Prepping for the Winterlude Triathlon!

Testing out the long blades

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:

  1. Finish
  2. Have fun
  3. Put up a respectable time
  4. 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!

Travis


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5 Responses to Prepping for the Winterlude Triathlon!

  1. Habitant says:

    Let us all admire the very well displayed Queen’s University jogging pants.

    Oh Travis, what a proud alumnus you have become!

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    • Travis Saunders, MSc, CEP says:

      You haven’t seen my race gear – a Calgary jacket with a Queen’s Tricolour tuque. I shall strive to represent both well against the waves of Gee Gees!

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  2. Matt says:

    Hey Travis,

    I did this race a few years ago. I wish I could take part tomorrow, but sadly school is interfering.

    My strategy was the same for the skate, skiing was my forte and givin’er on the run sounds about right. If memory serves I lost a lot of time in the transitions, but your ski blades should really help you out there! Good luck! Lets all go for ski sometime soon.

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    • Travis Saunders, MSc, CEP says:

      Thanks buddy! We tried to set up a ski a couple weeks back but I think you had visitors. We’re taking this weekend off from skiing, but we’ll be out for 20km or so next weekend, and probably something during the week.

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