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5 things to know for this weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Muskoka

Lionel Sanders, winner of 2015 Ironman 70.3 Muskoka
Lionel Sanders, winner of 2015 Ironman 70.3 Muskoka

Ironman 70.3 Muskoka is a classic Canadian race attracting large numbers of triathletes from eastern North America as well as across the country and beyond each year. Located in the beautiful Muskoka cottage country — a recreational hub for families and outdoor enthusiasts — it’s the perfect place to plan a summer getaway around the race weekend. The race is one of the toughest on the North American circuit, featuring endless hills in the hot summer heat. For those taking on the challenging but scenic course on Sunday, here’s five things to know about the race.

1) Forecast is predicting rain

Ironman puts out a weather forecast the week before their races. According to this week’s forecast, it’s expected to be 20C and slightly cloudy on race day, meaning it won’t be a hot suffer-fest like Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant was a few weekends ago. Though it looks like there won’t be any blazing sun, it’s still important to come prepared with sunscreen and the right hydration. There’s also a chance of rain, though no thunder storms predicted right now.

It’s also expected to rain on Saturday, with a chance of thunderstorms, so if you’re heading out for a final taper ride be careful on the roads.

2) You’ll need your wetsuit

Though you can expect nearly perfect weather on the bike and run, be prepared for a cool swim. The water temperature is expected to be between 19 and 22C so it will be wetsuit-legal.

The one-loop swim course takes place at Camp Kitchen Beach beside the Canada Summit Centre.

3) There’s no pro field

This race has been around since 2008 and hosted legends such as Craig Alexander and Mirinda Carfrae, who loved it for it’s “naturally tough” course. For the first time ever, there’s no pro field at Ironman 70.3 Muskoka, so it will be an age-group male and female who cross the finish line first. There are 50 70.3 world championship spots up for grabs

There’s also a duathlon and relay option, so we’ll likely see some blazing fast times clocked by single-sport superstars.

On top of the age-group-only field, Ironman 70.3 Muskoka also hosts the Regional Ironman TriClub Championships this year. Athletes who are members of a registered tri club or team will earn points towards the Ironman TriClub podium award. According to the bib list, we’ll see lots of participants from big Canadian tri clubs such as Toronto Triathlon Club, C3 Canadian Cross Training Club (Ontario), Les Chickens (Quebec) and Team LPC (Ontario).

4) There’s quality race day support

If you need a last minute bike support, Ironman 70.3 Muskoka has top-quality race-day support for it’s athletes. Toronto-based D’Ornella’s is the official bike shop and will offer pre-race servicing such as gear and brake adjustments, inspection and help with assembling/dissembling bikes that have been flown in. They will also offer support in transition and on-course so if you have an emergency, you’re covered and can get on with your race.

The race has great on-course nutrition provided by Clif Bar, Gatorade and RedBull. It’s important to remember packing the hydration and nutrition products you’re used to and have tried already in training.

Transition was already getting full by noon.

5) There are plenty of options for friends, family and spectators

If you’re bringing the family along for your race, there’s plenty to keep them entertained while you’re in race mode. On Saturday, July 8th there’s a “coffee and dock swim” and a pancake breakfast with free transportation to and from the major resorts in the area. There’s also an Ironkids race for children aged 3 – 14 with race-day registration available. On race day itself, there’s a kids zone and yoga offered throughout the day.

There is also still time to sign up. If you or someone you know wants to race either the duathlon or the triathlon this weekend, Ironman 70.3 Muskoka will be accepting late entries for $320 cash on Saturday.

Check back on the site tomorrow for TMC‘s tips to master the Ironman 70.3 Muskoka course, from coach Michael Liberzon.