Considering the crazy weather we’ve been having….from waves of heat & humidity to what seemed like daily flash t-storms with massive downpours….to have 4 straight days of glorious blue sky weather was an absolute blessing. We – Aimee & I that is – were met in Sudbury by cool mornings ideal for racing, and warm gorgeous afternoons amazing for chilling out at Crowley Lake. With restrictions for gatherings coming off, Race Director John MacDonald jumped in full gas into race director mode and once again skillfully executed an outstanding weekend of racing amid all the Covid restrictions and requirements….amazing! Plus, the weekend raised another $70k+ for the Miles Against Cancer Fund which will go a long way to helping families deal with the medical expenses of a child requiring cancer treatment (which in the north means traveling to Toronto or Ottawa, plus all the expenses associated with travel in order for their child to receive medical care). Congratulations and thank you must go to John and his team of staff and volunteers.
Day 1 | Cross Triathlon (750m swim | 18.4k bike | 7.5k run) — Crowley Lake being a shallower and smaller lake made it a wetsuit optional swim. The air may have been 11 degrees Saturday morning but the water was exquisitely warm and wonderful and without a wave in sight, the swim was fast. Aimee had the fastest swim split amongst the women, and the 6th fastest overall; I – MJ – had the fastest overall swim split giving me over a minute lead heading out of T1 onto the bike. The bike was as technical as you can imagine for outback in the Canadian Shield with a new section that prolonged the downhill from the 3rd climb. It may have been a downhill, but the rocks and roots made it a challenging course to navigate with the occasional set of wood planks over boggy sections adding variety. The second loop took us back up to the ridge (the image of the Muskoka chairs is from the top of that ridge) and back down the technical descent to the crusher dust trails close to T2. The run loop had 80ft of vertical per lap (50m of vertical total for 7.5km) making legs work again after the 280+m of vertical on the bike course. Aimee finished on the podium in 3rd place in her age category, 10th female overall and 40th overall; I took 1st in the 40-49 AC, 4th overall. Unfortunately I was unable to defend the title of King of the Crater; wasn’t a willing handing of the torch to the younger age categories so perhaps a return next year is required. TBD
Day 2 | 21k Trail Run (ended up as 19+km ish) — Instead of wasting a well marked bike course, race director John decided to have us run 2 laps of a modified version of the bike loop that the triathletes took the day before from T1 to T2. Perhaps wise, or perhaps wicked….whatever was the inspiration it turned out wickedly awesome! Ever do a run course with 200m of vertical? If not, then you’ve got to give it a go. The funny thing is, you would think that the uphills would be the punishing part but its the downhills that really do a number, especially the downhills on lap 2. With a 7:45am start where the morning fog was just starting to be broken by the first glimmer of sunshine over the tree tops, the small pack of runners got on their way to another glorious day in Ontario’s north. Aimee finished 2nd female overall and I was happy to hit the finish line 4th in the age category having negative split the laps.
What an amazing weekend of racing. But it wasn’t over just yet. After the awards for the trail run, Race Director John shared that at XTerra Worlds in Hawaii there is another award given out… the “Dirty Double”. Athletes who qualify and compete in both the XTerra Worlds Triathlon and 21k Trail Run have their times combined and a “Dirty Double” winner for both men and women are awarded. To our surprise, Aimee and I were awarded these trophies.
Racing can be fun, super fun; but it starts with training that is healthy, sustainable and not only athlete specific, but athlete appropriate. We hope that our results show that anyone who wants to train in such a manner can go on to post results they never imagined. Who knew there was a “Dirty Double” prize? Put in the right training, and the racing will be just as right. Cheers