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Watauga Lake Triathlon Aug. 6

Article Published: Aug. 4, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Watauga Lake Triathlon Aug. 6

On Saturday, Aug. 6, the Watauga Lake Triathlon will hit the ground running - and swimming and cycling.

Triathlons typically consist of three athletic components - swimming, cycling and running, and the Watauga Lake version is no different.

"It's a challenging course, an international distance triathlon, in between a sprint and Olympic distance, but it's a challenging course," organizer Scott Vandiver said.

The Watauga Lake Triathlon boasts a 1,000-meter swim, 35-kilometer bike and 8-kilometer run.
"It's challenging," Vandiver repeated, "but it's absolutely beautiful. There's great countryside around Watauga Lake."

The triathlon boasts the tagline, "beautiful water," said to be English translation of the Native American "Watauga." Racers get to experience "Watauga" firsthand on the first leg of the race.

The race starts Saturday at 8 a.m., with participants congregating at Sugar Grove Baptist Church in Butler, Tenn.

According to course information, the swim will follow a triangular course 1,000 meters total. Organizers estimate that the water temperature should be between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and USA Triathlon rules regarding wetsuits will apply.

The bike ride is 35-kilometer loop with several climbs, downhill segments and flat terrain, following the contour of Watauga Lake and Roan Creek.

The 8-kilometer run will be an out-and-back course in a pastoral farm setting out to the main road, where it will follow the perimeter of the lake for a short distance before the turnaround and back to the finish area.

"We try to tell people it's a low-key race," Vandiver said. "It's not a really high-powered, competitive kind of race, though we do get a lot of strong competitors and a lot of first-timers and others back for a repeat competition."

Participants, he said, are friendly, creating an atmosphere that's free of the pressure commonly associated with races.

"We also do a lot of relays, which are always fun, because we always have at least eight or 10 relay teams come in ... with two to three people on the teams," Vandiver said. "The majority of people do it individually, but there are a lot of relay teams, as well."

Award categories include age group, coed relay, male relay, female relay and more, and this year's triathlon will feature chip timing for each participant for accurate race times, Vandiver said.

Winners will receive prizes by way of local pottery from area artist Patti Carmen.

Swimming, cycling and running can work up an appetite, so Carolina Barbecue will be on site to offer its specialty, while members of Sugar Grove Baptist Church will bring out their best baked goods. Plus, Bald Guy Brew will bring the coffee van for fresh-brewed pick-me-ups.

Registration for the Watauga Lake Triathlon costs $60 for general public, $50 for college students and $120 for relay teams.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Sugar Grove Baptist Church and the Cancer Resource Alliance.

For more information, visit Registration can be completed at Scoops Café, located in New Market Centre in Boone, on Aug. 5, between 4 and 7 p.m., and at the race itself on Aug. 6, from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.

For more information, visit

(from Boone)
From the intersection of U.S. 321 and N.C. 105, take N.C. 105 South toward Banner Elk, and proceed 1.9 miles.
Turn right at the stoplight onto N.C. 105 Bypass and proceed to the end.
Turn left onto U.S. 321/421.
Go 3.6 miles and turn left onto U.S. 321.
Go 14 miles and turn right onto Greggs Branch Road.
Go to the end and turn right onto Buntontown Road.
Go 1 mile, crossing Pioneer Landing Bridge, and turn left. This becomes Dry Hill Road.
Go 1.9 miles and turn left onto Sugar Grove Church Road.
Travel .8 mile to the race site.

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