Racers at the Penticton Peach Classic had good long looks at the backsides of the eventual Olympic and sprint distance winners.
Shawn Wilyman (Victoria) and Yvonne Timewell (Kamloops) held the lead for the bulk of the Olympic distance triathlon finishing first in the men’s and women’s field.
“I was fourth or fifth out of the water and had a carrot to chase on the bike which is always fun. I caught them right near the end of the bike and took the lead heading out on the run,” said Wilyman, who finished the race in two hours and 11 seconds.
Carlos Lessar (Victoria) posted the top swim time out of the Olympic field and was Wilyman’s target out of the water. He dropped two positions losing five minutes on the bike but Lessar’s strong run put him across the finish line in second overall with a time of 2:03:37.
Sean Bell (Kelowna) was the other rider who overtook Lessar on the bike, but couldn’t keep pace on the run. Losing valuable time on the final leg left Bell in third place crossing the finish line at 2:05:50.
In the women’s field, Timewell — who won the Ultraman Canada last year — didn’t get off to the fastest start in the water, but made up for it on the bike and the run by posting the fastest women’s times in those two categories. She came across the finish line (2:23:19) just over seven minutes ahead of second place winner Lisa Volorney (Edmonton) who finished in 2:30:28. Eventual third place finisher in the women’s field Claudia Edwards (North Vancouver) beat both those women out of the water but lost time on the bike before gaining back some ground on the run to finish in 2:23:02.
Michael Owen (Summerland) was the first local to cross the Olympic distance finish line at 10th overall and Brad Lee was the first from Penticton to finish running across in 20th place overall.
Not only were both Timewell and Wilyman first time Peach Classic Olympic distance winners, they both come from the medical field and are using the triathlon as a training ground for Valley First Challenge in Penticton this August.
“It was a little bit of prep to get to know the city. Penticton is a pretty cool place and this course was awesome. It was challenging, had some tough competition and I couldn’t have asked for better weather,” said Wilyman.
The sprint distance also had a first-time Peach Classic winner,16 year old Neils De Vries from Calgary.
Competing in just his third triathlon race, De Vries led throughout, crossing the finish line at 1:06:13. The win came as a surprise for the athlete, who took up the sport just one year ago.
“I definitely had some challenges, the hill on both the run and the bike was a big one.”
Coming out of transition athletes in both races were immediately hit by the long, steep grind of Vancouver Hill.
“You come in from the bike and a kilometre in you hit this huge hill. It’s the last leg of the race and your lungs are already burning and chest is throbbing. You have to find the gas to race up this hill,” said De Vries, who finished 18th overall in his category at the junior nationals recently.
De Vries had an eight second lead on his nearest swim competitor Riley Kascak (Penticton), who eventually fell off from the front of the pack on the other two legs. While De Vries didn’t have the best time on the bike, his lead on the swim and the top time in the run amongst the field kept any immediate threats off his back.
“I was thinking that because the bike is my weakest that I would have had to catch them on the run. That was the plan at least, but it all went smooth for me and I held the lead,” he said.
Dominique Caron (Kelowna) finished second in the male category with a time of 1:10:42 and Tamasin Reno (Vancouver) finished third overall, first for females with a time of 1:11.
Chris Neenan was the first Penticton athlete across the finish line at 1:13:41. He put out a strong performance finishing in ninth overall and second in his age category.