|Swim start - Skaha Lake. 29 athletes and kayaks|
Over the past year he convinced our other teammate Aaron to sign up for the race, as well as two more PauoleSport guys who had been eyeing Ultraman for some time. Since they were all able to get in, John decided to commit to the race for a second time and pulled together a crew and his training. (Side note: he’s also getting ready for Ironman Louisville, so he decided to “train through” UMC without any taper. Crazy.) John’s sister Kathy, my boyfriend Gerry, and I made up John’s Kokua. Sydnie was up there crewing for our friend Aaron Postema, as was his wife (Ann), his sister-in-law (Ava), and his sister’s boyfriend (Brian). It was also really fun to have two other PauoleSport athletes, Greg Pelton and Brian Dillon there with us. The one downside of crewing is that you’re required to be at the athlete meetings on Thursday and Friday. Penticton and the Okanagan Valley is beautiful, so it’s fun to be up there, it would just be more fun to be up there on a bike! Friday afternoon there was one final meeting at the lake to assign kayaks. Sydnie, Aaron, Gerry and I were able to go for a swim and then it was an early dinner for our athletes before lights out for the night.Saturday morning we gathered at Skaha Lake to send off the athletes and paddlers. Gerry was the paddler in our crew and kayaked next to John while he swam 10k. The lake conditions were perfect, but 10 kilometers is a freaking long way. After the start line ceremony and Canadian national anthem, Kathy, Sydnie, Ava, Ann, and I went to Starbucks. :) A couple hours later John got out of the water in 3rd place and with a quick transition was out on the run. As part of his crew, we set up his transition, helped him out of the water, and headed out on the road to get him iced sports drinks and water. The bike course on day one covers the majority of the old Ironman Canada course (new Challenge Penticton). It’s 90 miles and gorgeous and hilly. John rode well, but was not as strong as he wanted. He finished in a disappointing 5th place after day 1 and quickly realized how tough the competition was this year.
For write ups on the days’ events and times, check out
articles from Lava and slowtwitch here and here.
|Part of the Day 2 bike course - I was able to get in a bike ride after the athletes were in on Day 1. Penticton and the Okanagan Valley is a great place to visit and workout.|
|From Left: PauoleSport athletes, John getting ready to swim, Gerry getting ready to paddle|
|From Left: Craig Percival with the new swim course record (2:24:48), Dave Matheson, the eventual winner, exiting the water|
|10k swimming requires a little TLC getting out of the water|
Sunday was the BIG bike day – 171.4 miles. Conditions, again, were perfect and the competition was tight. John was in the top group of guys who basically rode together (with enough space to not draft) through the first 120 miles. Even through the section referred to as “the wall” the top 5 riders were all pretty tight, which made it really exciting over 171.4 miles. As crew we hustled to have everything prepared and ready for our athlete and were able to see him every 5-10 miles. The scenery was amazing and part of me wanted to be out there riding too.
|Bike course: Okanagan countryside on the bike course, Greg Pelton and Brian Dillon ride by on day 1, Gerry with a water stop on day 2|
Day 3 is a 52.4 mile run over hilly back mountain roads. If you have to do a double marathon, it actually seemed like a pretty cool place to do it. It’s also the most exciting day for the crew, because you get to get on the road and run with the athletes as pacers. For the first marathon, John was able to run with one of the other athletes and only needed our help with getting proper fluids and nutrition. By mile 26, I jumped in and ran about 7 miles with him. Then Gerry jumped in and ran with John and then Kathy jumped in and ran with her brother. His pace slowed and as the miles wore on, he definitely needed more coaxing. But the wheels were certainly not coming off and we knew he was in a good position. There were a couple times we drove back to do time checks for him on some of the other competitors. With 8 miles to go, I jumped back in and ended up running him to the finish line. It was definitely a different spot to be in, as I encouraged my so called “Ironman big brother” to “just run 8:30 miles down this hill” and “keep moving forward when we give you water.” I just wanted to make sure he ran a race he could be proud of, and I’m sure he was. For the record, the downhill in the last few miles looked absolutely brutal on the athletes’ shredded legs. After 7 hours and 34 minutes of running and 3 full days of racing, John and his Kokua ran through the finish arch and he was done.
|John and crew, run start, run course|
|And done! Notice my stumpy legs and |
Gerry's shoes standing by.
Photo cred: Rick Kent (the Master)
|From left: Team Pelton at the finish, announcer Steve King, RD's Steve Brown and Jane Backus (photo cred: Rick Kent), |
Women's champ (notice the Canadian beer in hand at Medical)