Cultus Lake Triathlon is another Outback Events race. They are noted for hosting triathlons like the Desert Half in Osooyos and the Sylvain Lake Half. Cultus Lake Triathlon; however, is geared more towards novice to intermediate competitors. It has found a niche as a late season race. So far it has run on the weekend following Labour Day. It offers a sprint and Olympic distance course selection at Cultus Lake (which is near Chilliwack). The coordinators are committed to providing an event that will not intimidate newbies while offering a nice little challenge to the intermediate competitors. Although this is not likely to draw a hugely competitive field, there are still some athletes that will be there burning up the course. Here is a run down of the 2011 course:
SWIM - The water at Cultus Lake is beautiful and clear. It was also so warm that a wetsuit was not necessary, but the coordinators were committed to finding a way to ensure that wetsuits would be legal. The lake itself is not very big and it is nestled in neatly by the mountains. Due to the location of the course, it is unlikely that there will be a lot of rough water. On the day of my race, the water was glass. There is a water start for this race which is good because this is a rocky lake! The course has a unique swim pattern that brings the pier into play so that spectators can cheer on the racers. In all, there are 3 sharp turns for the sprinters and 7 for the Olympic racers (2 loops). There was some discussion from the athletes that the course may be a bit long but it could also be the layout and number of pivots. The exit was the most difficult part of the race. Be careful because the bottom is rocky. Once out of the water, there is a short 150 meter climb up a hill into the transition area.
BIKE - If you are looking for PR on the bike then this is your course. This out n' back is pretty much pancake flat; however, it doesn't start or end that way. You have a medium climb out of Cultus Lake followed by a quick descent. You will have to touch up the brakes as you have a 90 degree left hand turn at the bottom of the hill. Once you're past this, time to crank! The course takes you through a couple of small communities and into farmland. At one point, you will ride adjacent to the Trans Canada Highway. You might have to deal with some cross winds but other than that you should be screaming. On the way back, you will have to hit the one nasty hill near the end but it pays you back with a nice descent back into the transition for the run. This course is fast!
RUN - The run course is a nice combination of groomed trail and road. It is a 5k loop course and starts off on compact trail that runs along side the lake. There was some issues surrounding the distance of run course in the past but the race directors assured us that it had been corrected. Judging by my time, it seemed accurate. You follow this for about 2-2.5 km until you hit a turn-around point. On the way back you are re-routed up a long hill. It is not overly steep but you'll be happy when it's over. After looping through some residential, you end your run on a long flat stretch through some villas near the water. Everyone is out on their decks cheering you on and spraying you down. Olympic racers have a turn off point near the end to begin their second loop. This course would be considered moderate difficulty.
- Good atmosphere (coordinators were good, only about 250 competitors so not too big)
- Late season date
- Beautiful setting (Cultus Lake has camping or you can find a place in Chilliwack)
- Secure transition area (ID bands were checked)
- Lots of porta-potties in the Transition area and full washroom facilities were available nearby
- Timing chips
- Lunch is provided
- Rocky lake bottom...OUCH!
- Swag bag was weak (T-shirt was U-G-L-Y)
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