The 7th stop for the Multisport Canada Triathlon/Duathlon series was in beautiful Wasaga Beach, Ontario. This is a special race for me every year, as it’s a mini vacation for Sam, Fiona and I where we can just unplug. For the entire morning the beachfront will transform into a high energy atmosphere, playing host to nearly 1000 athletes and the Ontario Club Championships. Normally in the past the long course would take place on the Saturday and the Sprint races on the Sunday. For a few understandable reasons, we would all be racing the same day this year, strategically spaced apart from one another. I personally felt that it ran very smoothly. More about that below.
We arrived in Wasaga Beach on Friday at 4pm and after a quick check in to our motel, I jumped on the bike and headed to the race site where we were able to pick up our race kit early, making for one less step to worry about on race morning. That is something I’ve always enjoyed about this race. I can literally wake up, make my way down to the race site and walk right into transition to set up. It was very windy and the waves crashed the beach, much like they had the year prior, but I knew from past experience that it meant there would be a very calm morning ahead. With the race kit pickup out of the way, we stopped for the weekends groceries and had a great meal before calling it a night.
I woke up Saturday morning feeling refreshed and after a coffee and shower I got my race kit on and we packed everything up to make the 4 minute drive down to the beach. I loaded up the car and was freezing my butt off in the 14 degree weather lol. I had noticed the quick weather change the night before, going from a breeze and warm at 4pm to high wind and cool by 6pm, but I didn’t expect it to feel so cool in the morning. I bundled up like I was heading to the Arctic (I don’t do well in the cold) and we jumped in the car.
We arrived to the race site and I made my way straight into transition, set up and made myself available as an ambassador before race start. There were a lot more people than expected and even as I made my way to the start line, you could see the giant crowd of athletes ready to launch. We ended up with 89 athletes racing and 104 registered for the day in the Sprint Duathlon (5k run/20k bike/2.5k run). For those who haven’t raced in Wasaga Beach before, both the Triathlon and the Duathlon start directly on beach drive. The locals, tourists and friends/family, line the beach awaiting the horn blow. For the Duathlon you will head out on a 5km loop down Beach drive, Main Street and then through a residential section before swinging back towards your start. It’s flat, fast and scenic. I had positioned myself at the front of the pack from the start but after the inevitable drop back I hit the 2.5km mark in 30th place and held off all but 2 athletes as we entered into transition. The cold and I don’t get along as I mentioned above and for whatever reason, I constantly need to use the bathroom when I’m freezing lol. Not the most ideal thing to happen as you’re entering transition to head out on the bike. I ran to the porta-potty where a woman had just exited, but as I entered I heard her say “I left my …” I scan the inside and sure enough there it is.. a sports bra, hanging near the door lol. I quickly hang it out the door and then get back to the task at hand. Ok, 1 minute and 30 seconds lost so far, not a huge deal, I can make it up on the bike.
I ran out of transition, towards the mount line and came to a halt. 10 or so athletes facing every possible direction, were trying to mount their bikes. I waited for about 15 seconds until I saw a gap between a few athletes and squeezed my way through. Quick little flying mount and I was off. The bike course is a long out and back consisting of a flat/gradual climb out of Wasaga Beach onto the country roads, followed by a speedy decent/flat return to the racesite. The scenery is beautiful and the roads are smooth. I dropped the hammer on the way out passing what seemed like 50-60 athletes (8 duathletes that I could see) as I muttered out “on your left” more times than I can count. Just as I made it to about a km from the turnaround, I heard a loud gunshot sound and my rear wheel bounced off the ground. I could hear a faint “pssss” as my tire rolled down the road. I had a puncture. I pulled over to the side of the road, dealt with the issue and rode scared for the entire 11 kms back to the race site, somehow managing to pass another 3 duathletes on the return. I ran into T2 in 21st overall with the 6th fastest bike split of the race and was running out of steam quickly, having just come off my fastest race to date the week before in Toronto Island.
I ran out of T2, onto Beach drive and my legs felt like concrete blocks. I had let the 3 and a half minutes that I had lost get to me on the bike return and I had pushed way harder than I should have, trying to make it up. I managed to hold off every one but a single athlete as we hit the last 300m straightaway. As I came up to the finish, my wife and daughter were standing on the side of the chute cheering me on. For that last 10 seconds I thought about nothing but the smiles on their faces, the sacrifices they have made for me to pursue my dreams and how proud they are of me, race after race. I rolled through the finish line, got my token John Salt handshake and had finished 22nd overall out of 89 athletes. I had secured a 3rd place podium finish in the 30-39 age group and it was my 3rd podium finish of the year so far.
The awards, food and vendor tents are located right next to the finish, at the base of transition. As we awaited all of the other finishers, I jumped in to help at each one of my supporters tents. Kyle from Skechers Performance, Rob and Jessica from BLADE Carbon Wheels and Ryan and Brittany from F2C Nutrition were all busy greeting patrons. The spacing between races kept a constant flow of people coming in, without crowding the area all at once. After the Sprint awards, there was even a nice break in between giving everyone a chance to eat, restock and prepare for the second group of races to come to an end. I had been a volunteer the last two years, for the long course races and when I initially heard the events had been compressed into a single day, I imagined the complications that could arise. The entire group of volunteers and team at Multisport Canada successfully produced a flawless race experience in my opinion. Double the athletes on a day that ran twice as long as normal. Thank you for a great day!
I might not have hit my goal to beat, but I gave it my all and pushed through a few of the mental hurdles we can all face in the heat of a race. It was a successful day and I feel great going into the last training weeks before our last race of the series in Lakeside and my final Duathlon/ long course debut at the Niagara Falls Rev 3 Barrelman Bike/Run (90km Bike/ 21.1km Run) on Sept. 17th.