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Long Lake Triathlon!
By:  Holly Jones   (2013/08/11)

This past weekend I borrowed a wet suit, a mountain bike, and a few Clif Shot Blocks (mmmm, rasberry) and headed out to Long Lake in Whitehorse for the annual Long Lake Triathlon. The event begins with a dive into Long Lake for a 1000 m swim, then transitions to a 15.5 km mountain bike along "not technical" trails, and then finishes with two loops of a 3k trail for a 6k run. It's a very fun and low-key race -- the triathlons I've done in the past have had over 200 competitors, wave starts, and huge, intricate transition zones. There was definitely none of that at Long Lake, but that's not to say it's a walk in the park. In fact, it's incredibly challenging, and I found that racing in the tree rooted, single track trails was notably more demanding than the smooth pavement of regular triathlons. And to be honest, it was really nice not having other racers grab your toes during the swim, or ride your tail down the hills in the bike!

Jim Hawkings, dad of XC Ottawa alumnus Lee Hawkings teamed up with work colleagues to complete the tri. Jim shredded the 15.5k ride, which obviously goes to show that frequent mountain biking with an enthusiastic dog is fantastic training.

The field, getting a pre-race talk by the organizer, who was also a participant! It was a great local event attended by members of many different sport communities -- everyone from orienteering families to swim team members raced.

I watched XC Ottawa alumni Logan Potter and Nansen Murray race this event last year and was amazed at how they handled the water, which I thought was deathly cold. This year, I was ready for a dip (partly due to the warm weather, partly due to my borrowed wetsuit)!

A little light-headed, but very light-hearted as I came out of the water and into the "transition zone". Plus side to a less organized area -- no one jostling or accidentally stealing your socks!

Ready in my Rudy Project helmet and sunglasses! Headed out to the crazy single track trails, named things like "Hula Girl" and "Boogaloo".

Jim and teammate Wendy doing the exchange!

I was really challenged by the mountain bike. Having to mentally focus on the terrain and making some super tight corners and berms, while being physically exhausted from the 1km swim was a real struggle for me. I was obviously not alone. The athlete riding this "bike" crashed, got back up and went on, then had his frame snap while on a flat section! Ouch!

A swim was necessary after the hilly 6k run along the ridge-tops beside the lake. I even forwent the wetsuit!

Apres race activities included wolfing down delicious burgers and salads. Yukon Brewery Beers were the "medals" at the end of this race! They had specialized labels and gold, silver or bronze "crowns" -- a welcome treat. Jim's team raced to gold in the Masters Mixed Team event, and I won the Open Women's Individual category!

Overall, it was a great day and I felt thoroughly fulfilled by the intensity of the race. In other words, I dozed off as soon as I got into the back seat of the car...
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