Competitors and fans gather for a recent running of the Tiger Triathlon.
Big field expected
The summer sports scene wouldnât be complete without another running of the popular Tiger Triathlon. This yearâs 23rd running of the swim/bike and run Tiger will be held Saturday, July 20. Swimmers will hit the waters of Gillette Lake at 8 a.m. sharp.
Tiger Triathlon Race Director Jake Wilson, who doubles as the city of Colvilleâs Recreation Coordinator, is certainly more comfortable with his Tiger Tri responsibilities after overseeing his first triathlon last July.
âIâm definitely more comfortable with it and so are our volunteers,â Wilson said with a smile. âWe had some major turnover in our volunteer ranks for last summerâs triathlon. There is a learning curve.â
Wilson said he is very appreciative of the tremendous volunteer support the race has garnered over the years.
Wilson said over 100 volunteers will help insure that the race runs smoothly again on Saturday.
âItâs really great to have that many volunteers,â Wilson said. âThings wouldnât go as well if we didnât.â
Carb loading and packet pick-up
The weekend will get started on Friday at Colville High School with the annual Super 1 Foods sponsored pasta dinner (in the cafeteria). The pasta dinner and race packet pick-up will run from 6 to 8 p.m.
Race day on Saturday will get underway with registration from 6 to 7:30 a.m. at the Gillette Lake Campground on the Little Pend Oreille Lakes chain east of Colville. A pre-race briefing will be conducted at 7:45 a.m. and swimmers will get the triathlon underway at 8 a.m.
The Tiger Triathlon, which draws serious triathletes and those giving the sport of triathlon a try for the first timeâand everyone in between-- encompasses a 1 K (sixth-tenths of a mile) swim, a mostly downhill 40K (24 mile) bike ride along scenic Highway 20 to Colville High School, and an 8K (6.5 mile) run on Rotary Trail.
The swim portion of the triathlon formerly was headquartered at Beaver Lodge. But a move to Gillette Lake Campground has been beneficial, according to Wilson.
âThe boat launch and campground work great,â Wilson acknowledged. âLogistically and safety-wise, it all works very well there.â
Wilson said he is expecting from 160 to 180 entrants for the triathlon. Those entries will include both individual competitors and those who will compete on teams.
Good field anticipated this year
The number of entries in a given year has been up and down,â he said. âI think we have had as high as 200 (entries) and as low as 70. I think this will be a pretty high year as far as entries.
âSome years when we had low entries, it had to do with road maintenance and construction on Highway 20. We donât have that this year.â
Last yearâs overall winner, Ben Green of Spokane, will be back in the field on Saturday. Ditto for womenâs winner, Patty Boyd of White Salmon.
Colville High School graduate (2004) Jesse Carnes, who finished second overall in last yearâs Tiger Triathlon, will be back again and is a serious threat to win his first Tiger. Carnes, a regular on the triathlon circuit, finished third in last monthâs big Pacific Crest Sports Festival Triathlon in and around the Sunriver resort community south of Bend, OR. (1.2 mile swim, 56.3 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run).
âHe will be one of the favorites,â Wilson said of his friend from Missoula. âHe was less than a minute behind the winner last year.â
There will also be numerous teams in the field again on Saturday. Among local team entries will be members of the McGrane family from Colville.
And the Tiger Triathlonâs most veteran of volunteers, Colville School District teacher Randy Stebbins, will also field another team for this yearâs triathlon.
Wilson said there is always a spike in Colville Municipal Swimming Pool activity (lap swim) two or three weeks prior to the Tiger Triathlon.
âWe have people training in the pool all the time,â he said. âIt gets pretty busy a couple of weeks prior to the event.â
Wilson, who has been working to promote cycling through the recreation department, has also noticed a spike in casual riding around the area.
âCycling is definitely getting more popular around here. Itâs great to seeâŠthere is more of a cycling community here. There are several groups riding bicycles.â
Wilson said he has always appreciated the fact that the Tiger Triathlon is able to draw the serious triathletes to a scenic course in the middle of the Colville National Forestâand those fledgling triathletes new to the âgame.â
Downhill to the âVilleâŠand the waterâs warm (relatively, anyway).
âItâs a good starting point and pretty low-key,â Wilson said. âThatâs part of its charm. And the serious triathletes love the course. Itâs beautiful, the bike ride is mostly fast and downhill (about 1,000 feet of elevation drop)âŠthey like the speedâŠand the water is pretty warm for a high mountain lake.â
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The awardsâ presentation is scheduled for about 11:45 p.m. on the CHS track.