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Sunday marks a big day of racing with two popular Ironman events—Ironman Canada and Ironman Lake Placid. The first pro Ironman World Championship slots (40 men and 28 women) will be handed out on Monday, so many are working to secure some last-minute points toward early qualification.
After a storied history of competition in Penticton, as of last year Ironman Canada now takes place in Whistler, the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics and a popular tourist destination. The two-lap swim takes place in Alta Lake at Rainbow park and is followed by a lakeside transition. The two-lap bike course follows the Sea-to-Sky highway and climbs past the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics in the Callaghan Valley. A flat section follows the valley descent and athletes will enjoy the scenic views before heading back for the second lap. The run is two laps as well and Whistler Village serves as a hot spot spectators. Athletes will cross the finish line in the Whistler Olympic Plaza.
The current water temperature in Alta Lake is 68 degrees and the weather is expected to shift from showers on Friday to sunny and 81 degrees on race day.
Canadian pros Trevor Wurtele, Stephen Kilshaw, Anthony Toth and Jeff Symonds will enjoy home course advantage in the men’s field, and Karen Thibodeau and Christine Fletcher will represent the Canadian women. Belguim’s Marino Vanhoenacker, and USA’s Matt Russell and Matt Lieto are all considered podium contenders. USA’s Jackie Arendt and Bree Wee, and New Zealand’s Anna Cleaver look to grab Kona points in the women’s field as well.
Ironman Lake Placid
Another location with an Olympic heritage, Ironman Lake Placid takes place in Lake Placid, NY and features a course set in the scenic Adirondack mountains. The two-lap swim begins in Mirror Lake where athletes follow the submerged sight line in the crystal clear water. The transition is located in the Olympic Speed Skating Oval and athletes will then complete two laps through the Adirondack mountains on the bike. The bike course is one of the most demanding of all Ironman courses—it features a 11-mile climb over “the notch” before heading back to transition. The two-loop run course circles through the city a total of four times and athletes will be able to see the Olympic ski jumps and run along the shores of Mirror Lake.
Athletes can expect weather in the low 70s, with a 60% chance of rain and scattered thunderstorms.
Two new champions will emerge this Sunday in the pro field. After winning back to back in 2012 and 2013, Andy Potts (USA) has already solidified his Kona spot and will be competing at 70.3 Calgary this year. American Jennie Hansen is also not returning to defend her 2013 title. Hungray’s Balazs Csoke, Porugal’s Pedro Gomes and Austraila’s Joshua Rix are among the top contenders in the men’s pro field looking for Kona points and the Ironman Lake Placid title. The women’s pro field is entirely composed of American athletes— with Amanda Stevens, Lisa Roberts, Kim Schwabenbauer and Amber Ferreira competing for top honors.