Submitted by Kevin Grogan
On a crazy hot day back in June of 2016, I was out on a 35-mile cycling ride going west on Cherry Lake Road. As I passed the Cherry Lake Tree Farm, I gazed to the left and saw a long clay road that appeared to climb hundreds of feet into a beautiful green tree line. I pulled over into the grass and sat there looking at the picturesque scene as I wiped the sweat that had now covered my brow.
I reached into the back pocket of my bike jersey and messaged Timothee Sallin of Cherry Lake Tree Farm who also had a passion for multisport events. My message read, “Do you have time to talk now Timothee? I have an idea. Do you know what a duathlon is?” That’s how it began.
For the past two years, Kimberly Grogan & Timothee Sallin have put together a race production team and produced the Cherry Lake Tree Farm Duathlon & Run.
This year’s event was held on Saturday, February 3, with close to 300 athletes coming from all over the state to participate.
The cool overcast morning produced pleasant race conditions as the athletes were treated to the best views Lake County has to offer. The duathlon was the featured event at Cherry Lake with duathletes completing a 3.1 mile run on the clay surface, then a 12-mile bike on Cherry Lake Road, followed by a 1.55 mile run again on the dirt. There was also a 10k run & a 5k run, both on the soft roads of the Tree Farm.
The Men’s duathlon was lead wire-to-wire by hometown Lachlan Hovius of Groveland. The 17-year old started off quick and never let off the gas. Also of note, Patrick Sirois of Winter Garden, placed second, once again.
The Women’s field was won by a local; Anna Emory of Clermont. Emory produced the fastest ladies time of the 74 duathletes.
Kenyon Congdon, long time multisport elite competitor of Apopka, commented after the event, “The Cherry Lake races show the best of what Central Florida has to offer. Cool winter temperatures, rolling hills, and clay roads to run. It’s a grassroots event where the primary focus is athletes helping athletes.”
The course alone will bring back the participants. Throw in a very well organized & safe event with phenomenal “live” awards for the racers, and you have a winning product.
“Cherry Lake Duathlon is like no other race in Central Florida. You start off through a gorgeous nursery and ride through the hills of Lake County. One of the best parts is that it is put on by athletes: People who understand how important it is to provide a safe and fun environment for the participants,” reflected Steven E. Gonzales, who has raced both years.