Hundreds of Ironman triathletes swim at Lake Tahoe’s Kings Beach every morning. Will Grant has been here six weeks and spent a lot of money.
“I will probably spend by the time I leave here, $3,00 to $4,000, easy,” Grant says.
Some 12,000 people are expected to spend $12 million in one week. Andy Chapman of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association says the money has been rolling in all summer.
“I call it the lycra factor. The lycra factor has exploded, you see them on the road all day long,” Chapman says.
Behind the scenes, 3,000 volunteers prepare backpacks, bike racks, tents and provide general athlete support. Ironman Director Keats McGonigal says the race takes community endurance too.
“Keeping people excited year after year when there is traffic impacts and some of the other things that happen on race day can sometimes be a challenge,” McGonigal says.
The Ironman has a 5 year contract at Tahoe, but McGonigal says most host communities keep the race coming back for more than a decade.