No doubt the thing that keeps people coming back to swim, bike, and run their way through northeast Washington for the Tiger Tri over the past 25 years is the sometimes painfully beautiful forests, lakes and wide open spaces that dominate the course. Event organizer and Colville, Washington Parks and Recreation Coordinator Jake Wilson hammers this point home: “About 60% or more of the Tiger Tri participants in recent years have been from out of town, and a lot of people comment on how beautiful the course is,” he says. “It’s primarily on the Colville National Forest and along the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, and it’s just a super scenic course.”

The race begins with a 1k swim in Lake Gillette, a mountain lake about 25 miles east of Colville, at the Beaver Lodge boat launch. From there, the 40k bike portion heads west on the lightly traveled State Route 20 for a fast, 90% downhill roll with substantial elevation loss through the woods and flowing hills to Colville. The final leg is an 8k run along Rotary Dominion Trail in town, with a new finish location at Yep Kanum Park under giant pine and fir trees. To celebrate its 25th year, live bluegrass music, food vendors and possibly a beer garden are in the works for the finish line.

The Tiger Tri is perfect for casual athletes, says Wilson. “It’s absolutely a beginner friendly event. We do get a few competitive participants, but most people show up to enjoy a challenging yet fun down-home-event-atmosphere and gorgeous course.”

Shirts, a pasta feed, and, because it’s a point-to-point race, free shuttles back to the start at the end are included with registration. Make it a weekend at one of the many local campgrounds or friendly small-town hotels and explore northeast Washington’s many miles of Lake Roosevelt beaches, mountain lakes and hiking and biking trails. Tigertri.com. //