Race Radar: California’s Donner Lake Triathlon

  • By Bethany Mavis
  • Published Jul 9, 2014

The beautiful Donner Lake Triathlon, now in its 33rd year, should be on your bucket list.

This year, the beautiful Donner Lake Triathlon will be running for the 33rd year in Truckee, Calif., just north of Lake Tahoe in the midst of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The epic location, which features stunning scenery, makes it a bucket-list triathlon for many triathletes. Featuring a sprint, Olympic and half all in one July weekend, the Donner Lake Tri expects 1,000 participants this year, says Todd Jackson, Director of Big Blue Adventure.

“The Donner Lake Triathlon is held at a truly beautiful and energetic location,” Jackson says. “The scenery is epic.” The swim is held in the clear, alpine Donner Lake, on its leeward/western shore, which makes for a typically low wind and calm water conditions for the start. “Also we can watch the sunrise just prior to the start,” Jackson says. From the start at West End Beach, you’ll see “granite and volcanic rock juxtaposed against the green pine and blue sky, and peaks 4,000-plus vertical feet above the lake,” he says.

The out-and-back bike course is challenging—it takes athletes on Scenic Old Highway 40, and features a climb up from the lake and features signature climbs and descents. The run course circumnavigates the lake, again with stellar views.

The logistics of this race are pretty simple—it’s a one-transition event and has a cozy feel, Jackson says. As a popular vacation destination in both the summer and winter months, there are plenty of quality lodging and dining options in the area for participants. The race is also set apart by its incredible location, which is awesome for sticking around after the race for endless summer outdoor activities, such as kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding and rock climbing—all in view of dramatic mountain scenery.

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What: Donner Lake Triathlon
Where: Truckee, Calif.
When: July 26-27, 2014
Distance: Sprint (0.25-mile swim, 6-mile bike, 2-mile run), Olympic (0.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, 6.67-mile run) and half-iron (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.36-mile run)

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Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis is the managing editor of Triathlete magazine. She's a mom, rec soccer player, multiple half-marathon finisher and is learning daily how to become a better triathlete.

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