Soak­ing up Saskatoon

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Front Page - By Roger Hospedales

Setin beau­ti­ful Pike Lake and fea­tur­ing an ex­cit­ing Pro Chase for­mat that forces a bat­tle of the sexes, the inau­gu­ral Saskatoon Triathlon, the new­est ad­di­tion to the Subaru Western Triathlon Se­ries, took place Sun­day, June 30. The big­gest triathlon event ever hosted in Saskatchewan turned out to be an enor­mous suc­cess.

Saskatoon is renowned for its abil­ity to cel­e­brate the sum­mer, and a trip to the city for the race won’t dis­ap­point. Ath­letes can stay in the his­toric Delta Bess­bor­ough, the of­fi­cial race ho­tel, and soak in Saskatoon’s great ac­tive-liv­ing vibe. The South Saskatchewan River f lows right through the city and the River Val­ley Park sys­tem of­fers ex­ten­sive trails for bik­ing, run­ning and walk­ing.

The race starts in the beau­ti­ful Pike Lake, then ath­letes ride to down­town Saskatoon and then head out onto the trail sys­tem run course. Al­though many fans po­si­tioned them­selves to watch the run at River Land­ing with its con­ve­niently large seat­ing area, ath­letes can be seen any­where along the trail sys­tem. Be­ing able to fol­low ath­letes in full view is a rare and ex­cit­ing bonus.

In the Pro Chase Brent McMa­hon, Ma­gali Tis­seyre, Jeff Sy­monds, An­drew Rus­sell, Karen Thi­bodeau and Sara Gross were among those to go head to head. The pro women had a 12:30 head start, but with such a deep field the pro men had to be at the top of their game to catch them. Even­tu­ally, Tis­seyre and McMa­hon bat­tled for top spot in a race that came down to the fi­nal kilo­me­tre.

Tis­seyre took the lead early, ex­it­ing the swim in 22:00 and then rid­ing 53: 45 to se­cure a 4:11 lead over the Can­more, Alta. based Thi­bodeau. As she left T2 Tis­seyre was 5:30 ahead of McMa­hon, but the Olympian pushed hard right from the mo­ment he left T2 and, at the end of the first 5 km lap, was just 2: 40 be­hind. He con­tin­ued the charge and within sight of the fin­ish line just across the South Saskatchewan River, McMa­hon passed Tis­seyre and con­tin­ued on to take the win in 1: 43: 29.

“It’s a lit­tle eas­ier when you have a car­rot to chase. Ma­gali had an awe­some race, I didn’t think I was close un­til the last cou­ple kilo­me­tres,” said McMa­hon. “It was a fun race, a fast race, a beau­ti­ful spot, a great place, I look for­ward to com­ing back.”

Never giv­ing up for one se­cond, Tis­seyre con­tin­ued to ham­mer hard and fin­ished just 14 sec­onds later. Pen­tic­ton, B.C.’s Jeff Sy­monds com­pleted the top three with a stel­lar run of his own.

“Brent is just un­stop­pable. When I saw him at the last turn­around I knew I was done,” said Tis­seyre. “I got the best out of my­self be­cause of my great com­pe­ti­tion so it was a great day out there.”

The Saskatoon event served as the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship for the age group com­peti­tors, with 26 qual­i­fy­ing spots for the age group na­tional team com­pet­ing at the world cham­pi­onship next year in Ed­mon­ton. Saskatoon’s Tim Pierce (1:58:35) and Regina’s Emanuela Ban­dol (2:13:33) won the Olympic dis­tance race, while Regina’s Shawn Wi­ly­man (1: 27:30), and Jackie Hatherly (1:32: 24) earned sprint dis­tance hon­ours.

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