Being from Owen Sound, which borders on scenic Georgian Bay beside the rugged Niagra escarpment you might say that the Bruce Penninsula Multisport Race would be just the kind of thing I was born to do, and you'd be right! This was my second year participating in the third annual event and I had another super fun and challenging race.
Let's start at my first kick at the can in 2012. I very ambitiously signed up for the 100km course which consisted of a Mtn bike>Run>Kayak>Bike>Run starting at Cabbot Head following the shoreline to finish in Wiarton. I guess I was thinking that my experience with triathlons and not too shabby fitness from skiing would carry over pretty well and I'd just sort of meet whatever minor challenges came up as I raced. Little did I know what mother nature had in store for us that day! As I climbed on to my mountain bike and proceeded to line up for my 6:30 start (Earliest race start ever!), with my backpack full of adventure race supplies, I felt the first trickle of rain. It wasn't long before I was soaked, but things were going pretty smoothly for me after the first transition... until I missed an important turn on the run. Protip: keep your head up and if you think you've missed the trail, go back to the last marker and start fresh! Anyways, not being that smart I ran past a checkpoint and I went straight to the paddle. At this point I was quite excited to be leading the race (or so I thought) but definitely soaked to the core from the rain with some pretty dark clouds rolling in. That's when I realized I had missed a checkpoint but after some careful consideration I decided my honor was at stake and I headed backwards on the trail to check in. This ended up costing me about 12 extra km of really rugged trail running which pretty much took me out of contention for any of the top spots. They would later tell me that while I was doing my extra loop that they had canceled the short course race (25km) and held a few racers up at checkpoints for safety from the weather. Getting very tired at this point but quite satisfied that I had legally reached all the checkpoints so far, I headed out on the second bike section. Here I definitely learned how important eating during these type of races is because I had one of the most profound bonks of my life on this ride. It got so bad that in a frenzy to get some energy I had 4 power gels one after another to try to get myself going. Eventually I did get to the transition and almost fell over taking my bike stuff off, however, to my horror/ relief I could not find the pair of shoes I had left for the final 5km of running to the finish. I'll admit that at this point I gave up pretty easily, I sat down beside an officials tent and quaffed two beef sandwiches and a whole box of doughnuts which I think were supposed to be for the volunteers.... I was really starting to feel much better as I could feel the energy returning to my body when I spied the tell tale edge of my transition backpack underneath someone else's bag! Ah crap, well it looks like I'll be finishing the race after all! And I did.
Here I am crossing the finish line after a pretty challenging race.
Here I am looking rather gaunt but triumphant and feeling hardcore forcompleting the race!
Ok, ok, for some people I can see why that sounds like a little more race than you feel like casually jumping into on a weekend. Well this year I was feeling kind of the same way because I was really looking for something I could easily work into my ski-training plan. I chose do the short course this year (25km tot.) and use what I had learned last year to try and get in the top three spots.
This race started on the water in Wiarton and transitioned into a mountain bike and then a run forming a big loop to return to Wiarton. We felt so lucky to have beautiful weather and morning check-in went really smoothly so you could see that everyone was keen to go as a hundred or so kayaks pulled up to the start buoys. I was lucky to have a pretty quick kevlar sea kayak so I was close to the front at first but even with some really fierce paddling was soon out of site of the racing specific kayaks that other racers had brought.
I was pretty excited for the bike because I have really gotten back into the groove of mountain bike riding as a recovery activity this year and my skills are almost back to what they were from my old racing days. I was pretty happy to catch those speedy paddlers on this section and built myself a solid lead even through some tricky technical sections. I found the trail was really well marked this year and there was an awesome group of volunteers watching the course at important intersections. I made one last fairly good transition and I was on some really fun Bruce Trail single track almost all the way to the finish!
When I arrived there was a great crowd to cheer me to the end with music and someone on the microphone to announce. Even better I could help myself to to some excellent post-race lunch and a free massage! The awards and draw prizes were great this year, and there was a pretty neat kids race set up around the finish which followed the theme of obstacles and achievement which is the biggest part of the sport. Overall I thought that this event was really well organized and quite a lot of fun. You could really tell from the sponsors and the volunteers that the event is going to keep growing bigger every year like it has so far, you can already sign up for 2014, I know I'm going to be there, maybe even take another crack at the 100km! Hopefully we'll see you there!
25km Mens BPMR podium 2013
Kids race competitor having a blast!
Interesting Reading. . .