There are always several telltale signs that it's springtime in Whistler: skunk cabbage blooming in wetlands, nesting robins making more noise than bears, and the appearance of posters advertising the Whistler Triathlon Club's annual beginner races and the annual Whistler Valley Trail Run.
Both events are scheduled for the May 23-24 weekend, with the annual Kids of Steel and Adult Try-a-Tri on Saturday and the Valley Trail Run on Sunday.
The Kids of Steel race is a fully sanctioned triathlon for kids as young as eight. It takes place at Meadow Park with a pool swim, bike ride, and run on the paved Valley Trail.
Kids aged 8 to 11 do four lengths of the pool (100 metres), followed by a 4 km bike and a 1 km run. This year the younger riders will tackle two laps of a less hilly bike course through the Alpine subdivision.
Kids aged 12 to 15 swim 300 metres, bike 10 km on the usual Alta Lake Road route, and run 3 km.
Kids aged 16 to 18 do a 500 metre pool swim, followed by a 14 km bike and a 4 km run.
Although some of the athletes will have competed in past years this is an entry level triathlon with an emphasis on fun instead of speed. The cost is $40.
There is advance registration at www.whistlertriclub.ca until 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22, and you can register in person at Snow Covers between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. during the voluntary bike and helmet check and package pickups. There is also a second package pickup and bike check on Saturday morning from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. at Meadow Park.
Start times depend on age categories, with the older kids entering the pool at 8 a.m.
More information is available at www.whistlertriclub.ca.
The Adult Try-A-Tri is for never-evers, once-in-a-whiles, and even experienced racers looking to hone their skills for the season.
Back for a third year, this event is for racers 19 and older, and includes a 300 metre swim, 14 km bike and 4 km run. It starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday. Like the older age categories the bike leg is on Alta Lake Road, which is on the hilly side, but the payoff is a flat run on the Valley Trail to the finish line.
Registration and package pick-up details are the same as for the Kids of Steel race, with a $50 entry fee. There are prizes for the top triathletes in each age group.
The organizers are looking for volunteers to help out counting laps, marshalling the courses and transition areas, and assisting in other areas as well. Diana Rochon of the Canadian Centre for Sport will be coordinating volunteers this year at email@example.com.