It started with emotion, as the wife and son of Bob McIntosh returned to Squamish to witness their first Squamish Triathlon - a Memorial to Bob McIntosh Sunday (July 11) at Alice Lake.
One hour, 56 minutes and 32 seconds later, Vancouver's Paul Krochak crossed the finish line at Don Ross Secondary School with one arm raised triumphantly in the air to capture the endurance event.
"I was having trouble getting the run going," he said moments after crossing the line. "It felt like I was going uphill on the run, but after a while it kicked in."
Krochak and Scott Curry, the 2003 Squamish Triathlon champion, kept going back and forth throughout the 40-km ride portion of the race, which was described by one of the athletes as a "powerhouse ride."
Krochak, trailing two other athletes at the start of the 10-km run, started gaining ground on the uphill run on the Cheekye Fan trail along Hwy. 99, and then caught them on the downhill.
'It was one big all-out effort," said Krochak. "I had a great swim and I was lucky I had Scott pushing me on the bike. Overall, it's a great race, well-marked and really well run."
Curry finished in second place, almost a minute behind, while Victoria's Travis Chater was third. The top female athlete, Christine Fletcher, crossed the finish line in 2:06:53 to take her first Squamish title, 27 seconds ahead of Vancouver's Penny Lidstone.
"It was hard," she said, still sweating and trying to catch her breath. "The swim was the biggest fight of a swim I've ever had."
Fletcher backed up the bike portion's 'powerhouse' reputation.
"It's so unforgiving - you need constant speed and a constant effort the whole way. It's a great race - I love the course and the fact that for the most part it's a trail run. The volunteers are all awesome," said Fletcher, who is coached by Zimich Coaching in Vancouver.
Last year's female champion Tiffany Evans finished in third place among women and 13th overall.Squamish's Gord Addison, again the top local athlete, finished in sixth place, but felt he could've done better if he hadn't been all alone for most of the race.
"I got a little further behind in the swim than I wanted to," said Addison after the race, noting that a rib injury may have been a factor in the water. "And I had one of my worst [swim/bike] transitions ever. For the most part it was a pretty lonely race," he said.
"It's hard to get motivated when you're all alone. It's still a great race and the word is out that Squamish is a great race to compete in."
Although Addison didn't post impressive times in the swim and bike sections, he did have the second fastest run of the day, which propelled him up six spots and into sixth position overall at the end of the race.
Max Roy, a second-year participant and recipient of the 2004 Robert W. McIntosh Memorial Scholarship, was happy with his race. Roy finished with a time of 2:20:51, bettering his time from last year by six minutes en route to a 64th-place overall finish.
"I felt really good in the swim, but there was a lot of contact for the first five minutes or so," Roy said. "The bike was a bit of a struggle, but I felt really strong in the run. I was only passed a couple of times and I passed a bunch of people. It was a great race - I had a lot of fun."