After weeks of rain and clouds, competitors in the eighth annual Squamish Triathlon got off to what organizers called the sunniest start in event history on Sunday, July 10.
The event was sold out by the end of May, with 46 relay teams and 368 individual competitors taking part in a 1,500 metre swim, a 40 km bike, and a 10 km run.
Whistlers David Higgins was the fifth competitor out of the water, but got into trouble when he flatted on the bike section. He managed to change the flat and finish the road section in good time, but he said the urgency went out of the day after being passed by dozens of racers.
"Thats racing," he said.
He still managed to have the 11 th fastest run of the day, finishing 12 th overall and second in the mens 35 to 39 age category with a time of two hours, 11 minutes and 57 seconds.
Whistlers Marie-Anne Prevost finished 19 th overall, third among women, and first out of 32 athletes in the 30 to 34 category. Her time of 2:14:56 was more than eight minutes faster than the next 30 to 34 competitor.
Bob Deeks was 22 nd overall and a strong second in the mens 45 to 49 group with a time of 2:16:07.
"Im really happy with that result. I would have been happy to be in the top-five in my category, so to come second was unbelievable," he said.
Deeks currently trains about six days a week, and does at least two sports on three of those days.
For the first part of the season his goal was the Victoria Half Ironman on June 19, where he finished fifth in his age category. Now his main focus is on the Canadian Triathlon Championships in Kelowna this August, which is a qualifier for the world championships in Hawaii this October. If all goes well, Deeks plans to wrap up his season on the beach.
"The half iron was a big goal, but Im really focused on Olympic distance right now," he said.
He says his strongest event is the run, although his best times are usually on the bike, "probably because I still feel more comfortable on the run than I do on the bike leg, which is newer to me," he said. "The swim is still pretty tough but its something I try really hard at."
Deekss partner Marie-Anne Prevost has only been competing in triathlon for a few years, but is already one of the top athletes in the province in her age group. Her cycling is especially strong, and in the Squamish triathlon she posted the 14 th fastest time including her transition.
Prevost also competed in the Victoria Half Ironman last month, finishing eighth out of 214 women, and is also hoping to peak for the Canadian championships and earn a spot in Hawaii.
"I am really excited for my (Squamish triathlon) time. Its the fastest Ive ever gone in an Olympic distance race, and I hope Im stronger still for Kelowna," she said.
Prevost trains seven days a week, but makes sure to include a few light days into her schedule. She is also working with triathlon coach Val Burke on a program that involves three weeks of hard exercise followed by one week of recovery.
"Im enjoying the training, so far so good, and trying my best not to get too tired of it. You have to switch up your routine if you can and make sure you still have fun so instead of a road ride I went for a mountain bike today," she said.
Having a large group of local triathletes to train with, as well as coaches like Dave and Brandi Higgins, and Val Burke, also helps.
"(Coaches) keep you motivated, and its nice to have someone checking on you and taking care of you, especially when they really understand the physiological impact of everything were doing because theyve been there too," Prevost said.
With the recent poor weather that Whistler has been having, it also helps to be part of the Whistler Triathlon Club and to train with a group.
"The other day I woke up to go training and it was raining and cloudy, like it was the day before and the day before that, and I just knew that if there werent people waiting for me theres no way Id be getting out of bed," she said. "Training with your friends is a lot more fun than training by yourself."
Greg McDonnell, who was the top Whistler runner in the recent Comfortably Numb race and is preparing for his first Ironman in August, was 28 th overall and eighth in the mens 30 to 34 group in 2:17:33.
Greg Sandkuhl, an Ironman veteran, won the mens 60 to 64 category, finishing 42 nd overall in 2:19:52.
Daniel Havens just missed the podium in the mens 45 to 49 group, finishing sixth out of 29 racers in 2:23:32. Havens is training for X-Terra off-road triathlon events.
John Blok didnt have a great race, but still managed to win the mens 50 to 54 group with a time of 2:28:05, finishing 81 st overall.
Junior athlete Claire Daniels won the womens 15 to 19 age group, and was 95 th overall in 2:30:27.
Chris Holkinson was 20 th in the mens 35 to 39 race and 109 th overall in 2:32:55.
Jason Simpson was just three spots back overall, and one spot back in the 35 to 39 category in 2:33:18.
Jannie Grobler was fourth in the mens 50 to 54 race and 124 th overall with a time of 2:34:48.
Megan Wastle was fifth in the womens 30 to 34 race in 2:35:29.
Catherine ONeill was 16 th in the womens 25 to 29 race in 2:40:17.
Trent Argent crossed the line just four seconds later to rank 24 th in the mens 30 to 34 group.
Jackie Fulton was 11 th in the womens 35 to 39 division in 2:42:22.
David McColm finished his first triathlon in 2:49:57, 24 th in the 45 to 49 group.
Liane Dunsmuir was 11 th in the womens 30 to 34 race in 2:50:12.
Grace Blok was fourth in the womens 50 to 54 race in 2:54:29.
Catherine Yates was 15 th in the 30 to 34 group in 2:57:09.
Tracy Silvester was 29 th in the 25 to 29 race in 2:59:11.
Chandra Eyton was 18 th in the 30 to 34 race in 3:03:19.
Karina Collie was 23 rd in the 30 to 34 race in 3:06:53.
Jane Hague was 26 th in the womens 35 to 39 race in 3:12:52.
Christine Stufano was 14 th in the 40 to 44 race in 3:24:48.
Several Pemberton athletes also took part. John Teitzel was 75 th overall and 13 th in the mens 30 to 34 race in 2:26:36.
John Larsen was 11 th in the mens 20 to 24 race in 2:57:25.
Helen Pearson was 23 rd in the womens 35 to 39 group in 3:05:54.
Garth Riess was ninth in the mens 50 to 54 race in 3:32:51.
Janice Wilkes was 15 th in the 20 to 24 race in 3:37:28.
Several local teams also competed in the relay category, which included mens, womens and co-ed categories.
Daves Disciples was the top Whistler team, finishing fourth overall and second in the mens competition with a time of 2:14:50.
The Abominable Snowmen of Pemberton were third in the mixed relay category with a time of 2:17:05.
Whistler Fire Rescue was sixth overall and third in the mens division in 2:19:11.
The Whistler Chicks were eighth overall and won the womens relay category in 2:21:38.
They were followed in that category by Team 2 JAFAs and a Pom in 2:31:39.
Rather Be Surfing, another Whistler womens team, made it a podium sweep with their time of 2:32:03.
The second Whistler Fire Rescue team was 17 th overall and seventh in the mens category in 2:33:20.
Chucks Crazy Girlz of Pemberton were fifth in the womens category in 2:38:21.
The Frantastics of Whistler were seventh in the womens category in 2:38:52.
Team TA was 11 th out of 24 in the mixed category with a time of 2:40:55.
The third Whistler Fire Rescue team was 14 th in the mixed category in 2:42:27.
Reiths Raiders were 18 th in the mixed category in 2:59:25.