As some of my Twitter friends may know, I’ve been doing a lot of skating and cross country skiing this year. Mostly it’s because my girlfriend Daun and I like skiing and skating, but it’s also because tomorrow morning I am taking part in Ottawa’s annual Winterlude Triathlon. The race consists of an 8km skate, a 5km ski, and a 5km run, all on and around the Rideau Canal, which also happens to be the world’s longest skating rink (8km in total). I am very excited!
This is my second winter in Ottawa, and I really wanted to be able to take part in the race at least once while I’m here – could there be anything more Canadian than a winter triathlon, especially one that involves skating on the largest outdoor rink in the world? Daun and I even purchased “long-blades”, which attach to our cross country ski boots, and basically turn them into speedskating clap-skates. We’re still adjusting to the new type of skate (we’re both used to hockey skates) but they’re a lot faster than hockey skates, so hopefully it will pay off on race day!
The Race Plan
As always, I have a few goals for this race:
- Have fun
- Put up a respectable time
- Enjoy a post-race Beaver Tail (it’s not what you think) and Bacon Bunner (it’s exactly what you think)
The top finishers of last year’s race averaged about 2 minutes per kilometer in the skate, roughly 2:30 per kilometer in the ski, and just under 4 minutes per km in the run. That’s pretty impressive, especially the skate and ski portions! And the run is also on ice, so that’s a pretty solid pace as well considering how bad the footing is.
I’ve only worn the long blades 3 times (during my last foray I was able to average 3 minutes/km for 12km, but I’m not sure my technique will allow me to go much faster even if I want to), and I’m a pretty awful skier. And running, which should be my forte, is also a big question mark, since I haven’t done an actual workout (as opposed to an easy run) in more than a year. So with all those caveats, here is my plan:
Skate – go out hard enough to keep the leaders in view, if possible
Ski – go full out, since I’ll be really slow if I don’t
Run – just giv’er
I should add that I’m fully expecting that this plan will have to be thrown out mid-race in favour of Plan B, which is basically slowing down as much as I need to in order to finish and just enjoying the weather (they’re calling for a beautiful day). I’ll give a quick recap on Monday on how it goes. And if anyone has any experience with Winter triathlons, tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!