What do Lori Bowden, Peter Reid, Simon Whitfield, Danelle Kabush, Brent McMahon, and Melanie McQuaid all have in common?
If you guessed that they are all amazing triathletes, you would be right. They are also all natives of Victoria, British Columbia, the site of XTERRA Victoria, on July 9th.
Known as the "California of Canada," XTERRA Victoria features a 1500 meter swim in the crisp waters of Durrance Lake, a 24k mountain bike ride on world-class trails, and a challenging 9k run.
"I love this race," said former Olympian and 2015 XTERRA Victoria Champ Brent McMahon. "It's a great community race and it's fun to get out there and hit the trails I play on in the winter."
McMahon admits that the field gets tougher each year.
"This year we have some exciting athletes," said race director, Monique Moore. "You can expect to see top notch performances from defending champs Karsten Madsen and Katie Button as well as challengers Zoe Dawson, Suzie Snyder, Heather Zimchek-Dunn, Kara Lapoint, Debby Sullivan, Morgane Riou, and Ladina Buss."
Dawson is the 2015 XTERRA Victoria Champ, and Snyder is currently ranked first in the XTERRA Pan Am Series Standings. Riou, from France, is also having a great season and finished third at XTERRA Switzerland last weekend.
In last year's race, Madsen was the master over the big rocks, roots, and steep descents.
"Last year, my race plan was pretty simple," he said. "I wanted to swim hard, ride really controlled, and then go hard on the double track. On the run it was the same thing."
His plan paid off, and he finished in 2:10:51, just over two minutes ahead of Paul Tichelaar, who came through in 2:13:19. New Zealand's Kieran McPherson was third in 2:16:02. Also in the top ten were Brent McMahon and 2016 XTERRA Pan Am Champs, Nate Youngs and Lewis Ryan. Carl Cote was 11th.
In the women's chase Button enters as the reigning champ after finishing just over a minute ahead of Dawson in a close race last year.
"I decided to go as hard as I could for as long as I could and I kept waiting for her to catch me," said Button about last year's race. "It wasn't until I got to the last downhill section that I was like, I don't think she's going to catch me. OK. Keep sprinting."
In addition to a world-class race, XTERRA Victoria is a perfect summer getaway.
"It's such a beautiful place that many athletes come early and explore the area," said Moore. "It's a great mid-summer vacation spot."
Tentative Elite Women
2017 Rank – Name, NAT
1 - Suzie Snyder, USA
2 - Kara LaPoint, USA
5 - Morgane Riou, FRA
7 - Annie Bergen, CAN
12 - Maia Ignatz, USA
13 - Katie Button, CAN
20 - Debby Sullivan, USA
NR - Ladina Buss, SUI
NR - Zoe Dawson
NR - Jessie Koltz, USA
NR - Heather Zimchek-Dunn, USA
Tentative Elite Men
2017 Rank – Name, NAT
1 - Branden Rakita, USA
6 - Kieran McPherson, NZL
11 - Karsten Madsen, CAN
20 - Chris Ganter, USA
Watch last year's race highlights on YouTube:
For more information and to register for XTERRA Victoria, visit www.xterravictoria.ca.