Today Ironman announced what will almost certainly become a jewel in the Ironman series: Ironman Lake Tahoe. Not all Ironman races fill in 20 minutes. Or at all. St. George for example. Louisville. Active.com: ready the back-up generator. This one will fill, and might set a record for speed. Registration for the inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe will open on Mon., June 18, at Noon PT.
The race will be held at Tahoe's less populated North Shore, and is scheduled for September 22, 2013.
The swim will consist of two loops taking place at King's Beach, the town at the very top of the lake. Late summer water temps, near the shore, are typically high 60s and low 70s.
The bike course is also 2 loops or, more precisely, 2 loops and a part of a third loop. From WTC's press release:
"The race will start with a two-loop, 2.4-mile swim in the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe at King’s Beach, which has an average water temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in September. Athletes will enjoy a lakeside transition before starting a two-loop 112-mile bike course that is comparable in difficulty to the bike routes at IRONMAN Lake Placid, IRONMAN Canada and IRONMAN Wisconsin. Cyclists will travel along the lake into Tahoe City before following the Truckee River past Squaw Valley and into the town of Truckee. From there, the course turns south back toward Lake Tahoe, has a short loop in Martis Camp, continues past Northstar and climbs to Brockway Summit. After a descent back down to Kings Beach, athletes will complete a second loop, and then a final, flat 17 miles to finish the bike course at Squaw Valley, home to the 1960 Winter Olympics. With a transition at Squaw, runners will proceed along the Truckee River bike path into Tahoe City, and continue south along the shores of Lake Tahoe to a turnaround in historic Homewood, Calif. The largely flat run course traverses one of the most scenic lake vistas in the world before finishing along the cobbled corridors of the Village at Squaw Valley."
The course difficulty will be found in the swim. Triathletes naive to swimming at altitude will find this leg more impacted by altitude than either of the others. Breathing is metered while swimming, that is, you can only breathe a given amount per work expended.
The bike ride, on the other hand, should be marginally easier here than at other Ironman races. The lighter air means an extra mile or two per hour versus races at sea level. There are two climbs up Brockway Summit, and three up the smaller Carnelian Bay. But the overall elevation gain is probably no more than at Ironman Canada, and probably less.
Finally, the weather should be ideal: 70s and low humidity.
North Lake Tahoe is an athlete's paradise. Downhill and nordic skiers, winter biathletes, triathletes, runners and bike racers call this home, or summer here. It's a haven for multisporters, with the Lake Tahoe Triathlon, Donner Lake Tri, two XTerras—in Tahoe City and Incline Village—the venerable Lake Tahoe Relay (running, in which I've participated probably 12 or 15 times over the past 40 years), the Tahoe Trail 100 Leadville qualifier 100k MTB race, Expeditionman, all within close proximity to Tahoe's North Shore.
The bike course makes two full loops, and a partial third. The out-and-back run begins at Squaw Valley and travels south from Tahoe City to the turnaround at Homewood.