The Xterra World Championships in Hawaii were not as technical as the Canadian Championships in Whistler, but a faster course made for a harder pace.
Nanaimo's Melanie McQuaid, the Canadian champion, was the first woman out of the water on the 1,500-metre ocean swim, and was first on the 29.5-kilometre mountain bike leg as well. Despite almost seven minutes of lead-time on the run, she would finish off the podium as the heat and dehydration took its toll.
Lesley Paterson of Scotland passed McQuaid on the downhill with about 1.5-kilometres remaining on the run and finished first, despite a crash that resulted in a few cuts and scrapes in view of the finish line. She was followed by Marion Lorblanchet of France and Helena Erbenova of Czech Republic.
For her part, McQuaid collapsed about 400 metres from the finish line, and was taken in by medical personnel for treatment.
In the men's race, Michael Weiss of Austria's was 23rd out of the water and first on the bike to win the men's event by just over 30 seconds. Dan Hugo of Colorado was second and Eneko Llanos of Spain third.
Josiah Midduagh, who won the Canadian Championship event in Whistler, was fourth overall.
The top Canadian male was Victoria's Mike Vine, who was second in Whistler.
A handful of Sea to Sky also qualified to compete in the championships.
Squamish's Brandi Heisterman placed ninth out of 23 athletes in the women's pro competition with a time of 3:03:39, or about 12 minutes off the podium. It was only her second Xterra race after qualifying at the Whistler event with a second place finish.
"(The) swim was nuts but I survived," she wrote on her blog. "It was the most peaceful component (at times) of the race. I could see the bottom of the ocean the whole time; schools of fish, the sand... I liked it. It was hard to swim fast, every time I wanted to go faster and pass someone I was whacked and kicked, so I figured I shouldn't push my luck and just stayed where I was comfortable."
Heisterman said she was last out of the water for the pro women, but her specialty is the bike and it wasn't long before she was catching people.
"This course had nothing, I mean absolutely nothing technical on it," she wrote. "Jeep trails. Even the climbs were buff."
Still, Heisterman said she managed to reel in some runners, pushed her speeds on the descents, "took some risks in the corners," to move up through the ranks and avoided crashing - more than a lot of other riders could say, according to Heisterman.
She managed to move up to 10th place during the bike leg, but ran out of gas - she didn't train much for the run, and the heat and humidity were at their highest. She dropped back to 12th, then picked it up again to regain 10th place. With McQuaid dropping out she was ninth.
Overall, Heisterman was happy with her day.
"I was hoping for better at the start, but perhaps I was a bit naïve to think that I could run like I used to when I only ran for three weeks to train for the race..."
Heisterman's blog is brandiheisterman.blogspot.com.
John Blok placed ninth out of 25 athletes in the Men's 55 to 59 age category with a time of 3:52:36.
Adam Ward put in a strong showing in the 20 to 24-age category, placing sixth out of 15 athletes, and just over five minutes back of the podium. He was also 78th overall out of close to 600 athletes who qualified at races around the world.
For complete results, visit www.xterra.com.