Triathlete overcomes cramps to win Challenge Penticton age group title

Penticton's Dave Matheson will represent Canada next year after winning his age group in Challenge Penticton

DAVE MATHESON of Penticton won the 45-49 age group in the Challenge Penticton International Triathlon Union Long Course National Championship.

DAVE MATHESON of Penticton won the 45-49 age group in the Challenge Penticton International Triathlon Union Long Course National Championship.

The highlight of Dave Matheson’s Challenge Penticton day Aug. 28 was crossing the finish line, seeing his wife Tina and hearing Steve King call him in.

“That’s always the highlight, especially when you’ve pretty much had enough of racing,” he joked. “You just want it to be done. That’s definitely how I felt (Sunday) yesterday.”

Matheson, a Penticton native, is the 45-49 age group International Triathlon Union National Champ, but it wasn’t easy. He completed the three-kilometre swim, 120-km bike and 30-km run distance in six hours, 22 minutes, 24 seconds.

Competing in an unfamiliar distance, Matheson was unsure how to pace himself. He said he went a little too hard at the first lap of the bike, which he completed in three hours, 21 minutes and eight seconds. He got through the first 24-km in 38:06. The next 48-km he finished in 1:19:58 and the final 48-km in 1:23:04. Matheson felt pain the rest of the race.

“I just kept it going and hung on,” he laughed, adding he suffered cramps on the second loop of the bike. “I’m used to the iron distance and I know how to pace that.”

Despite those challenges, Matheson liked the course a lot, saying it was nice being able to come into town each loop.

“I find that kind of motivating just to get the crowd support,” said Matheson, who finished 13th overall among age group athletes. “I definitely liked the run course because it was nice and flat. It’s just nice seeing your competitors and kind of gauging where you’re at.

“I didn’t really know what to expect this year because I knew it was going to be much more competitive, being a national championship event,” he continued. “That was the ultimate goal was to win. It turned out pretty good for me.”

Winning also means that Matheson, winner of Ultraman Canada triathlon in 2013, will compete with Team Canada at the ITU Penticton 2017 Multisport World Championships Festival.

“I’m pretty excited to do that here in the hometown. It’s quite an honour actually,” said Matheson, who competed in Challenge Roth six weeks ago and finished as the second top Canadian. “Taking first is always really rewarding, especially when you put a lot of work into it. You can’t really pass it up when it’s right here in your home town.”

Penticton had 36 athletes compete in the Long Course, four of whom did not finish. Ellis Andrews was the oldest, competing in the 70 to 74 age group and finished in 9:29:29. Tyler Berthelsen was the youngest, competing in the 20-24 age group and finished in 8:55:28.