Wasa Lake is typically one of the warmest lakes in the Kootenays. That is why this location is selected as the first race in the area of the season. However, this is still the mountains and if the spring weather has been late to arrive, the water can still be frigid. Wasa is a smaller lake which helps keep the waters relatively calm in comparison should the wind pick up. The swim course is set up in a standard 750 meter triangle formation. The offer 2 wave starts; one for the sprint and one for the Olympic distance racers. This does help ease the congestion but it will still be a bit of a washing machine for the newer competitors. Athletes exit the water onto a mat and into transition. A nice touch for this race is that they had wet-suit strippers available. This was important this year as hands were pretty cold and not always functional immediately after coming out of the water. Kayakers and boats were present to insure that swimmers were safe.
The Wasa Tri is renowned for being fast. The community is located in an extremely flat section of the Columbia Valley. Recent changes to the bike course have added some small rollers but the course is still very quick. Moreover, the section that the bike course was on is freshly paved and provided a smooth and comfortable ride for the competitors. The course is open to traffic as you will be riding on highway but plenty of volunteers lined the course to direct traffic and the newly paved road provides a nice shoulder for riding.
The run is a combination of small paths and trails but it is pancake flat and super-fast. The run course is mostly the same for both the sprinters and Olympic distance athletes (Olympic racers run past the Sprinters turn-around point and head for their own). Aid stations are set up and the course is well marked and occupied with volunteers.
This race has been going on for a long time and the organizers know what they are doing. Besides, they must be doing something right to get this kind of turn-out for an early season event. This event also serves as one of the Provincial Race Series races so valuable points are up for grabs. The transition area was one issue that received some complaints. There was no assigned spots and some felt that in a race of this size that assigned transition spots would be nice. This is a chip timed event and the TriBC officials are on site to insure that rules are being followed. There was plenty of sponsorship for this event and the participants commented on the great prizes and buffet. Cash prizes are awarded for Sprint and Olympic winners for men and women. The organizers did keep everything moving and kept a solid schedule. Here are a couple of comments from an athlete who participated:
"Great set ups, food after for athletes was well set up with several buffet lines so you moved through quickly and lots of fresh fruit for snacking right after you were done."
"Closing ceremonies started right on time as did everything, loads of door prizes that you had to be there to win including a complete running out fit, 8 pairs of shoes and a wet suit. If you weren't there they just tossed them to the crowd so lots of fun."
"Kicking Horse Coffee wagon was there both days and on Saturday it was a real hit serving loads of coffee and hot chocolate to the freezing parents and kids." - Joanne K. 60-64 Age Cat.
WHO IS THIS RACE GOOD FOR?
This race will service a lot of needs. If you are a speed demon and looking for a PR; this course gives you a shot. If you are a newby or looking to challenge your first Olympic, then this event provides a friendly course to get you through the day. If you want to do a race but you are dragging three kids with you, then this event provides something for you too. The KOS event has become a major draw and now has nearly as many participants as the adult races. NOTE: Sign up early for this event as it sells out quickly.