On July 9th I competed in the Muskoka 70.3 for the second time. Due to construction on the highway around Deerhurst Resort the organizers had to move the race venue to the Canada Summit Centre, which is located steps away from Downtown Huntsville. This lead to a new swim course, modified bike course, and completely new run course, all of which were great changes in my opinion. The new race venue was the main reason that I decided to go back and tackle “The Beast.”
Registration: The registration process is done really well at this event. They have a wide range of times for registration and to then rack your bike. The numerous volunteers make it an easy, relaxed process of the event.
Swim: The swim start is approximately 500 metres away from the transition along a gravel pathway, so make sure you bring shoes to put in your morning bag, which are brought back to you for the end of the race. The first part of the swim is great, as it is with the current flowing out of the mouth of the river and into Fairy lake. You complete two left hand turns and then head back towards the mouth of the river. Once you reach the river it is a straight shot to the swim exit course. You don’t realize that the current is strong until you make your way across the current to the exit and then your feel that it is a constant push. The current would not deter me from doing the race again.
Bike: The run up from the swim is about 50 – 250 metres depending on where your bike is racked in the transition. Once you mount your bike, you are immediately faced with a large hill. I passed a few people that were not in the correct gear when they mounted the bike and had to walk it up the hill. The bike course modifications did not make that much of a difference as much of the same course is still travelled. The ride along Lake of Bays has some long and large hills that seem daunting, but going through the towns of Dwight, Dorset, and Baysville gives you the motivation you need. On the course there are three support/bottle exchange stations, and they are spread out very well. Once you pass the last bottle exchange the course travels along Brunel Rd and it’s constant rolling hills to the dismount line. That is exactly what the legs wanted after 75 kilometres.
Run:. The run course changes made the entire race for me. The run starts with a small, gentle incline out of the transition are onto Main Street in Downtown Huntsville. Then it is a two loop run, with a few hills and a lot of flats, which is rare for the Muskoka Region. Main Street was lined with spectators, some who were there to cheer on their family and friends, and others that were there to take in the event. If you had a cheering squad with you they are able to see you leave the run transition, then make it to Main St to see you three times before they headed back to the finish line. The support along the course was well executed and had numerous volunteers to make it a simple part of the race.
The race was a great day, and there were at least four other Team Running Free members out there. I recommend this as a challenging and local half iron distance triathlon, that gives the family something to do during the bike portion of the race.