2011 XTERRA Canadian Open Championships
September 4, 2011 – Nita Lake Lodge – Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler, a resort town in the southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains, is approximately 125 kilometers north of Vancouver. Over two million people visit Whistler annually, primarily for alpine skiing and mountain biking at Whistler-Blackcomb ski resorts. During the vastly successful 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Whistler venues hosted most of the alpine, Nordic, luge, skeleton and bobsled events, providing ample proof that the resort can host world-class events on the international stage. On the Labour Day weekend Whistler will host 450 international athletes for the Xterra Canadian Championships in Whistler, British Columbia.
The professional field will be competing for a share of the $10,000 prize purse. Highlighting the field will be Xterra World champions Melanie McQuaid and South Africa’s Conrad Stoltz. Age group athletes will be competing for 35 qualifying spots for the Xterra World Championships on October 23, in Maui, Hawaii.
This second-year event is returning once again as part of Xterra’s World Tour of races that are part of the premier off-road triathlon global series. The Xterra Canadian Open Championships will also offer a varied menu of events for athletes of all levels of ability. In addition to the Canadian Open Championships, there will be a Sport Distance division for athletes wishing to participate on a smaller scale or for those who are simply new to the sport and desire a sampling of what Xterra is all about. The Sport Distance allows one to experience the thrills of the same course as the professionals and open divisions, but at half the distance.
Individual and team relay divisions have been added to the swim-bike-run championship distance and duathlon divisions. There’s also a stand-alone trail race, which means that Xterra Canada provides a little something for everyone to compete in during Xterra race weekend in Whistler.
The prestigous Nita Lake Lodge will once again provide the host accommodation facilities and the grounds will be the location for the race transition. The post-race BBQ provided for competitors by Nita Lake Lodge was a memorable climax to the championship race weekend last year and will be returning to provide a great feast for the competitors.
Swim: The two-lap, 1,500 m swim takes place in the pristine waters of Alta Lake in Whistler’s Rainbow Park. The shallow depths of the mountain lake allow its temperature to be comfortable in early September. Wetsuits are recommended, though, even for the hardiest of open water swimmers.
Bike: Two loops of 12.5 km each will provide an unforgettable experience to those racing. There are fantastic single-track sections, lung-busting climbs, bridges and exciting descents. “The bike course really gives athletes a taste of true west coast single-track,” says three-time Xterra World Champion, Melanie McQuaid. “With a combination of loam, switchbacks, rocks, stunts, ramps, drops and just sweet, sweet lines there is no bike course that is anywhere near as cool.”
Run: The 11 km trail run will challenge one’s fitness. “The run course is difficult but rewarding,” says McQuaid, last year’s winner in Whistler. “The beginning winds its way along the iconic “River Runs Through It” trail, that makes you feel like a gnome in an enchanted forest. Then you need to haul yourself uphill a few times before you reach the finish, but there will be some significant downhills to break it up. It is as fun and challenging as you want and need from an Xterra race,” McQuaid added.
This year, camera crews will be on hand to film the race in its entirety for a half-hour television show to air on TSN.