Karsten Madsen executed the 2016 Challenge Penticton Cross Triathlon with next year’s International Triathlon Union World Championship in mind.
“I tried to go as hard as I could go. Tried to simulate as much as what next year is going to be,” said Madsen at the finish line Friday morning. “I think this course really has a lot of different stuff. You can’t be just one style of rider. You have to be fit, you have to be technically strong. You got to keep your wits about you.”
Madsen, who won the XTERRA Victoria (triathlon) in July, never trailed in the Cross Triathlon qualifying race. He completed the 1.5-kilometre swim in 20 minutes, 51 seconds and had nearly a four minute lead starting the bike, completing the 27-km course that went into Three Blind Mice in 1:08:30. He finished the 15-km run in 31:53 for a total time of 2:02:49. American Chris Ganter took second in 2:08:02 and Calgary’s Calvin Zaryski was third in 2:15:17.
Madsen, the 2015 International Triathlon Union Cross Elite National Champion, said he believes he can go against anyone. Madsen said winning was incredible and that this season has been a dream come true. He’s done everything he wanted, placing second in Argentina and Alabama on the Pan Am Tour and winning all his Canadian races in Milto, Ont., Victoria and now Penticton.
“I just want to keep it going,” said Madsen, adding it means a lot to him winning all his Canadian races.
Madsen, whose parents competed in Penticton’s Ironman Canada in 1998 (Ken) and 2008 (Kathy), had high praise for Three Blind Mice.
“All the trails were pretty nuts. It is kind of neat that you do have a few options. You can choose your line,” he said. “It does make for a very interesting day. The trail network you guys have out here is unbelievable. I’m excited to go out tomorrow and explore more.”
WINNIPEG’S BLAKE MACKAY weaves through a trail on Three Blind Mice with company close behind. MacKay finished 15th overall and second in the 25 to 29 age group. David Secor/Penticton Western News
Victoria’s Katie Button won the women’s field, placing 14th overall in 2:28:16. She completed the swim in 24:15, the bike in 1:20:42 and the run in 40:22. Button talked about the need to pace herself as she knew the run would be hard. She also had to contend with Zoe Dawson of Squamish, who she has battled before. Dawson took second in 2:31:46.
“She’s such a strong runner. I always know I’m going to be battling it out with her,” said Button.
Button talked about the run being “super motivating.”
“You can kind of see where everybody is. It’s good motivation to keep the legs turning over,” said Button, whose run was 33 seconds slower than Dawson at 1:20:42 compared to 1:20:09.
Button, who won her first race this year in her hometown in EXTERRA Victoria, was excited about her win, but also for next year.
“I’m super pumped. I just tried to have a really smooth race. It worked out,” she said. “I’m going to be excited to have some confidence going into next year.”
Button also is a big fan of Three Blind Mice, as she likes technical course that are challenging. She said it offers something for every rider.
“There is a climb at the beginning, there is flat pass section and then a couple of technical sections, it’s a great course,” said Button, who was put to the test on the hills. “The run was hardest part. Going out on the KVR. It looks like a long way. It’s just flat. Keep your head down and keep your legs turning over.”
Taking third on the women’s side was North Vancouver’s Katherine Carter. She finished in 2:38:32.
North Vancouver’s Katherine Carter finished third among women in Challenge Penticton’s Cross Triathlon event on Friday morning. David Secor/Penticton Western News
The cross triathlon had 136 participants. Forty-nine were women, 87 men. Only four athletes did not finish. Penticton had nine athletes entered, though one did not do the event. The top local was Kirk Vandeweghe, who finished in 2:30:21, while the top female was Sarah McMillan in 2:53:11.