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Catching up with Jack Van Dorp

Top Canadian male at the World Multisport Championships.

Wiarton, Ontario’s Jack Van Dorp was the top Canadian male (13th overall) at the 28th World Multisport Championships in New Zealand this past February. Jack offered some insights about his race and his own athletic prowess.

TMC: Describe how you qualified for the World Multisport Championships.

JVD: The only qualification for the event is a certificate of competence in Grade II Whitewater, which I was able to get through my local paddling club. We (he and Ursula Tracz) got into the race, however, through the Logs Rocks and Steel Multisport Adventure, an 80k off-road run / paddle / mountain bike race put on in the Huntsville area by Bob Miller. Being relatively new to mountain biking, my plan for the race was to build up a big enough lead in the run and paddle that the others couldn’t catch me in the bike, and I guess it worked. To build up some experience with the event and raise some funds we simulated the race inside a shopping mall, where I did the race distances on an exercise bike, rowing machine, and treadmill.

TMC: How the did the race go for you?

JVD: The race was really quite good, though different than we expected with the foul weather that resulted in major course changes. My strategy to run hard for the first 3k to ensure that I was in the lead pack for the first 55k cycle worked well, and I was able to rest my legs a bit in the first ride. I had to take the corners carefully, though, as I had no stopping power in the torrential rain. The 30k run over Arthur’s Pass was faster but probably more difficult than the originally scheduled trail run over Goat Pass, and my Achilles tendons were quite inflamed by the top. The 140k ride into Christchurch started well, but with about 800m of climbing in the first 50k my legs were quickly tired and I was dogging it up the hills and trying to make up time on the downs (the sun was out by this time so stopping power was ok). I was happy to ride in a group for the last 50k into Christchurch, but for a lot of the ride I was wishing that we could be paddling the cool, refreshing waters of the Waimakiriri gorge. The 20k paddle along the Avon River was pretty much torture, as I lost time waiting for my boat (crew got caught in a traffic jam) and was trying to catch up to the pack that I had been riding with. On top of that, weeds kept catching on the rudder and I ran out of liquids after the first hour of the paddle, but the crew got me fueled up quickly at the last transition for the final 10k ride to Sumner Beach.

TMC: Was it worth the trek down to New Zealand?

JVD: Definitely. This is a great race for strategists, as there are several different stages and transitions. The Kiwis are great athletes and very welcoming people. The paddle course can be a bit daunting, though, so lots of Class-II practice is recommended if you are going to do the race. I’d just like to thank the wonderful people from Wiarton, Owen Sound, and the rest of Grey-Bruce who rallied behind us and supported us to get the stuff we needed, get over to New Zealand, and have a great race, and encourage people to check out our racing website, www.vandorpracing.com

TMC: What laid the foundation for your triathlon success?

JVD: I started as a Nordic skier, with cross-country running, track, and soccer as off-season training. I started paddling, cycling and swimming for more cross-training and to get ready for the Stoney Lake Quadrathlon, came top Canadian Junior there and went on to the Czech Republic to race in the World Quadrathlon Championships (1st Junior, 2002, 2003). Then I burned out from skiing, marathon canoe/kayak, dragon boat, road, and cross-country running back-to-back-to-back seasons, and stepped back from racing for a bit to focus on school and on racing / coaching cross-country running and skiing.

TMC: What are your plans for the rest of the year?

JVD: I am still sorting out my training and racing schedule for the rest of the year. My next big focus is the Canadian Death Race (August Long Weekend), which I am doing as part of the Adventurescience.ca Team-we have some researchers tracking our muscle damage and biomechanics while we race. Other than that, I hope to do some spring wildwater kayak races around the GTA, the Peterborough Half-Ironman (maybe I can qualify for Ironman Canada) and some more adventure races to build up my navigation skills.