This years Tahoe Cup on Donner Lake last weekend (5/23) did not disappoint when it came to a in climate weather pattern. Once again the race had a bit of rain, chilly temps but calm water for the most of the race.
Over 100 paddlers braved the drizzle to partake in one of the first Tahoe Cup of the 2015 paddling season. Lots of familiar faces showed up to test their paddle conditioning after a long and mild winter. The Donner Race is a nice way to ease into the race season because the course is only about 4.5 miles long. In fact it’s pretty much an all out sprint, this year we saw winning times (42:37 by Rand Carter) in line with last year but personally I was about a minute faster this year than last.
Race organizer Phil Segal started the outriggers and prone first, then standup paddlers next. Standup paddlers started in knee deep water to make sure we had a fair start and sure enough the start was a success. The front group of paddlers took their own lines, not many draft trains were happening just yet. As we rounded the turn buoy at China Cove the pace quickened and drafting was alive and well. A bit of rain started to fall as we angled toward the turn buoy on the north side of the lake although not enough to slow down the pace of racing on the water. The sprint was on as the first group of 20 paddlers made their way towards the serpentine style buoy finish. Ryan Funk was on my draft as we pulled into the final buoy turns, he could have passed me at the finish but in a show of honorable sportsmanship he let me finish in front of him. Ryan is a good paddler and will only get better as he gets stronger. Thanks Ryan for letting the old guy take the lead!
On lake conditions were practically perfect for the race this year so if you were racing it was all about just getting around the course. Other than some tired racers it appeared that everyone enjoyed the Tahoe Cup @ Donner Lake.
Standout performances include Jay Wild with his 2nd place in SUP Elite Class, Jen Fuller in 1st place Elite, Rand Carter taking the whole enchilada for first place overall on an Unlimited SUP.
Check out the pictures by Peter Spain Photography, he took some great shots of the start, finishes, individual paddlers and podium shots. Race results and my GPS data are below.
Don’t forget the Tahoe Cup #2 Watermans Jam is on July 11th at Watermans Landing. This year due to the drought conditions on Lake Tahoe the race will not be a race from Tahoe City to Carnelian Bay. Check the Tahoe Cup website for details.