Reid, Lyle win Olympic triathlon at Bass Lake

Tammy Sears makes remarkable comeback

editor@sierrastar.comJune 4, 2014 

Reid of Exeter and Corrie Lyle of Venice are the 2014 man and woman champions of the Bass Lake Classic Triathlon held May 31. Reid completed the one mile swim, 25 mile bike, and six mile run in 2:13.11. Chris Montross of Fresno placed second in 2:21.20 and Scott Smith of San Diego was third with a time of 2:22.56.

Lyle, who finished 26th overall out of the 179 competitors, was the first woman to cross the finish line in 2:48.33. The second woman to finish was Mary Flaiguore of San Diego in 2:52.59, and the third place woman was Elena Ubeda of New York with a time of 2:57.52.

In the Sprint race (quarter mile swim, 12 mile bike and three mile run), Robby Lyle of Bass Lake was the first to cross the finish line, ahead of 253 other competitors, in 1:11.25. Second place was Dane Moler of San Francisco in 1:15.34, with Kye Gilder taking third in 1:16.55.

Lori O'lin won the women's division (she was sixth overall in the race). Carrie Cotter finished second and Jules Tuggle of Oakhurst placed third in the women's division (14th overall).

Flaiguore wins 5K

The 5K event, which benefited the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst and Yosemite High School Athletics, was won by Brian Flaiguore IN 21:14. Lard Sulzmann finished second in 24:05, and Myriam Rosiles was third with a time of 24:41.

Brother-sister act

Robby, 36, and Corrie, 38, Lyle, siblings from Southern California, each ended the morning with first place medals around their necks.

Robby, who lives in Thousand Oaks and is the executive vice-president of Elite Airways, won the Sprint race (quarter mile swim, 12 mile bike, and three mile run) for the second year in a row with a time of 1:11.23.

Corrie, who lives in Venice and works in law enforcement, won the women's Olympic race (one mile swim, 25 mile bike, and six mile run) in 2:48.33. She finished second in the race last year.

Although the brother and sister live in Southern California, they have spent all or part of their summers at Bass Lake for more than 25 years.

"It's special to win here," Corrie said. "This is our home course."

Robby had the added bonus of winning the race on his birthday.

"The win was a great birthday present," Robby said. "We had a lot of friends and family here to support us."

The siblings have been training together for the past five years.

Corry, who was a high school cheerleader and swimmer, taught her brother how to swim and he taught her how to race on a bike.

Robby gave credit to race officials and law enforcement for great traffic control to keep the course safe for all the participants.

"You feel confident and can concentrate on the competitive race knowing the course is safe and secure," Robby said.

Special moment

A heart-touching moment occurred at the finish line where Mark Jackson was waiting for his girlfriend Tammy Sears, both of Fresno, to complete the race. Last year, Tammy, in her first Triathlon ever, was involved in a serious multiple bicycle accident, suffering a severe brain injury after hitting her head on the pavement.

She spent a month in a Fresno hospital (the first week in the intensive care unit). Although she spent a year in rehab relearning to speak and walk, she was determined to come back to Bass Lake and finish what she started a year ago.

After crossing the finish line, Jackson dropped to one knee and proposed to Tammy. Along with a huge embrace and a few tears, the answer was a definite yes.

Jackson and Sears had been dating about six months at the time of the accident. Jackson, a veteran triathlete, helped Sears get through her recovery being there every step of the way. According to a close friend, "Mark was her rock."

Jackson participated in the Sprint Triathlon while Sears took on the Olympic distance.

Jackson felt there was no better place to propose than at the finish line as his beloved Tammy completed such a physical and emotional goal.

"I was a little nervous, but more excited," Jackson said. "For her to come back after being in the hospital for a month just a year ago, and finish this race is a really big deal."

According to a friend, Sears visited the accident site the day before this year's race, to face her fear and overcome those emotions so she could bravely focus on completing the Olympic distance of the Triathlon. She stood for a few emotional moments, looking on at the spot where just a year before her life took a painful turn. With that behind her she turned her thoughts toward accomplishing her goal.

The pair had Friends stood behind the finish line anxiously waiting with a banner which read 'Tammy — Marry Me! — Mark.' .

As Tammy neared the finish line the banner went up and Jackson moved forward with ring in hand. As she came close, Jackson bent down on one knee and as she ran across the finish line he told her how much he loved her and popped the question. Cheers from the crowd of on-lookers erupted as the two embraced and a friend popped the cork on the champagne and doused the two as they kissed.

Christie Long contributed to this story.

NOTE: For complete race results, see basslaketri.com.

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