Thursday, August 20, 2009

Spectator's Guide To the Tsali Challenge Triathlon

Even if you're not up for racing in Tsali's most popular competition, next weekend's Tsali Challenge Triathlon can be a great spectator event. Volunteer to assist your competitor friend, or simply come by to cheer on the athletes. The Tsali Challenge Triathlon is next Saturday and Sunday August 29 and 30.

If you're accompanying an athlete, the first set of races begin Saturday at 9am. That's when the Open Women, Masters Women, Masters Men and Grandmasters classes all start the first leg of the race, the lake paddle. A good friend might keep a backpack handy with extra water, bananas and a spare bike tube, just in case. Athletes typically arrive fully prepared with all of these things, but your extra help could really be a morale booster in those transition zones when the afternoon sun starts to shine down on Tsali, even if it's just some friendly encouraging words.

Spectators can expect to watch the exciting run-to-bike transition of the first race, before heading back down to the lake for the launch of the exciting Men's Open Class, which begins at 1pm. After that, set yourself back up at the run-to-bike transition spot, where you can also watch competitors crossing the finish line.

Tsali Recreation Area remains open to the public, with access to Mouse Branch Loop and Thompson Loop for running or bike riding (non-competitively, of course). So if the race gets boring, just head out one of the other trails!

Map courtesy of the USFS. In this map, Right Loop is blue, Left Loop is green, Mouse Branch Loop is yellow and Thompson Loop is red.

Sunday's team challenge competitors usually don't require assistance, so maybe you want to grab a few office mates and compete. NOC has a long tradition of staff members competing in the Tsali Challenge Triathlon. Pictured below is NOC Guest Relations Manager Leigh (left) along with Tracy and Melanie, the 2002 winning women's team.

Here's Leigh again (center) with her 2003 teammates Kathy and Melanie. This year, Leigh will not be racing, but you and your friends can still register the day of the race. Remember, it's a 3-mile lake paddle, a 5-mile trail run and a 12-mile bike ride. Divvying up the three legs of this race is a fun way to challenge yourself and enjoy a day at Tsali.

For more information, visit or go to race organizer Gone Riding.

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