The King Fire had been looming nearby and with unfortunate wind changes the call was made this morning to cancel both Ironman and 70.3 Lake Tahoe today.
Ironman announced today that because of unsafe air quality conditions in the Lake Tahoe basin both races had to be called off. "The safety of athletes, volunteers, and spectators is our highest priority. The decision to cancel the event involved recommendations from the State of California and Placer County health officials." was announced in a press release.
“Due to high early morning unhealthy concentrations of particulate matter in and around various areas of the Tahoe Basin where the Ironman event is occurring, we feel that the event management made the right decision today in the interest of the athletes, event volunteers, and spectators,” said Tom Christofk, Air Pollution Control Officer for Placer County. “We have been monitoring the air quality impacts from the King Fire on the event for several days, and have been reviewing near real time data from sensors located in Squaw Valley, Tahoe City, Kings Beach, and Truckee. The data from this morning indicates unsafe levels of air quality to commence the event.”
According to Ironman, "Saturday’s King Fire projections had suggested that smoke and particulate matter would not impact the event on Sunday. However, fire behavior and wind patterns changed significantly on Saturday afternoon with air quality at Squaw Valley, Truckee, and Tahoe City deteriorating rapidly through the course of the evening. Smoke models predict little relief on Sunday with smoke accumulation increasing as the day progresses, according to the anticipated shift to a southwesterly wind."
We captured some athlete reactions to the situation at Lake Tahoe and added those below.
"So much hard work, preparation, $$, apart time from Trevor... such a bummer! But if the smoke is hazardous to human health, what can you do? " tweeted Heather Wurtele via @teamwurtele
"Bummed 2 not race today @IronmanTri Tahoe but clearly the right call was made 4 athlete safety.Now to get head round a flight to Chattanooga." said Matt Lieto @mattlieto
“Off to find a treadmill!! I need to do something with this Carbo Load!!” tweeted Kate Bevilaqua on @katebevilaqua
“My thought on cancelling #IMLakeTahoe action was too late. 130sq mi fire burning 10mi away. Do you feel lucky Ironman? Well do ya punk?” posted Kevin Taddonio on @kevintaddonio
Athletes were already in the water when the final decision was made.
Smoke is clearly everywhere.
All along the course as it appears.