Xterra Canmore Race Report
By Katharine Wilson
A Canadian race at it’s finest! Where else does the temperature drop 20deg leading up to race day, there are snowy peaks soaring up on either side of you, the mountain biking is all raw mud roots & rocks, and you have to carry bear spray for the whole race in case you cross paths with a grizzly…? CANMORE, Alberta, Canada.
I had a great week leading up to the Xterra. I was staying with fellow COG racer Brittany Webster in her lovely cabin home in Canmore, and her two fit dogs (Suki the husky and Fawn the energetic mutt) that acted as training partners. It was 33 degrees, sunny, humid and sticky when we pre-rode the course on Thursday. And then that was the last of it. By the time Sunday morning arrived it had been pouring rain for 3 days and plummeted to 5deg. I scrambled together some arm warmers and jacket just in case, and some trail running spikes so I didn’t slip down the muddy bank turns.
The swim was in Quarry Lake in Canmore and it was a chilly one. Nothing my thick speedy wetsuit couldn’t handle though (thanks Nineteen wetsuits!).
After three laps of the small quarry we ran up to transition and there I faced probably my biggest struggle of the race – how to get arm warmers on with freezing hands (there was much left to be improved here…). Nonetheless I was 5th out of the water and I had some girls to catch. It was on to the bike course now and it was a fun one. The course was a mix of steep double track climbs (and I mean steep!), twisty wet roots and muddy technical descents. I had a blast. If there’s anything that living on the north shore has taught me it’s to ride muddy rooty courses with your bike sliding all over the place, feeling not so much in control, but just sit back and trust you’ll come out on the other end. I passed 3 girls on the first descent solely because I was willing to ride it.
I then spent the rest of the course trying to track down the first place woman…. but alas, she was just too fast. I never saw her. But the fact that she’s a pro (Jess Simson) did make me feel better in hindsight. Maybe next year I will track her down! I had a solid race, was very happy with 2nd overall, and I can feel myself improving in all aspects of the sport. But there’s still lots of work to be done.
Thanks to Tri-It Multisport & Rocket Science for the great kit. Not only did it survive through two rough falls on the mountain bike, but all the mud came out perfectly and it looks like new again 🙂 Thanks to Nineteen wetsuits, I’d say that glacier lake was a solid test.
(1st place in my 25-29 age group)
(2nd place woman overall)