At those temperatures I would definitely recommend wearing two swim caps, or even going with a neoprene cap. Gloves and booties aren't really necessary but I wouldn't blame anyone for using them. Ear plugs also help some since that sort of cold water can make you a bit nauseas. Also a must for those temperatures is getting into the water a few minutes before hand and doing a warm up swim to get over the initial shock of the cold. I can almost guarantee you, when you get in the water you'll want to get straight out and put down one of your best swim splits ever.
On another note, the exit to the swim is actually a bit rocky, so anyone who does wear booties gets a bit of a bonus of not worrying about stubbing their toes on a rock.
Pretty strait forward here, you get out of the water, run about 75m up a paved ramp to transition, run down the carpet (its a gravel lot) and grab your bike, and you're gone.
The ride is 2.5 laps around the Minewanka loop for olympians (38km), 1.5 for sprinters (25km), and basically a downhill ride to Banff for super sprinters (12km).
|Down and up and down and up and down|
|Le Maillot a Pois Rouges (Its the mountains!)|
If you're not quite as confident on the bike, I would say don't be intimidated by the bike course, its challenging, sure, but you're all in the same boat. As you can tell from the terrain profile the climbs are actually a bit stepped, so you'll have breaks every few hundred meters during the climb, just sit up when your speed falls below 20km/hr, and get aero when you're above 20km/hr. Any time you're above 50km/hr, just soft pedal and hide from the wind.
The last bit of the ride you'll be coming right down Banff Ave with crowds cheering you on. The town and the volunteers have done a truly exceptional job with this set up. Transition is towards the west end of town and its a fast, straightforward transition.
There is a small chance that when you go out on the run your feet may feel like blocks of ice, I'm not joking, its a really weird sensation. Its not a big deal though, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
The bike was challenging but the run course pretty much follows the banks of the beautiful Bow River and as such is actually fairly flat. For the olympic race its two 5km loops, for sprint and super sprint its just one 5km loop. Lots of race support, lots of supporters, and probably one of the easiest best run courses around.
The finishing chute once again is right down Banff Ave. Give it your all into the finish and smile for the camera!
This is one of the most scenic race courses you'll find in the world. Period. The swim is cold, but racking your bike in T1 and getting ready to swim race morning is one of the most surreal experiences you'll ever have at a race. The bike is technical, but cyclists will love it, and if you have the opportunity to pre-ride the course, you'll probably actually enjoy it when you race. And of course the run, its a quick tour of Banff which is just awesome. This would be a top choice for a vacation race for anyone in Western Canada or the upper-Northwest of the US.
|My coach, Todd Malcolm finishing our relay run|
Also, I'd like to say thanks to my training partner Keith Blundell who busted out some HTFU and did the swim, and our coach Todd Malcolm who crushed the run in 38minutes. We came first in the relay!
Finally, huge congrats to Lennina Pavon Cardoso for finishing your first tri out there, and Lily Sia Lu and Carly Louise DeBoice for kicking ass as per usual at the Banff Tri!