Eastlink Desert Half Iron. Osoyoos, B.C.September 12, 2012By -SS
Osoyoos, British Columbia
Canada’s only semi-arid region is located in southern British Columbia. With daily temperatures averaging 30 degrees Celsius for the month of July, you are virtually guaranteed some hot conditions while taking on the challenging course for the Eastlink Desert Half, making it one of the most challenging races in the country.
The Osoyoos district is famous for bountiful fruit orchards that produce grapes, cherries, apricots, peaches, plums and apples. Recently some of the orchards in the area have been converted to vineyards due to the ideal growing conditions the region enjoys. The area is now considered a major wine-producing region.
Osoyoos has proudly hosted the Eastlink Desert Half for eight years. The town is flanked to the east by the switchbacks on the Crowsnest Highway heading towards Anarchist Mountain. To the east, the town is framed by Richter Pass with the border to the United States located just four km south.
Athletes complete a two-loop, 2 km triangle-shaped swim in Osoyoos Lake, which is believed to be one of the warmest lakes in the country.
The 90 km bike course heads immediately west and up the famed 11 km climb up Richter Pass. After the thrilling downhill on the backside of the pass, there are another arduous seven rolling hills to contend with before the course levels out. After the turnaround in Cawston athletes have to deal with a much tougher return journey to Osoyoos. (For those who have been around long enough, the return route retraces much of the original out-and-back bike course used for Ironman Canada in the 1980’s.
The two-loop run course starts from the transition at Legion Beach. Running predominately along the shores of Osoyoos Lake, athletes are treated to spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding terrain that is dotted with orchards, farmland and grasslands.
Ironman Canada Qualifier
The early July race has served as the Canadian Long Course Championship on two occasions and has been an Ironman Canada qualifier for eight years. Previous winners of this prestigious race include Tom Evans, Janelle Morrison, Matt Seely, Lucy Smith, Cynthia Wilson, Jonathan Caron and Heather Wurtele.