Home­town vic­tory for Jeff Sy­monds at Chal­lenge Pen­tic­ton

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Warm Up News -

De­spite­suf­fer­ing a bike crash late into the ride, Pen­tic­ton’s Jeff Sy­monds pulled off a dom­i­nant vic­tory at the in­au­gu­ral Chal­lenge Pen­tic­ton. Sy­monds’s neg­a­tive split in the marathon, run­ning a 2: 47:31 to win in front of the home­town crowd in 8:29:57. In the women’s race, Can­more, Alta.’s Karen Thi­bodeau led the swim, but ended up fin­ish­ing sec­ond ( 9: 41: 42) to Aus­tralia’s Car­rie Lester ( 9:27:26). We caught up with the proud home­town cham­pion. Triathlon Magazine Canada: What does it mean to you to win your home­town race in your full- dis­tance de­but? Jeff Sy­monds: It was un­be­liev­able. Hav­ing watched the race 22 times, just fin­ish­ing was a dream come true. The fact that my fam­ily, friends and sup­port­ers were all out there cheer­ing made it even more in­cred­i­ble. TMC: How did that nasty crash hap­pen and how painful was it dur­ing the rest of the ride and the en­tire marathon? JS: It hap­pened on the first de­scent af­ter Yel­low Lake and it was just some­thing that would add to the “triath­letes can’t ride bikes” stereo­type. Just a mo­men­tary lapse in con­cen­tra­tion and I lost con­trol. As soon as I hit the ground my first thought was “I never want to ride my bike again, I’ll stick to run­ning events from now on.” Once I picked my­self up it was all fo­cus and adren­a­line. I had the line from Rocky go­ing through my mind “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving for­ward!” I wasn’t sure if I was go­ing to be able to run and when I was in tran­si­tion there were a bunch of med­i­cal peo­ple ask­ing me if I needed to get checked out, if I was able to run or if I wanted to drop out. TMC: How se­ri­ous were your in­juries? JS: Mirac­u­lously noth­ing su­per se­ri­ous was done to me or my Or­bea. My Garmin said I was go­ing 60.6 km/ h at the time of the crash, so it is amaz­ing that I and my bike were both able to con­tinue. My left hip was su­per sore from the im­pact and I could feel it hurt­ing with ev­ery run stride. But be­fore the race I had al­ready planned for the marathon to be painful so I was pre­pared. I have a ton of ma­jor road rash on both hips, my left shoul­der, right shoul­der blade and back, right fore­arm. The right fore­arm was ridicu­lously painful while I was in my aer­o­bars dur­ing the last 30 km of the bike. I also have bad road rash and cuts on both hands and more cuts all over my body. TMC: Aside from the crash, you seemed to have a near per­fect day out there. Was this the case? JS: My prepa­ra­tion for this race was amaz­ing. My coach Kevin Cut­jar and I left no stone un­turned when pre­par­ing to race on this course. All of that came to fruition while I was out there. The big­gest thing I will be tak­ing for­ward is con­fi­dence. Con­fi­dence in my training and prepa­ra­tion as well as the con­fi­dence that Iron­man is my best dis­tance. TMC: Any ex­tra jit­ters or pres­sure in go­ing head to head with Macca? Or did he work to bring the best out of you. JS: Hav­ing Macca there was in­cred­i­ble. The word “Macca” was banned at home and at work at the Bike Barn lead­ing up to the race, be­cause Chris McCor­mack made him sound like just an­other guy. He is a great am­bas­sador for our sport and now for Pen­tic­ton. He made a point of say­ing “I hope you have re­ally great day out there” dur­ing our swim warm ups. It was pretty cool. Hav­ing him there put me into the un­der­dog role that I love to be in. TMC: Chal­lenge Pen­tic­ton was your fo­cus for this year but what’s next? Will you be back to de­fend or will next year be a march to­wards Kona? JS: I am su­per ex­cited to come back and de­fend the ti­tle next year. I am still not the fastest guy on my block as Tom Evans’s time in 2004 was a minute faster than mine this year, so I have some un­fin­ished business to take care of. I am su­per proud of my home­town for step­ping up and de­liv­er­ing such an in­cred­i­ble event. I’ll save Kona for my 30s.

Jeff Sy­monds wins the in­au­gu­ral Chal­lenge Pen­tic­ton in Au­gust in Pen­tic­ton, B.C. op­po­site Chris McCor­mack (right) gives Jeff Sy­monds a pat on the back as they exit the wa­ter dur­ing Chal­lenge Pen­tic­ton

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