The Whitehorse Dri-Tri may be two-parts running and one-part cycling, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a runner to win it. Just look at Whitehorse’s Jonah Clark.
Despite admitting that he has not run in about a year, Clark, a cycling enthusiast, won the open men’s division at the third annual Dri-Tri on Saturday at Takhini Hot Springs.
“My philosophy is, running is for people without bikes,” said Clark, who won the inaugural Dri-Tri two years ago but could not compete in last year’s because of a broken hand.
“It was a fun course. Luckily the run has lots of uphill, so it’s not bad for a cyclist to run because you use the same muscle groups and you just have to run downhill reasonably fast.”
Clark finished the four-kilometre run, 14-kilometre bike ride and eight-kilometre run in one hour, 33 minutes and 50 seconds, coming into the final leg with a three-and-a-half minute lead over second place finisher Scott Weersink, but only finished 38 seconds ahead.
“I figured I had a big enough gap that I could just run at my own pace,” said Clark. “I looked back a couple times but I didn’t see him.”
Winning the open women’s event with a massive 16-minute lead was accomplished adventure racer Denise McHale, crossing the finish line in 1:41:28. Taking second was Laura Salmon.
“It was an awesome course,” said McHale. “The run has lots of hills and the bike ride’s not too tough—it’s good for all levels.”
McHale and husband Greg, who took third in the open men’s, have competed in ultra marathons and adventure races throughout the world, so starting and finishing an event on the same day was a bit of a foreign experience for the couple.
“This is a short race for us—it’s painful actually,” said Denise. “We prefer to spread our pain over four or five days, generally.”
At the start of August, Denise will be competing in the Canadian Death Race in Grand Cache, Alberta. Toted as “one of the world’s toughest adventure races” on its website, the 125-kilometre Death Race takes participants over three mountain summits and up about 5,181 metres in altitude.
With 40 competitors, numbers were down by over 20 from last year’s Dri-Tri. But organizer Ian Parker has no problem with a small field.
“Last year we had 63 and we never want to do bigger than 50 people,” said Parker. “Because it’s manageable, it’s a tight-knit group; you know everybody’s names and no one is anonymous here.”
The tongue-in-cheek description of the Dri-Tri is that it’s for those who don’t like to swim, but many participants only cycle or run, competing as members of teams.
“A lot of people take advantage of that,” said Parker. “You get runners who don’t want to ride and riders who don’t want to run, so it works out well.
“You have Nancy Thomson, who is a well known and really dedicated runner, and her niece is Kelsey (Kabanak), who is going off to the Canada Summer Games next month (for cycling).”
Running and cycling has always been a good way to work up an appetite, but the local cycling community has been thinking of more than just their own hunger lately. The Dri-Tri was the third event this season that local cyclists used to help raise money and food donations for the Whitehorse Food Bank. The first event was the 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Festival held at the end of June at Mt. McIntyre.
“It’s something that the cycling community has gotten behind this year,” said Parker.
Last week, Parker and Whitehorse’s Bill Slater cycled in the BC Bike Race, a one-week stage-race in areas between Vancouver and Whistler, finishing seventh and raising about $3,000 for the food bank.
“We’re happy with (seventh) but more importantly we’re happy we came through in one piece,” said Parker. “It was technical and grueling, but fun. There were some bad injuries in it.
“They tag it as the ultimate single-track race. It’s not like other races where there’s lots of fire roads.”
The profits from the Dri-Tri—about $100—also were given to the food bank.
1st Denise McHale – 1:41:28
2nd Laura Salmon – 1:57:40
3rd Megan Phillips – 2:12:18
4th Lesley Vandermaas –
1st Jonah Clark – 1:33:50
2nd Scott Weersink – 1:34:28
3rd Greg McHale – 1:36:27
4th Brett Weersink – 1:41:36
5th Doug Mayr – 1:44:34
1st Joyce Kashman – 2:27:10
1st Rob Legare – 1:59:45
2nd Dan Reimer – 2:00:38
1st A Runner and A Roadie
(Derrick Hynes, Sue Bogle) –
1st Generation Gap (Nancy
Thomson, Kelsey Kabanak)
Contact Tom Patrick at