It's been a long time since Sea to Sky hosted an off-road triathlon - 2001 in fact, when Whistler hosted an Xterra event.
That changes this Sunday, Sept. 20 as Squamish plays host to the XTC off-road triathlon and duathlon - something organizers are hoping to make an annual event.
"It's something we should have done a long time ago," said race director Teri Taylor. "We used to host a race at Buntzen Lake but it was never a great venue for that kind of race and Squamish has always been a personal favourite for running and racing. We thought it would be tough to get Alice Lake, but then we actually called last fall and they said 'sure, you can have it,' for that weekend. If we had known it was going to be that easy we would have done this years ago."
Online registration wraps up at midnight tonight (Thursday), but you can register in person at package pickup on Saturday and Sunday if you haven't already.
The race is based out of Alice Lake Provincial Park, and there are an almost endless number of categories to choose from for all ages and abilities.
Adults going the full triathlon distance will start out with two laps of a 750-metre course with a short beach run in between loops, followed by a 23 km bike on easy and moderate trails around the area. The trail run is two laps of a 4.3 km course for a total of 8.6 km.
There is also a half course available for adults with a 750-metre swim at the start, a 13 km bike course and a 4.3 km run.
The adult duathlon starts with a 4.3 km run, followed by the 23 km bike course and the full 8.6 km run course the second time out. The half distance duathlon is two 4.3 km runs separated by a 13 km bike section.
You can race as an individual or as part of a relay team if you choose.
There are Kids of Steel Triathlon and Duathlon events available for kids 11 and under and 16 and over. There was a 12 to 15 category, but the organizers had to cancel that race because of low registration.
Otherwise registration is going strong in all categories, and Taylor expects to have over 150 racers at the start line, and possibly closer to 200. Registration is typically lower for off-road triathlons, she explained, and registration for the Squamish race is already well ahead of expectations for the first year of the race.
Squamish adventure racer Jen Segger designed the course to be challenging but achievable for most athletes capable of doing a normal triathlon or duathlon.
Taylor said the goal is to get people doing off-road triathlons, not to make them stop. "We wanted to make sure it was beginner-friendly for people and not too tough, but also a bit of a challenge for the intermediate rider," said Taylor. "Like Rob's and Cliff's Corners, they're green trails but they're also fun to ride, and we have Roller Coaster in there as well."
You can register at the race package pickup on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Alice Lake as well as from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Sunday. The race gets underway at 10 a.m.
Registration is at www.xtccanada.com.