Triathlon attracts range of athletes

August 11, 2009

By Christopher Huber

Athletes round a buoy and head for shore to finish the first leg of the Beaver Lake Triathlon, before going on to the cycling and running portions of the race. By Greg Farrar

Athletes round a buoy and head for shore to finish the first leg of the Beaver Lake Triathlon, before going on to the cycling and running portions of the race. By Greg Farrar

At age 65, Sammamish resident Tony Canlis has never done a triathlon. But in 2008, after helping repair bicycles during the Beaver Lake Triathlon, and after the coaxing of Pacific Bicycle owners Kristie and Scott Frericks, Canlis decided he wanted a challenge.

He took up the task of training for the 2009 race.

An avid swimmer — he swam competitively for much of his life — Canlis isn’t worried about the quarter-mile dip in Beaver Lake. While swimming for the University of Hawaii, he used to swim 3.5-miles in the open ocean for training.

“I was a good swimmer,” he said. “I just want to see what it’s like to be in one of these things.”

Canlis, the oldest registered Sammamish resident, is confident he’ll finish the race.He isn’t, however, sure how he will fare on the 4.3-mile running portion of the upcoming 16th annual Beaver Lake Triathlon Aug. 15.

“The run is going to be …well, we’ll see what happens,” Canlis said. “[I look forward to] having a good time; having fun, and I’m reasonably confident that I’ll finish it.”

Canlis, along with up to 600 other athletes, will test his endurance in swimming, running and cycling Aug. 15.

Beaver Lake Park will serve as the start and finish line, as well as the exchange point for all three legs of the race.

Beaver Lake residents should expect road closures at Issaquah-Beaver Lake Road between East Beaver Lake Drive Southeast and Duthie Hill Road, but only between 8-9:30 a.m., according to race director Sharon Freechtle.

The triathlon begins at 7:45 a.m. at Beaver Lake Park. Participants — some solo and some on teams — begin with the quarter-mile swim. They will then hop on their bikes for a 13.8-mile ride through Sammamish, down Duthie Hill Road, onto Highway 202 and back up the Plateau via Southeast Issaquah-Fall City Road. Athletes will finish the race with a 4.3-mile run around Beaver Lake.

Residents could stop by to enjoy the festivities of the day and jovial atmosphere at the park. The Beaver Lake Triathlon is a shorter “sprint” triathlon, but serves as a qualifying race for athletes training for Ironman races, Freechtle said.

“It’s a really good atmosphere, and if you have kids, it’s getting them to see what other sports are available,” Freechtle said. “It’s inspiring to watch these athletes.”

In 2008, about 650 people registered for the race, Freechtle said. The most the event has ever received was about 700 in 2004.

Seattle’s Adam Jensen won the triathlon in 2008 with a time of 1:06:39. Audrey Baldesari, of Redmond, was the top female finisher (1:17:01).

Canlis said he’s not worried about competing, he just wants to experience a triathlon for the first time as a participant. Having trained in the calm waters of the Redmond Gold’s Gym pool, he has yet to practice in Beaver Lake.

“Swimming in the lake (is) probably best left as surprise,” Canlis said.

Registration is open until Aug. 14. Athletes doing all three legs who sign up by Aug. 13 pay $70 — the fee goes up to $75 Aug. 14. Team participants pay $40 or $45 until Aug. 13, depending on how many legs each person will do. The fees increase by $5 on Aug. 14.


Get more race information at

Learn more about volunteering by e-mailing

Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or Comment on this story at

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