2017 NATIONAL RACE CALENDAR
Coast-to-coast Canadian Multisport
It is going to be quite a year for the sport here in Canada as we celebrate our 150th year. We’re hosting five different world championships in Penticton in August. We will have not one, but two World Triathlon Series races (Edmonton and Montreal). Our national championship standard- and sprint- distance races return to Ottawa to help celebrate the 150th anniversary. There are six Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events across the country, not to mention a pair of Rev 3 races in Niagara Falls, Ont. and St. Andrews, N.B. So, to help you plan your race season this year, here’s our annual race guide.
Oliver Half Iron
June 4 Located in B.C.’S beautiful southern Okanagan Valley, the Oliver Half Iron offers a stunning course in one of Canada’s most picturesque regions. The race features a swim in the calm Tuc- el-nuit Lake waters in the heart of Oliver, a bike course featuring parts of the famous original Ironman Canada course past local wineries and ends with a run through quiet residential neighbourhoods and along the banks of the Okanagan River. Taking place on June 4th, this is a great early-season race boasting ideal temperatures and providing plenty of time in the rest of the season to tackle an additional long- course race.
The race also offers an Aquabike option which is becoming increasingly popular for athletes who are ready to race but can’t do the run or simply want a shorter, almost-aschallenging race.
Subaru Ironman Canada
July 30 Ironman Canada has been integral to the Ironman brand for well over 30 years. The race, now situated in Whistler, draws athletes from around the world to the rustic Western Canada ski resort. Now offering a 70.3 race alongside the full distance, Ironman Canada has become an even larger race weekend on the Canadian triathlon scene.
Triathletes return to Ironman Canada each year for a course that is as challenging as it is beautiful. After a swim in the shallow waters of Alta Lake that’s traditionally wetsuit-legal, the bike course takes you on an ascent into the Callaghan Valley, then down along the Sea to Sky Highway before returning to the town of Whistler. The run course takes place on a stunning trail passing two local lakes and through the town before leading athletes to a finishing chute by the Olympic plaza.
RACE DISTANCES SP OLY HD FD DU KOS XC OTH
ITU World Triathlon Edmonton
July 28–29 With a deep triathlon history dating back nearly two decades, Edmonton has been welcoming the world’s fastest triathletes to Hawrelak Park for years as a stop on the ITU WTS circuit and also hosted the ITU Grand Final in recent years. The race also offers a wide range of events for age-groupers to choose from, too, making it a destination race for Canadians across the country.
TMC attended last year’s event, which played out as the ultimate triathlon festival weekend with national duathlon sprint championships, aquabike and aquathlon events and the opportunity to qualify for the world champinships – all on the same course that the elites would race on later that weekend. The closed- off course runs through the park and offers a swim in a small and shallow lake, a ride that heads out of the park for a short loop before passing by the grandstands by the finish line, followed by a run that’s spectator-friendly, too. The race offers convenient transportation for athletes to the park from Edmonton’s downtown area. This year the event takes place at the end of July, so the weather should be warmer than previous years when the race weekend has been in September.
Great White North Triathlon
July 2 The organizers of Challenge Penticton and this year’s ITU Multisport World Championships also put on a successful halfdistance race in Stony Plain, Alta. every year. The Great White North (GWN) Triathlon has a long history dating back to 1991, which helps solidify it as one of Canada’s oldest triathlon races and the largest half- distance race in Western Canada.
GWN, which sells out each year, draws upwards of 800 triathletes from all over Alberta and B.C. each year and has hosted some legendary names – such as Heather Fuhr – on its fast course. A swim in the calm Hubble Lake is followed by a bike course along the relatively flat highways in the area. That’s all followed by a run through the town of Stony Plain and its trail system. The event offers the half distance along with Olympic, relay and duathlon events. There are cash prizes for the top three men and women and bonuses for the fastest swim, bike and run performances of the day. The race also offers qualifying spots for the 2018 ITU World Championships.
Toronto Triathlon Festival
July 23 Heading into its sixth year, the Toronto Triathlon Festival (TTF) offers triathletes the unparalleled experience of racing their bikes down two major Toronto highways and running along the city’s beautiful waterfront. The event has attracted the support of Canadian triathlon icon Simon Whitfield and draws an impressive crowd each year thanks to its festival-like atmosphere, unique course and range of distances for athletes of all abilities.
While the Olympic and sprint distance races, as well as the relays, have been staples at the TTF, new this year is a super-sprint relay and draft-legal option – two race formats rising in popularity across the triathlon world. The TTF takes place on July 23, making it the perfect mid- summer A race or a great tune-up race for a late- summer longdistance race.
TTF’S Gold Member Club offered each year is just one of the ways triathletes can get the most out of this iconic Canadian race.
Rev3 Niagara Falls Rev3 Barrelman
Sept. 17 The well- loved Niagara Falls Barrelman has made an exciting partnership with Rev3 this year in a move to attract more triathletes from south of the border to this stunning destination race, the largest independent half- distance race in North America. Barrelman is a target race for many triathletes in Ontario and surrounding region for good reason – it’s extremely well-run, offers a unique point-to-point course with stunning scenery such as views of Niagara Falls and wine country, while the fast and flat course makes it the perfect race to go after a half- distance PB. Another perk for this race is the fast swim course in the calm waters of the Welland Flatwater Centre.
