Organizers and participants bask in the success of inaugural triathlon
By Christian de Ryss
As the first swimmer emerged from the lake, he breathlessly exclaimed, “I had no idea this amazing area or event even existed. I am doing this again and I’m bringing my friends!” He then tagged his team’s runner. The first annual Gears and Grooves Triathlon was underway.
Fifty-one people swam, ran and/or rode. Excited participants ranged from twenty-somethings to seasoned citizens. Many had never done anything like this before, including one intrepid soul who always wanted to swim a mile, knew he could do it and did. Some were athletes – most just wanted to share in some outdoor fun. Some were in teams and some chose to do their one favorite segment. Forty-five participants completed all three segments. Two-thirds of the participants came from outside the Groveland area.
The first Gears and Grooves registrant, aged seventy-six, was one of forty-five who kicked off the triathlon to make the one mile lake swim from the Marina to Lake Lodge. Next was the 5.2 mile run to the stables. This was followed by a 22 mile bike ride to the Rim of the World. Road bikes and trail bikes geared their way back to Mary Leveroni Park to join others for food. Later revelers grooved to the “country-tinged” music of the Paul Chesne band. Most everyone said they are coming back next year and many well-wishers and on-lookers have next year’s June 11th event already scheduled on their calendar.
Groveland rolled out the welcome mat with the support of many volunteers, some of whom had never participated in any area events. There was an outpouring of safety support from Friends of the Lake, GCSD, CHP, Sheriff, CAL FIRE and US Forest Service teams. Many businesses supported the effort. This included FireFall Roasters who graciously provided the 7:30am java jumpstart as participants registered and the Iron Door who made the music possible. A great number of volunteers also pulled together for the event.
“We hit all our goals,” beamed Steve Griefer, event creator and project leader. “We introduced the Groveland area to a lot of new visitors who stayed in hotel rooms and rented PML properties. With the support of PML and its Board we demonstrated that Groveland is a destination in its own right.”
The Groveland Area Partnership supports projects like this event that engage the community to showcase Groveland as a destination, and visitors learn that the area is a natural paradise. Similar projects include sidewalks and parking, biking and hiking trails, a locally managed Community Health Center and other to-be-detailed projects that could be funded by millions of federal dollars from the National Disaster Resiliency Competition.
Join the Groveland Area Partnership email list list by sending contact details to: firstname.lastname@example.org.