SWIM - This is a swimmers course. The lay out is an inverted "V" shaped out-and-back which really eliminates much of the congestion and allows you to get into a groove quickly. There is a lot of room to get started so you can spread out. You start on the one side of the beach, swim out to the buoy, turn around and head back to the other side of the beach. James Chabot Beach hosts the swim. The water was like glass on the day we raced and is usually fairly calm. The water temperature will always be wetsuit legal but it is very comfortable. There were patrol boats and kayakers available but I felt that there could have been a bit more swim support. This was the first time that they had run two race events at the same time so I am sure that they will make the adjustments necessary. The exit to the transition is well marked and there are guides showing you where to go. Swim Course Difficulty Rating = Fast and Easy.
BIKE - The bike course is challenging for both the distances. Both distance follow the same route with the Olympic distance racers having a turn-around at 20k as opposed to 10k for the sprinters. The out-and-back course sticks with the theme of the Rockies...hills. As you come out of transition, you will head up a nice climb into town. The course veers before you get into the downtown and instead takes you up into some residential. Eventually, you will head down Westside Road. There is one cattle-guard that you need to be aware of so if you are an inexperienced rider, then you will need to slow down. Westside Road is a secondary road and there are some rough patches. It is not as bad as it was in the past because many of the potholes have been patched, but it is still a good idea to keep your head up. There are a lot of rollers on this course and the altitude will come into play if you are not a local. This is a beautiful ride though. You will ride along the west side of Lake Windermere and get some incredible views. Once you hit the city limits on the return, it is all downhill. You are going to have to touch up the brakes on the final descent because you can get cooking and you will need to make a 90 degree turn at the bottom. Bike Course Difficulty Rating: Difficult
RUN - The run course for the sprint may be shorter but it is a tough little run. The Olympic racers have their own challenges but they get to avoid "the big nasty". Sprinters will run over the bridge on the way out of town and down along the lake through some lakeside villas. There is a turn-around point and aid station at about 2.5k. Once you begin to head back; however, the run gets interesting. Rather than come back the way you came out, you will detour to the right at the fork in the road. Ahead of you will be a 500m climb that is straight up. Many competitors will be walking this bad boy. Once you summit, it is a straight drop all the way back down to the finish. The Olympic racers hit a few hills on their run that should be noted but they will get a bit of a reprieve on the top plateau before heading back down the hill to the finish. Run Course Difficulty Rating: Sprint = Difficult, Olympic = Moderate to Difficult
There are some competitors that will be whining about the hills but my response to that is simply, "sooo...you got into triathlons because you wanted something easy to do?" I love this course but there will be some naysayers due to the hills and a few of the rough patches on the ride (which are minimal). This course is moderate to difficult. A local legend shattered the Olympic course record last year and only barely broke 2:09:00. If you are looking for a nice challenge in a great little town then check out the Heart of the Rockies. You can even get the kids involved. We will be going back.
- Atmosphere is Kootenay casual
- Beautiful Lake and scenery
- Great swag bag (socks, shirt, gel packs, deal, etc.)
- Kids race
- Multiple distances (relay is available)
- Challenging course
- More security needed for transition area
- More swim support would be nice
BC Race Review reminds you that Hockey Night in Canada can easily be Hockey Bike in Canada.