I felt a momentary transfer of energy! It happened when Andy Potts touched my toes rounding his second passing of the turn buoy on his way to winning the 34th running of Ironman Canada (2nd oldest IM only to Kona). His swim split was 47 mins; mine was 2 hours with a 1hr 17 min respectable average. USA Andy Potts crossed the finish a total of 8 hrs 20 mins with Portugal's Pedro Gomes came in at 8:27 and Canada's Trevor Wurtele at 8:30. The Women Pros were all consolidating at Lake Placid to provide a deeper field.
What is it about racing Whistler?
Is it the pristine volcanic rainforest covered coastal mountain range along side the ocean fjords as viewed from the two-hour Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver? Is it the world class village made spectacular for the 2010 Winter Olympics? Whistler Village is brimming with all manner of shops, facilities, entertainment, restaurants and accommodations that would suit a broad spectrum of visitors. The finish line is timely adjacent to the 5 Ring Olympic monument located front and center with hoards of screaming spectators.
Is it the two-loop 2.4 mile wetsuit legal swim commencing at picturesque Rainbow Beach on the crystal clean waters of Alta Lake? As you start the swim you see the majestic peaks surrounding the lakeside bike transition area.
Is it the unique 112-mile single-loop bike course featuring two out-and-back sections displaying breathtaking snow capped ragged edge peaks? The newly paved road produced only the murmur of the free wheel and the whirling of skinny tires. The last 20 miles, while spectacularly beautiful includes challenging climbs and rolling terrain. As always, it felt good to lose the bike and dawn the sneakers.
Is it the undulating two-loop run course following the Alpine Trails network skirting past the Nordic blue mirrored surfaces of Lost Lake and Green Lake? This cheering spectator friendly course provides a welcome endorphin bump sending athletes across the 226 Kilometer (140.6 mile) line of accomplishment.
Why Whistler? In retrospect, it seems like the "attitude of the latitude." The breathable 2214 ft elevation and 50 degree latitude is perfect combining conditions for athletic exertions in a gorgeous rainbow array of flora at your feet with contracting blues and greens in the background.
The locals and 2000 volunteers were mostly supplied by all parts of the British Commonwealth. We met many from Australia, New Zealand and the UK who took advantage of the working reciprocity agreements. Accents abounding they all have FUN in common. When a bear was found on the run course they quickly arranged a detour along a steep section lined with helpful hands. It appears brown bears are fond of nutrition bars and attracted to tired runners.
Andy Potts' podium address said to have the "spirit to give out energy, to help each other." He cited his 2nd place competitor, Pedro Gomes of informing him of a bad glare on the 2nd turn buoy (remember this buoy?) and recommended he change to tinted goggles. The loud speaker at swim start was asking for spare goggles, wetsuits and various items needed by fellow competitors. All requests were met with plenty of generous offerings.
However, the best feelings and memories for this experience was the attitude, devotion and love from my amazing spouse, Helen and also to my fellow race partner and friend John "Karl" Herzog. Helen ran a half marathon between the swim start to many sites along the run course. Our 40 years of marriage is the only reason I managed to reach my 70th year alive and well.
John had an award winning race improving his standings over Mont-Tremblant. He is known as "Karl" for his astonishing talent of melting away the 4-hour commute to Seattle with a multitude of "A guy walks into a bar" jokes and riddles. He speaks with a perfect impression of Billy Bob Thorton's Slingblade character...Karl. He was our guide, driver, and sherpa. Helen helped us to enjoy this wonderful time. Can't ask for anything more! Oh, getting a Kona slot was cool!