will help the competition grow.
Grout commended the gracious participation of the local sponsors, city and county officials. However, he emphasized the contributions of the dozens of volunteers who helped make the event possible – from working on the courses, to directing traffic, organizing personnel, standing by with medical services and running special errands.
For more information about the Triathlon One O One events, visit www.trioneoone.com.
For a full gallery and slideshow of the event, visit our Gallery page, http://lakeconews.com/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,37/.
E-mail Elizabeth Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.