Titus takes two golds in Vancouver 

Local squash players also shine at Americas Masters Games

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - MASTER of two Dawn Titus (centre) is shown atop the podium with Sue Drinnan (left) and Lisa Grey (right) after winning the time trial at the Americas Masters Games in Vancouver on Aug. 27.
  • Photo submitted
  • MASTER of two Dawn Titus (centre) is shown atop the podium with Sue Drinnan (left) and Lisa Grey (right) after winning the time trial at the Americas Masters Games in Vancouver on Aug. 27.

Dawn Titus is certainly settling right into retirement.

In a normal year, the former teacher would be getting prepared to welcome students back to Spring Creek Community School. Instead, she was off to Vancouver for the Americas Masters Games where she claimed two gold medals.

Titus topped the 55-to-59 division for both the time trial and hill climb events as part of the multisport event, which ran from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4. Titus took her medals on Saturday, Aug. 27 and Monday, Aug. 29, respectively.

In the 10-kilometre time trial, Titus beat runner-up Sue Drinnan of North Vancouver by 51 seconds, while in the hill climb, she bested Lisa Grey by 1:45.

"On the Saturday, they had this beautiful time trials race and I was able to top my field. Then on Monday, we had a hill climb up Cypress (Mountain) and I got a second gold and it was so cool," she said.

Titus explained it was key, especially for the hill climb, to acclimate to the surroundings and understand exactly what she would be up against.

"The nice part is I was down to Vancouver a couple weeks before. You have to go and do something like that at least once before the event," she said. "I had a beautiful hill climb that day and got myself familiar with what the pain threshold would be."

As well, the first race gave Titus an indication of who else was riding and how she might slot alongside them going uphill.

"After the time trial, you can sort of seed yourself. You know what everyone is capable of doing," she said. "To be totally congratulatory, the three women who actually were faster than me in the time trial on Saturday were all in the 60-plus group.

"We all toed the line on Monday morning for the hill climb knowing it was going to be about 35 minutes... and it was the two 60-year-olds who took us up the hill. We were a little pack of four."

Though the results were posted to the event's Facebook page, they weren't explicitly published on its website. She feels that was likely by design, highlighting participation over domination.

"Their goal is to inspire people to be active and well," she said. "It wasn't about broadcasting (the results). It was more about inspiring people to come and enjoy things at a social level.

"I just feel so lucky I can get up in the morning and get on my bike and do these things," she said. "There are so many ways to keep yourself healthy and functional but honestly, the basis of my training is yoga. I'm certainly putting miles in on the bike (though)."

Fellow Whistlerite William Geddes also attended the Games, finishing fourth in the time trial men's 55-to-59 division.

Squash players impress

Other Whistler locals went indoors to compete.

Four squash players attended the Games, with Emilie de Crombrugghe taking a silver medal in the 30-plus division, though she was the beneficiary of some defaults from her opponents according to fellow player Rob Eberhard.

Eberhard, meanwhile, placed in the top half of his 45-plus division, dropping his last outing.

"I lost the 5-6 result to a fellow from New Zealand and he was just quite good. I think I might have done a little bit better, but I'm just not used to that level of competition," he said. "Although I had a few game balls, I was not able to close any of the games and as a result, I came sixth.

"There were 14 men in my draw and about half of them were from outside of Canada."

Carol Eberhard, in the 45-plus women's division, found herself against former top Canadians in Kelsey Souchereau and Natasha Doucas, as well as Sue Smith, who came all the way from Great Britain.

"There were two women in her draw who were ex-national champions," he said. "She had a tough go."

Lastly, in the 55-plus women's division, Heather Lynskey battled hard but finished just off the podium.

"Heather did really, really well. I think she exceeded her expectations and I think she exceeded many of our expectations," Eberhard said. "We knew that she was also in a fairly competitive draw, which was the 55-plus (division) for the women, and she ended up losing to (Laura) Bachman in a really close match for third."

Eberhard said competing gave all the athletes a boost, and many are talking about heading to Charlottesville, VA., for another big event in a couple years.

"Everybody said, without question, they would like to do more of these events. It's got everybody interested in more tournaments and potentially playing in the World Squash Masters in two years when it comes to Virginia.

"Outside of myself, no one has travelled outside of the province to play in an international or a big national event, so I think it was really quite exciting for a lot of the players to go to an event like that and feel the excitement that was surrounding the Games."

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