Issaquah officer collars Beaver Lake Triathlon

August 24, 2010

By Christopher Huber

Jason Houck wins men’s division; Seattle’s Kara Nielsen takes womens group

Jason Houck, of Issaquah, crosses the finish line first during the 17th Beaver Lake Triathlon on Aug. 21 in Sammamish. By Christopher Huber

Jason Houck took his night shift with the King County Sheriff’s Office off Aug. 20 to rest up for the early-morning start of the Beaver Lake Triathlon the next day. He needed to save his energy to perform at his peak. Plus, he had to work the night after the race, too.

The 32-year-old Issaquah resident said he is well-conditioned to run a sprint triathlon like the Beaver Lake event, but with its relatively short length — quarter-mile swim, 13.8-mile bike and 4.3-mile run — the triathlon posed some challenges.

“For a shorter race, it’s got a good set of hills,” Houck said as he caught his breath at the finish line.

Despite taking a spill on his bike along Duthie Hill Road and losing his lead by four or so places, Houck managed to come away with the overall win in the 17th Beaver Lake Triathlon on Aug. 21. It was his first time competing in the race.

Houck finished with a time of 1 hour, 10 minutes and 3 seconds. That’s 1 minute and 21 seconds faster than Gregory Gallagher, the 2009 winner.

“It feels great. It’s the first race I’ve ever won all out,” Houck said. “It’s a local race, so I wanted to try it out. It’s a challenging course for its length.”

Kara Nielsen, 31, of Seattle placed first overall in the female division. She finished in 1:17:20. She was behind after the swim, but took the lead during the bike leg and held it through the running portion. Upon finishing, she noted the challenge of pedaling and running with cold, wet feet.

“It was good,” she said. “My feet were totally numb.”

And, like many racers, Nielsen had a tough time biking up Duthie Hill.

“The hill always hurts, but it hurt a little less this year,” Nielsen said.

Among the top finishers were Skyline High School graduate Baraka Poulin, 24, who finished fifth overall with a time of 1:13:09. Skyline freshman Joseph DeMatteo, won his age group (13-14) with a time of 1:30:32. It was his first ever triathlon, he said before race day.

In the women’s division, Issaquah resident Kenda Super, 34, finished seventh overall with a time of 1:28:00. Randy Golob, 46, also of Issaquah, took fourth place in the males Master division, finishing with a time of 1:15:39.

Mathieu Signoretty, 20, of Sammamish, finished 10th overall with a time of 1:15:32. That was good enough for second place in his division. Tammy Wales, 49, also of Sammamish, finished 10th among all women racers. She crossed the finish line in 1:29:02. She ran it more than a minute faster than last year, according to the official race results. The 2010 triathlon was her sixth, she said.

“It was cold,” she said after crossing the finish line. “That run is longer and definitely a more up-and-down challenging run.”

Wales said she was impressed with the high level of competition at Beaver Lake this year.

“There are so many high-level racers here,” Wales said.

Of the 382 racers who signed up, 362 finished the race this year, compared with 417 who finished in 2009. All in all, Wales and other athletes said they appreciate the competitiveness of a local event — the sunny weather helped, too.

“This is my favorite, because it’s six miles from my house,” Wales said. “I’m just happy it’s not raining.”

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or Comment at

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