If you're going to tackle the full distance of an Ironman, you may as well really earn those bragging rights. "Ironman Lake Tahoe is by far the hardest Ironman in North America," says race director Keats McGonigal. "If athletes want to truly test themselves and find out what they are made of, this is the race for them." Take comfort (however small) that you'll be distracted by the pristine waters and beautiful views along your 8,000-feet of elevation gain. The inaugural 70.3-mile distance uses the same brutal-but-beautiful course, but chops your day's work in half. Thankfully, Lake Tahoe's bustling resort scene has plenty of spas for post-race rest and relaxation.
The Course: 70.3-mile distance (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run) and 140.6-mile distance (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run)
When: September 21, 2014
Where: Lake Tahoe, CA