Kara Gordon and Steve McDuffie round the bend near the end of the biking portion of Sunday’s Walla Walla Dirty Duathlon.
Photo by Alfred Diaz.
First: Michael Gordon, Walla Walla, 1:32:30
Second: Brian Schur, Kennewick, 1:41:48
Third: Aaron Vanderwaal, Seattle, 1:43:10
First: Kara Gordon, Walla Walla, 1:48:56
Second: Becky Wilson, Walla Walla, 2:08:12
Third: Nicole Sharp, Walla Walla, 2:26:37
WALLA WALLA — The area’s first official run-bike-run mountain bike race saw 72 contestants running, pedaling and coasting — but mostly pedaling — through several miles of trails surrounding Bennington Lake on Sunday.
The first Walla Walla Dirty Duathlon started just after 10 a.m. near the top of the boat launch, but the race quickly diverged to the trails surrounding the lake.
“I think they did a great job. It was organized. The course was well marked. Publicity went well. I am just glad they held it,” contestant Mark Higgins said, after finishing a 15.4-mile bike ride that looped twice around the lake.
Higgins, who rides regularly in mountain bike races, said the course wasn’t as technical as others, but noted that what it lacked in challenging grades and turns it made up for in the endurance required.
“This is more of a cross-country course. It is not very technical but great on strength and conditioning,” he said.
The race consisted of a 2.7-mile run followed by a 15.4-mile ride and another 2.7-mile run.
Race director Michael Gordon said he chose the location for several reasons.
Bennington Lake is a scenic area lined with numerous trails that can host a mountain bike race; the trails don’t require high proficiency in riding techniques; the area is close to town; and the course is a great stamina builder for the beginning of the riding season.
“It just happens that this is the type of terrain we have out here … But I think most people were challenged today,” Gordon said.
They were especially challenged if they tried to keep up with Gordon, who won the race with a 9 minute 18 second lead.
Gordon said he plans to hold another Walla Walla Dirty Duathlon around the same time next year and hopes it will grow.
Considering the location, it probably will.
“What a beautiful place. You don’t get a more beautiful place to ride than Bennington Lake. What a great place to kick off the spring,” Higgins said.