Photo: Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer
Dalton is a man on a mission. The 52-year-old school bus driver and bicycle repairman is in training for Ultraman Canada.
“I think I will be ready,” Dalton pronounced, noting he has been training hard for the three-day triathlon in Penticton, B.C., July 31 to Aug. 2. He leaves July 27.
The race starts with a 10-kilometre swim and a 145-km bike ride the first day. Sound intense? That’s just the start.
“The second day, they say, is the hardest. That’s in the back of your mind,” Dalton admitted.
Day Two consists of a 275-km bike ride from Penticton to Princeton.
The final day of the event puts runners through a double marathon – 84 kilometres.
There are time limits to meet. For instance, swimmers must be out of the water within six hours or they are not allowed to continue.
“I figure I can get it done in four and a half hours,” Dalton said.
They have 12 hours to complete both stages of Day One.
The race is so tough that in the nine-year history of the Penticton Ultraman, only 29 Canadians have crossed the finish line, none from east of Ottawa. Dalton said he hopes to change that statistic.
There are just 40 athletes from eight countries in the race, which is by invitation only.
Dalton has an experienced support team in his corner, Ellis and Susan Anderson from British Columbia. Ellis, 65, won the Hawaiian Ultraman for his age group, 60 to 69, last year. Susan is an ultra-cycling coach and has been on swim crews.
“It depends on who you sit beside on an airplane,” Dalton said in explaining how one thing led to another and now to his first Ultraman.
While flying to his first Boston Marathon in 2006 he sat next to Ellis Anderson.
“He suggested I try an Ironman.”
Check. Dalton’s done that with his daughter, Paulette, in 2008 and 2009, also in Penticton. An Ironman triathlon is less than half the distance of an Ultraman – 3.8-km swim, 180-km bike and full marathon run – but with no breaks in between and must be completed in less than 17 hours. Dalton will have nearly a month to recover before heading back to Penticton for his third Ironman on Aug. 29.
He said he appreciates all the good wishes and sponsorship support he has received during his Ultraman preparations.