By: Dave Sinclair
When I was in High School I started venturing with my friends to obscure and secluded surfing spots up and down the coast from our home break in Seal Beach. Ultimately it led to the Central Coast where we found quality uncrowded waves. This past weekend when I went to Scott Tinleys Adventures Tri at Lake Lopez in San Luis Obispo County it reminded me of those discovery days. The venue is located at a beautiful lake in the coast mountains near the City of Arroyo Grande. Though I participated in the inaugural Tri back in 2001 and quite a few other years I hadn't been back since they added the Long Course event two years ago. The event is run simultaneously with a Youth Tri, sprint and Olympic distance events. How Tri Cal is able to run these events like clock work is a tribute to their professionalism.
The event was initiated by Scott Tinley and Terry Davis to produce a user friendly event that wasn't heavily commercialized and low hype. It definitely has the feel of the older races when you could drive to the site, sleep in your car and register the next day and race. On Saturday the long course swim is a 1.5 miles three loop course in the fresh water. The Lake level was the fullest I had seen it and made for a short run up the ramp to the transition. The bike course is right at 50 miles and starts with a short climb to the exit of the park, out along the Lake and over the Dam to Huasna Valley Road. The course then proceeds through a typical central coast back road lined with vineyards and oak trees and is an out and back ride with rollers and a couple climbs, a total of 4000 vertical feet. As you climb back across the Dam, right before you Head back into the park, there's a short 2.5 mile side road with more rollers that is an out and back to the park entrance and transition.
The very challenging and safe course is one of the best I've ridden. The 2 loop run follows along the lake shore through the campgrounds on paving and a portion of dirt trail with a quarter mile up hill section that hurts, finishing up with a nice drop in to the finish line. After the race I visited with members of the Central Coast Tri Club at their booth right next to the finish. CCTC had a large contingent of athletes racing Tinleys Saturday and Sunday on there home training grounds. On Sunday I paddled my stand up board for the swimmers doing the off road races and then went up to watch the off road sprint and extreme races. I was fortunate to be able to visit with Julie Moss that has been an announcer at Tri Cal races for sometime and one of our sports most gracious athletes. At the finish I was able to watch three of the athletes that I rode with at the Tinley clinic that Tri Cal and Samantha Pruitt from CCTC sponsored a couple weeks earlier--Nick Goodman,Ted Weisse and Victoria Perez all completed there first Tri and were excited to do there next race,Wildflower!
Johnny Cerrito won the Terry's Toughest Competition from Kain Performance even though he was about 14 minute's late to the swim start of the off road race. A great weekend of racing at the Gem on the Central Coast.