Canadian triathlete Jeff Symonds will be competing on home turf this weekend in a bid to claim the title at the Valley First Challenge Penticton.
The Penticton native finished in 8:29:57 last year to take first place and will be looking to repeat the performance. He says he’s ready for the challenge on Sunday:
“I had a great race at Ironman Whistler four weeks ago, so my preparation for Challenge Penticton focused on recovery and staying sharp. I emphasized my physical recovery but reducing my training load and doing a lot of work with my Physiotherapist Sean Campbell. Even more important was my mental recovery. I took a couple of weeks to really relax and refresh.”
For some sportsmen a home match means extra pressure, but not for Symonds, who says he can’t wait to soak up the atmosphere:
“The best thing about coming home is the people. It great to catch up with all my friends and supporters. Something about the town and the people gives me a huge confidence boost! The town really gets behind the event and ensures every athlete has a special experience.”
Huge crowds will gather for the race weekend, which includes junior events, parties, yoga and even a farmers’ market. Symonds has a few tips for visitors to the area:
“You gotta go to the Bike Barn! It’s a great laid back shop built in an old Barn and houses tons of great stuff. Take advantage of the beautiful lakes if you can. When I was young I used to spend a lot of time water skiing, but maybe best to save that for after the race. The beaches are great and the hiking here is good. The ride out to Naramata offers some stunning views of wineries over lakes. And check out The Mule nightclub if you are looking for “Love”.”
Hot on Symond’s trail over the course will be Scott Defilippis (United States) and Adam O’Meara (Canada) who both finished in the top five during the 2013 race. Jenn Annett (Canada), Carrie Lester (Australia), Karen Thibodeau (Canada) and Jennifer Luebke (United States) are tipped to lead the women’s field.
The main race begins at 6:30am on 24th August 2014 on Okanagan Beach, Penticton, BC, Canada.