Penticton's Jeff Symonds gives the double fist pump as he crosses the finish line in first place at the Barely Mill Bare Bones Duathlon Saturday.

Bare Bones sweep for Penticton athetes

Penticton athletes took first and second in the annual Barley Mill Bare Bones Duathlon.

It was back to the short-distance basics for Penticton winners Jeff Symonds and Jen Annette at the 25th running of the Barley Mill Bare Bones Duathlon Saturday.

“Gross” was the first word out of Annett’s mouth as she crossed the Skaha Lake Park finish line.

In spite being the first female and fifth overall, with her time of one hour 30 minutes 20 seconds, she was hurting.

Jen Annett of Penticton raises her arms in victory at the Barley Mill Bare Bones Duathlon. Mark Brett/Western News

“I’m beat; I’m not a short-distance person and I haven’t been training short distance at all,” said Annett who set a female Ironman bike course record two weeks ago in Texas. “Fast twitch, short twitch, the long-distance pain is much better than the short-distance pain.”

There were 89 number of entrants for the race, which was the B.C. championship event as well a qualifier for the 2019 ITU Multisport World Championship Festival in Pontevedra, Spain.

First place men’s and women’s finishers in each of the divisions earned a berth in the Spanish event, the same one Penticton hosted in 2017.

Of the eight national qualifying races for the ITU, this was the only one in Western Canada.

For Symonds, it was his second win in less than a week, edging out defending champion, West Kelowna teen Brock Hoel, by just 19 seconds at the Kelowna Cherry Blossom Triathlon with a time of 59:38.

Unlike the triathlon, the duathlon starts out with a five-kilometre run followed by a 32-km bike ride and wraps up with another five-kilometre run.

“I think it’s (the duathlon) harder actually,” said Symonds who beat out his other male elite division opponent Jesse Bauer of Edmonton by over three minutes in Saturday’s race. “It’s that run at the start. As a racer, you’re always thinking on the run, just empty the tank to get to the end of it and here the end of it is the start.

Jeff Symonds of Penticton heads into the transition area of the Barley Mill Bare Bones Duathlon Saturday. Symonds lead in all three stages of the race to clich the championship and a qualifying berth next year at the ITU World Championships in Spain. Mark Brett/Western News

“You have to temper yourself, get into the first transition as part of the rest of the day as opposed to just getting there and going too hard.”

Although the shorter events are usually a good tune-up for the rest of the season, according to Symonds, having Bauer in the lineup made for a bit tougher outing.

“You just want to get some of the rust off, and when no one’s around, it’s easier to do everything right and not sweat the small details. But when there’s another athlete like Jesse, they just push you out of your comfort zone,” he said. “He (Bauer) competed for Canada in the world duathlon, and I know he knows how to do these things.

“He started out in a pretty good run tempo and we were both breathing a lot harder than we should have been. But that’s racing, right? Sometimes you pace yourself and sometimes you just gotta go head-to-head and give her hell, and in these small races you can just go and crush yourself and find your limits.”

Symonds had a lead of almost a minute after the first run, finishing in 14:43, and wound up first in both the bike and second run with times of 50:20 and 15:14, respectively.

And even Annett provided some inspiration for her fellow Penticton competitor.

Jesse Bauer of Edmonton hangs up the bike in the transition area before heading out onto the run in the Barley Mill Bare Bones Duathlon Saturday. Bauer was runner up to Jeff Symonds. Mark Brett/Western News

“I mean, she just crushed out the Ironman best time for bike run in Texas, and the guys at the Bike Barn said ‘oh, is Jen going to beat you on the bike?’ I don’t want that to happen, so I was using that as a motivator too, ’cause she’s legit.

“But in a way I was just sort of hoping she would pass me to just to get that credit for her and her coach Jonny’s (Jonathan Caron) hard work.”

It was also Symonds’ first short race since 2012.

Race co-chair Shellie Best of the Penticton Triathlon Club was especially happy with the numbers and feels events like this have a niche in the racing world.

“I think these smaller events are popular because the community comes together,” said Best. “I think everybody just appreciates being able to connect with each other and chat, and it’s not a huge 3,000-person race. And they all get a free lunch at the end, a burger and a beer, and it’s just a lot of fun.”

Rounding out the top three men’s finishers in Saturday’s event was Mark Sherman of Vernon in a time of 1:25:43.

Women’s runner up was Kamloops’s Yvonne Timewell, a former Canada Ultraman record setter who finished 18th overall in 1:40:07.

Vancouver’s Jen Moroz was the third woman across the finish line at 1:43:06.

In the sprint division, there were three competitors. Jenna Olsen was the first woman in 1:15:37 and second was Lisa King, 1:22:39.

Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre was the lone male sprint competitor at 1:27:23.

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