There are literally over 50 races recognized and sanctioned by Triathlon B.C., but the 14th annual Squamish Triathlon - taking place Sunday, July 10 - has always been a little bit different.
For one thing, the 37-km bike section follows a lap course, which makes it more exciting for riders with lots of passing, and for spectators that get to see riders go by a full four times. It's also unique because the 10 km run takes place almost entirely on dirt and gravel trails in the Cheekeye Fan area, while most other races stick to pavement. It was also one of the first races to really focus on relay teams as well as individual racers, emphasizing participation as much as athleticism.
This year's Olympic-distance triathlon gets underway at 9:30 a.m. with a 1,500-metre swim around the buoys in Alice Lake. Afterwards swimmers run up a short path to the nearby relay handoff and bike transition. Cyclists rip down the road from Alice Lake and cross Highway 99, which is temporarily closed for the event. The course then follows a loop that includes Squamish Valley Road, Government Road, Depot Road and back up a closed lane of Highway 99 to Squamish Valley Road. On the fourth lap riders head to the transition at Don Ross Secondary and onto the trails across the road. There are three aid stations on the run, which follows one long loop through the forest.
The number of entries is back up this year after dipping a little in 2010. At press time there were 182 individuals and 41 relay teams, up from 165 individuals and 35 teams of three the previous year.
The plans for road closures have also been released.
The Alice Lake Provincial Park will have limited access to the first parking area from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the public will not be able to enter the park between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Highway 99 will be closed for approximately 20 minutes between roughly 9:50 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. as cyclists cross the highway. The southbound lane of the highway will be closed for riders until noon and traffic will be diverted into one of the northbound lanes.
Squamish Valley Road from Highway 99 to Government Road will be open for westbound traffic only from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Eastbound traffic will be diverted onto Government Road. During the same time period, Government Road to Depot Road will be closed to northbound traffic, Ross Road will have limited access and Depot Road will be closed to westbound traffic.
The full name of the event is the Squamish Triathlon: A Memorial to Bob McIntosh, in recognition of the world class triathlete who was killed while trying to break up a New Year's teen party at a friend's house. The race was created in his honour that summer.
This year organizers have also created a video challenge where the prize is a free entry for life into the Squamish Triathlon. Videos can be a maximum of 60 seconds.
The winner will be announced on Sunday, July 10 during the Squamish Triathlon awards ceremony.
"This is a really exciting contest that will give creative individuals a chance to make a cool video featuring the sport of triathlon," said race director John French. "We are going to give bonus points to videographers who include Squamish in the video and generate traffic to their movie once it is published."
You need to be at least 16 years of age on race day to enter. Judges are looking for videos that promote healthy lifestyle and sportsmanship. Subject matter in the video also has to conform to laws.
Links to your video can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is still opportunity to register for the 14th annual Squamish Triathlon until 6 p.m. on Saturday. For more, visit www.squamishtriathlon.org.