Victory did not elude the Swagman team at The Elevator, the sixth edition, on March 25.
Local pro triathlete Jen Annett delivered victory for the team cruising across the finish line on a snowboard in the alpine ski leg at Apex Mountain Resort. Annett said winning was awesome, as they clocked a total time of four hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds. Annett said her section was fun until she got part way up the run on Apex Mountain.
“It was burning pretty good. Not to mention a little slippery,” she said. “Definitely a fun leg. It was nice to do something different.”
Annett, who has been with the Swagman team for a few years, competed with Dave Michael, who created the team, Leanne Stanley, Sev Nowak, Peter Watson and Geoff Sanz.
Michael completed the cross-country ski leg and said it was fantastic for them to win. As he put it, it has been years in the making.
“Every year we try harder,” said Michael, who recruits some of Swagman’s sponsored athletes.
Michael loved the section of The Elevator he completed because he said Nickel Plate Nordic Centre is one of the best ski areas around in the Okanagan.
“To be able to have it as part of the ski course is amazing,” he said. “You can’t see straight by the time you finish. It was very hard today.”
It all begins with the paddle, road bike, run/snowshoe, mountain bike, Nordic ski, hike and finishes with the downhill ski/board.
The solo winner of the race was Kevin Cutjar, a triathlon coach, who crossed the finish line in 5:13:40, good for seventh overall. Scott Bauer took second in the solo, coming in at 7:05:20.
Geoff Waterman, a Pen High cross-country run coach, teamed up with Tom Evans of Penticton on Eckhardt Dental Express. They finished third as a team.
Waterman said that Hoodoo Adventures did a fantastic job putting the event on.
“Really happy with the performance today,” he said. “We got beat by two better teams. It was really tough out there. The hardest part is getting started again.”
In the early afternoon, the weather at Apex changed from light snow to sun and back to heavier snow with a sprinkle of hail balls. Waterman joked that the climb up the ski hill was mentally tasking.
“It was really tough,” said Waterman.
Once the athletes finished the event, they were given a complimentary beverage from Tree Brewery. The race is powered by powered by Parkers Jeep and White Kennedy.
Proceeds from the series are donated to a not-for-profit society that supports local youth, The Youth Outdoor Recreation Society. (Y.O.R.S), which provides affordable programs for mainstream and at-risk youth in the Okanagan to participate in outdoor recreation, education and leadership activities.