Over 250 people will converge on Sutcliffe Marina to take part in the Pyramid Lake Sprint Triathlon, hosted by the Reno-Area Triathletes Club. Starting at 8 a.m. competitors will swim a half-mile lap before hitting the road for a 14-mile bike ride. After completing the second leg of the race, participants will finish with a three-mile run. Most people will compete in the triathlon individually, but there are also 12 relay teams made up of three people each, with members completing a designated portion of the race one-by-one. Regardless of whether racers are competing as a team or on their on, many will be taking part in their very first triathlon.
“I’d say about a third of the racers are first-timers,” Reno-Area Triathletes Club President Mike Ginsburg said. “A quarter to a third of the people are first-timers so we tend to cater to the first-timer experience. Because of that, this is a great first-time triathlon, and the reason is we’re triathletes and we know how to run a race. We explain everything to them. We explain the course, we have maps, we have first-time tips. There’s about a three-page little document that gives them everything they could possibly do from hydration to what they should on the morning of their race like when they should get in. There’s always people available to tell them what to do or how to do it, giving them advice.”
Ginsburg attributed much of the ease for first-timers to the aid of the many volunteers that help put the triathlon together.
“The volunteers are the reason we’re successful. We’ll have 100 volunteers and with 250 racers, that’s one volunteer for every 2.5 people. That is a huge help,” Ginsburg said. “I did Donner Lake a couple weeks ago and I went by one of the runner aid stations where they put the water out and there was one guy there for all of us. We never have a problem getting volunteers, so you’re never going to get lost or run out of water or anything like that. You’re never going to have a miserable experience here.”
The on-hand assistance is part of the reason so many people look to the Pyramid Lake Sprint Triathlon as their first experience, as well a large part of the 30-year-old race’s continued success, with the RATC running the race for the past eight years.
“A lot of people come back and the reason is because we’re a triathlon club putting on a triathlon,” Ginsburg said. “We know how it should go, want we want to see and what we like. I’ve been doing triathlons for 18 years so we have a good idea of what people want from the goody bags and T-shirts to the race itself and the timing. We know what we want to see as triathletes.”
Aside from giving people what they want, the accessibility of the race is another key factor to its popularity.
“I think the main thing is that it’s local,” Ginsburg said. “There’s not a lot of local races. I think there’s one at the Sparks Marina and there’s one at Donner that has been around forever. When people from around here do triathlons though, we normally have to go to the Bay Area or somewhere further. I’ve done triathlons in 14 states so part of the deal is traveling, and with this being a local race it’s popular because we don’t have to go anywhere. People can come out for the day and race and be back home the same day.”