There is plenty to do in the region around the race so it’s a great opportunity to turn the race weekend into a mini family vacation.
Montreal Esprit Triathlon
Sept. 9–10 One of the most spectator-friendly triathlons in Canada, the Montreal Esprit Triathlon gives triathletes the opportunity to ride on the smooth and flat Formula 1 circuit just outside the city’s downtown and target a fast race time on a course that couldn’t offer better conditions for a PB. The race is a staple on the Quebec triathlon scene and draws thousands of athletes from across Canada and around the world each year. The event offers an exciting race weekend for triathletes of all ages and abilities – new this year are try-a-tri, U13 and U15 races. As the host of the Canadian Long Distance Championships this year, Esprit is offering a modest prize purse for the top three men and women for the half-distance race and will offer the standard Olympic, sprint and duathlon distances as well.
As a stop on the Quebec Grand Prix series this year, you can expect some fast elites to show up to the race weekend, too. There’s always some top Canadian talent at this race every year which makes it an even more exciting event for age-groupers.
The race takes place at the Olympic Basin on Ile Notre-dame, just a short metro ride away from the city’s downtown core and is easily accessible by car.
Aug. 20 There’s a certain energy at Ironman Mont-tremblant that has to be experienced to be understood – but it’s what draws sold- out crowds to the French- Canadian ski town summer after summer for one of Ironman’s most successful full- distance races.
The mid-august race date makes Ironman Mont-tremblant many triathletes’ A race and presents varied temperatures from year to year – sometimes making for extremely warm race day conditions. Triathletes will enjoy the swim in the warm waters of Lac Tremblant, the challenging bike course through the low-lying mountains of the region and the run that takes you through the beautiful Tremblant Resort village and down a roaring finishing chute lined with spectators. For Canadian triathletes, this is a true bucket-list race for those interested in tackling the full-distance in a Canadian triathlon mecca. MAY 20, 2017 Coupe du Québec Jeunesse Zéclairs de Nicolet Nicolet DU, OTH leszeclairs.com
MAY 20, 2017 Triathlon/duathlon Valcartier CFB Valcartier SP, DU, OTH gotikk.com/fr/evenement/ triathlon-duathlon-valcartier
The Haywire Heart: How too much exercise can kill you, and what you can do to protect your heart Chris Case, John Mandrola, MD and Lennard Zinn Velopress 2017
When you saw this book title, maybe you thought, “That can’t happen to me, I’m in really good shape.” Well, not to scare you, but denial is a common response from endurance athletes who do, in fact, have heart problems. So, particularly if you are over the age of 40, this could be a life- saving book that tells you how to stay active, but not damage your heart.
The authors emphasize they are not alarmists and all were long- term endurance athletes until two of them developed heart arrhythmias. Discovering there were many other athletes with the same dilemma, they began extensive research to learn why this was happening.
What is a haywire heart? Generally haywire describes something erratic – here that means arrhythmia, a condition of faulty heartbeat timing. Heart muscle cells function through the smooth transmission of electrical signals – like a wave of communication that helps control heart rhythm. Damage to the heart can disrupt this communication process and then it won’t work properly.
Keep in mind this book is not about “normal” exercise levels but “a highly elevated level of exercise that is not only extremely intense but often competitive and is performed for years, if not decades.” There is growing evidence that endurance exercise increases the risk of heart rhythm disorders and that reducing training intensity and/or length often fixes the problem. Damage can occur because of extreme fluctuations between very high and very low heart rates, inflammation, scarring and stretching that frequently take place in the athletic heart.
Detailed case studies explain that having an identity as a high-performance athlete can make it difficult to accept that there might be a problem. Author John Mandrola is a cardiac electrophysiologist who has seen athletes push through severe symptoms of disease.
“It’s remarkable what an athlete can ignore,” he says. “It’s impossible to quantify one’s pain threshold, but heart disease can come on slowly. The stealthy creep of heart disease can blend with stoicism to mask important symptoms. Be mindful of this. It’s real.”
Mike Endicott compromised his health with a very busy lifestyle of work and competitions that suddenly took him out of a ski marathon. Feeling dizzy and drunk, he was hyperventilating and could hardly stand up. Yet the 50-year- old was lying in a snowbank, feeling frustrated about his unexpected change of plans: “I had work to do that afternoon, phone calls to make. It just wasn’t on my list of things to do – to die on the ski trails.” It took months to find a medical treatment that helped and although he resisted for a long time, he finally accepted his situation and adapted a healthier lifestyle.
Heart problems can involve many contributing factors and, overwhelmingly, these authors believe that physical exercise is a positive thing. However, from the perspective of their personal experience and knowledge, they urge athletes to be realistic about the danger of pushing the limits of your heart.— HELEN POWERS