Whistler to welcome new off-road triathlon 

Whistler Triathlon Club to keep roadways free

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Knowledgeable organizer Dale Tiessen (centre) won his division at the Squamish Off-Road Triathlon in 2018.
  • Photo submitted
  • Knowledgeable organizer Dale Tiessen (centre) won his division at the Squamish Off-Road Triathlon in 2018.

A new triathlon will take place in Whistler this June, but fear not, motorists—it's all off-road.

The Whistler Triathlon Club's inaugural Whistler X Off-Road Triathlon and Relay is set for June 9 in and around Lost Lake.

Race director Dale Tiessen recalled a pair of XTERRA events held roughly 10 and 20 years ago in Whistler and the club looked to bring those types of events back to the resort.

"Myself and several others that were either directors of the triathlon club or members of the triathlon club were reminiscing about previous events in Whistler," said Tiessen, who has BC Cup cycling race director experience. "At the same time, we were talking about what the goals of the triathlon club were for Whistler.

"The triathlon club had run events before and we wanted to get back on that."

The course plans, which are available on Trailforks.com or at www.whistlertriclub.com, are inspired by the first XTERRA race in the resort, which weaved its way through Lost Lake Park, Tiessen said.

"We landed on running the race in the Lost Lake area versus running it out of Rainbow Park primarily for logistical considerations: egress and ingress (from and to) the park, not having to deal with roads and not having to deal with CN Rail to go over the tracks," he said. "We built the courses trying to acknowledge that Whistler has a substantial amount of very technical terrain. We wants to sample good trails without creating too difficult of a course."

Tiessen surveyed the organizers of the Squamish event, who relayed to him that they had significant feedback regarding the course's difficulty despite selecting Alice Lake Provincial Park's least strenuous terrain.

"It was good feedback. What I took from that is people are looking to race moderate trails and do so very fast," he said. "They want a fast running course, not something that's gnarly and technical that they feel like they have to put knee pads on or something like that."

Registration for the race's 250 spots opened on Feb. 1 at www.whistlertriclub.com. Tiessen expects the slots to fill up sooner than later after consulting with other organizers of similar events in the region.

"We expect to be close to or at capacity for the event," he said.

Tiessen added he hopes to see those who had never thought of doing a triathlon get inspired, as they are looking to appeal to trail runners and mountain bikers who might look to diversify from their respective specialties. However, with a relay also on offer, participants can create teams as well.

The individual race will be offered in either championship (1.5-kilometre swim, 26-km bike ride and 10-km run) or sport (half-length) distances while the relay is offered on the full championship course.

Tiessen noted that the race will be held the same weekend as Thinkbike, the mountain-biking demo event spearheaded by Grant Lamont, which will return after taking a hiatus in 2018.

Thinkbike will run from Friday, June 7 to Sunday, June 9 with tours leaving Day Lot 2 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 10 a.m. on Sunday. On Friday night, BC Aboriginal Youth MTB Program director Patrick Lucas and Bicycles for Humanity (Uganda) founder Pat Montani will present at Whistler Museum at 7 p.m.

Passes for one, two, or all three days are available at thinkbikewhistler.com.

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