A recent bout of pneumonia will prevent Heidi Hyokki from competing in the Ski2Sea Race for the 10th consecutive year.
But it won’t keep the Kelowna woman away from her teammates when the annual six-stage race is held Sunday, April 15 from Big White to the shores of Okanagan Lake in City Park.
Hyokki, who traditionally competes in the canoe leg of the race, will instead serve as coach for her Interior Savings team of Pushin’ It For The Paddlers.
“I just don’t have the stamina to do it this year and it’s very disappointing,” said Hyokki. “I always look forward to it, it’s such a great event. I wouldn’t miss it for anything, so that’s why I’m coaching. It’s going to be a very different perspective for me, but I know it’s still going to be a lot of fun.”
Pushin’ it 4 the Paddlers is one of two teams from Interior Savings that will compete in the Ski2Sea’s Corporate division this year.
The best ever finish by an Interior Savings team is second place, but Hyokki says there’s a lot more meaning to the race than just the final result.
“For us, we really just all want to get there in one piece and finish the race,” she said. “We’ve really bonded well as a team over the years, it’s almost all the same people we started with, and that’s such a big part of this event for us.
“The Okanagan is so beautiful, too, it’s ideal for this kind of race,” she added. “To be able to ski and canoe in the same day, really says something about the incredible place we live in.”
The six-stage race from the slopes of Big White to the shores at City Park in Kelowna covers 95 kilometres.
The alpine skiing leg opens the event, followed by nordic skiing, mountain biking, road cycling, running and finally canoeing/kayaking.
Online registration for the Ski2Sea Race is available at ski2sea.ca.
Organizers are looking for more volunteers to help out on race day, including a couple of operators and/or boats for the safety aspect of the canoe/kayak leg.
The race committee is also looking for a title sponsor for the 2012 event.
For all inquiries regarding the race, visit the Ski2Sea web site.