The ninth annual Squamish Triathlon: A Memorial to Bob McIntosh, took place on Sunday morning under cloudy skies. There were a few showers before the starting gun, but otherwise the conditions were perfect for the Olympic-distance race.
The course was different this year. Following the swim leg on Alice Lake, cyclists made four laps of the major roads surrounding Don Ross Secondary instead of heading out and back on the famously flat Squamish Valley Road. The result was a course with a prolonged climb, some twisting downhill sections, sharp corners, and more contact with other riders. The new course was designed to make it easier to marshall, and cut down on reports of riders drafting one another.
Whether it will be used again depends on the feedback from racers.
The run course was also different, with two loops taking place almost entirely on the Ray Peters Memorial Trail (formerly known as the Cheekye Fan Trail).
Whistler was well represented in the race, with several athletes finding their way to the podium in the age categories. In total, 33 individuals and nine teams of three took part, a total of 60 athletes. Those athletes picked up five gold medals, one silver medal and three bronze medals in the individual age categories, and one gold, silver and bronze in the relay event – the best haul for the Whistler Triathlon Club and community yet.
Despite the more challenging bike and run, the top times were only slightly behind last year. The top racer, Revelstoke’s Andrew Russell, finished the 1.5 km swim, 37.5 km bike and 10 km run in one hour 56 minutes and 37 seconds. Benjamin Hoffman of Missoula, Montana was second, and the only other racer to crack the two-hour mark in 1:59:42.
The top Whistler racer was David Higgins, who finished sixth overall and first out of 42 athletes in the men’s 35 to 39 group with a time of 2:08:09.
Paul Suter also had a solid race, placing 15 th overall and first in the men’s 45 to 49 race in 2:13:15.
Hot on his heels was Bob Deeks, 18 th overall and second to Suter in the 45 to 49 category in 2:14:53.
Greg McDonnell managed to finish 24 th overall and fourth in the men’s 35 to 39 group in 2:18:32, making up for a slow swim with the 11 th fastest bike leg of the day.
Right behind, in 25 th , was Greg Sandkuhl, who crossed the line in 2:18:32 to place first in the 60 to 64 age category.