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The SARMA Triathlon

First Triathlon on Lake Baikal – Another Tough Challenge Siberia Offers...



Heights (min., average, max.): 455 m, 578 m, 860 m
Heights increase/decrease: 1962 m/1937 m;
Max. gradient: 20% - 17 %; average gradient: 4 %
The name of the SARMA Triathlon is after the name of the famous and legendary Baikal wind. The fiercely strong Sarma wind emerges from the Valley of Sarma River at full hurricane force with speeds of 90 miles per hour; so it can uproot trees, overturn boats, tear the roofs off houses, and sweep cattle from the shores into the lake. That’s why the roofs of houses in the village of Sarma, situated in the valley, are tied to the ground by the villagers.

The SARMA Triathlon (Olympic course distances) is held on 3-rd Sunday of August in the area of Olkhon Island – the largest island of Lake Baikal often referred to as the Heart of Baikal and the Land of the Shamans.

The Sarma Triathlon begins after a special shamanistic ceremony of offering to the gods of Baikal, at the Olkhon Gates strait that separates the mainland from Olkhon Island. The starting point of a swimming stage is at the mainland near the Cape of Oboyn, about 3 km from the MRS settlement. The start at the SARMA is a mass one, and all athletes will enter the water and begin the competition after a single start signal. The swim leg will proceed along a series of marked buoys; support team on the boats shall also be there to ensure overall safety before athletes exit the water. The wetsuits are not just allowed, but are mandatory. After swimming a distance of 1500 meters above the energy greed of the lake’s Olkhon Gates strait with underwater extinct volcano and in the strong current, the athletes will get into 1-st transition area, get on their bikes and continue the race 40 km cycling along the fantastic XCM trail of various terrains. (The rules of the SARMA set up check-in bikes by the racers in the transition area a day or two before the race start, and then leaving it overnight under our guard). The last stage begins from the transition area 2 which is 10 km from Khuzhir, central settlement of Olkhon Island.

No any Clydesdale - or Athena-type divisions are offered by the SARMA Triathlon which rules do not set any weight standards. Race time ranges from just under 3, 5 hours for elite and up to almost 6 hours for amateur. Anyone physically well fit, staying in good health, having previous and recent experience of racing in Triathlon events (that has to be proved), and who agrees with the Sarma Triathlon governing rules is welcome to register and take part in the Sarma Triathlon.

Sarma Triathlon is a challenge for the really well-trained Triathlon racers. Every finisher will automatically receive invitation to take part in the next athlete event (similar to the Ironman races) to be held on Lake Baikal in 2016. 


Layered cumulus clouds with sharply outlined edges gathering over the heights of the Primorskiy range near the Sarma gorge is a sign of Sarma's imminent onset. Some 2-3 hours pass between the start of clouds build-up and the first gusts of wind. The last warning is the opening of the «gates» - the appearance of an opening between the mountain peaks and the lower edge of the storm clouds. Sometimes shreds of clouds can be seen sweeping down the mountain slopes. Some 15-30 minutes after this the wind springs up.


“In August, 2004, we supported Japanese swimmer Ikerasi Ken in his attempt to swim across Lake Baikal. Ikerasi-san swam to reach the opposite shore of Baikal in 15 hours 45 minutes after the start. Mr. Ikerasi Ken so far remains the only person who crossed the Glorious Sea- Lake Baikal – swimming across its entire width. By launching the SARMA Triathlon we aim to attract more adventurous people to the great waters of Baikal, enable them feel huge energy that the Holy Lake offers those who share their own with It. I believe the SARMA Triathlon will take its share in making the water of our most unique lake accessible to many more athletes. We wish you to successfully compete on your course and against the clock for the best time, for the best memory, and then once again come here for another one-of-a-kind event.” - On behalf of the Sarma Triathlon Organizing Committee, Aleksey Nikiforov.


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