So presumably, you’ve heard the news. Ironman Canada is moving to Whistler in 2013. This is pretty exciting news for a tri-nerd like myself. No, I won’t be signing up. But I’ll be involved in some way and will be following developments closely (and by closely I mean I’ll be following my favourite pros twitter feeds to see if they are coming and hoping the Ministry paves the road between Whistler and Pemberton).
Liz has written a very good account of what race day is going to be like and if you’re racing, I highly suggest you read it. Preparation is key!
Most of the people signing up seem to know quite a lot about Whistler (based on the forum chit-chat I read). Some are knowledgeable, some are grossly and amusingly misinformed (for example, the dude who thought a swim in Green Lake in October would be awesome!) However, no one seems to mention Pemberton all that much so consider this my open invitation to come to my little town and create your own training base!
Pemberton is small, fun, active and family-friendly. It’s a great place to live and train – trust me, since I do both here… If you come to town to train, look me up, maybe I’ll even invite you to a CITS run!
Herewith, some suggestions…
1. The swim.
Despite years of asking for one, Pemberton doesn’t have a community pool. If you are coming to our part of the world between October – June, you’ll be swimming in the 25m pool at Meadow Park. It’s a decent facility (with a hot tub and steam room) but stick to swimming during “swimmer’s hours”… that is 6am – 9am. Otherwise, you’ll encounter hordes of screaming kids and are liable to get landed on by an overzealous rookie on the rope swing. Plus, there are only 2 lanes open during non-lane swim times, so you’ll be battling for space with the head-up breastroker and the one length, board-short wearing sprinter.
If you come from June onwards, the open water swim possibilities open right up. Alta Lake is where IMC will be held, so best to train there. Like Liz said, watch those boats! They are pretty pointing and they go backwards. Lost lake is a great option with the added bonus of a nudie dock (if you’re into that sort of thing). But let’s not forget Pemberton! Mosquito lake is small but clear and beautiful. It just takes a little work to get to… 1 Mile is an ok option, if you don’t mind getting your face caressed by weeds, which I kind of do. Last but not least, Gates Lake in Birken is absolutely worth the drive north. Clear, quiet and big.
Oh – and you’re kidding yourself if you think wetsuits won’t be required at this race!
2. The bike
Perhaps I’m in the minority but I think this course is tougher than Challenge Penticton. It may not have Richter Pass, the 7 Bitches, and Yellow Lake, but the ride back to Whistler at the end of 180K is not to be underestimated, nor is the long out and back in the Pemberton Meadows. It’s pretty much guaranteed that the wind is going to be picking up just in time for the AG’ers to make the turn and that’s when the real drafting, er, I mean work will begin.
If you are coming up here to train, don’t limit yourself to the course. There’s some fabulous riding to be had around here. Riding from Pemberton to D’arcy is a gorgeous and tough training ride. Bring your $5 and treat yourself to a cold Coke at the D’arcy General Store before you start the ride back up to Pemberton. Challenge yourself -as we do every year – to ride from Lillooet Lake to Joffre Lakes sans timing device and see how close you can get to your estimated ride time up the 13KMs of switchbacks and climbing. Ride the Classic “Tour de Train” – ride from Pemberton to Lilloet, take the train back to D’arcy then ride back to Pemberton.
Of course there are lots of hills and rides to be had in and around Whistler. Join the Whistler Tri Club on Wednesday mornings… they’ll welcome you up Cardiac and Kadenwood. Fun times at 6:30am, I swear.
The thing with riding around here that everyone – triathletes, roadies and drivers – needs to remember is that the roads are going to be pretty crowded next summer. Everyone’s going to have to play nice.
I know tri-nerds are loathe to risk injury in the months leading up to their “A” race, but trust me when I say that the mountain biking around Pembi makes it worth the effort. And that’s saying something when it comes from a chicken like me.
3. The run.
The course description makes it sound pretty flat, but there’s a few kick-your-ass deceivers in there. By all means, train on the course. Run the Whistler Half Marathon course.
But Pemberton has some great trails to train on and miles of roads (here’s where that out and back on the Meadows comes in handy… have someone drop you off at the turn around and you can run back to town. It’s not super exciting but it’s scenic and dead flat – what better way to practice leg turnover!) While it’s true that most of the running in Pemberton tends to out-and-back style, we local girls have managed to string together some pretty long loops over the years. Look us up and we’ll let you in on our secrets…
A tried and true and tough long run? Go from Pemberton to Whistler. It’s not very exciting but it sure as hell gets the job done.
We triathletes are known to eat and eat well (and often). How much do I love finishing a long run or ride knowing that I get to end the day at Mile One Eating House? A whole lot. You won’t find a better burger and micro brew combo! I’m sure they have some veggie options, I’m just not that interested in what they might be.
We happen to play host to 2 fantastic coffee shops, too… Blackbird Bakery and Mount Currie Coffee Co… Try both, you’ll wind up with your own favourite.
For such a small town, we can boast about having 2 grocery stores, a natural foods/supplement place, a couple of yoga studios, a gym, a physio clinic, the world’s best masseuse but if I told you who that was I’d have to kill you because he’s already busy enough, a totally weird General Store and last but not least, 3 gas stations.
See? Doesn’t it make you want to come and play?