August 23, 2015 [email protected]

Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race – Race Report

bruce peninsula adventure raceThis July, we travelled back to Canada to attend an AcroYoga course in Montreal, and while we were back in the great white north, we browsed around to see if there were any races in the area that interested us.  Since ultra races were slim pickings in Ontario, we tossed around the idea of testing out an adventure style of race, to see if we liked it and whether we would want to take on some more challenging ones down the road. So our search shifted gears and we came across the website for the Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race, and it was right on par with what we were looking for!
There were a few different race distances and multi-sport combinations, but we love the long hauls, so the “100km Long Course” was all we could think about.  And as many of our followers know, we run all of our ultra marathons side-by-side in a tandem team style, so when we saw this race had an official tandem team category, it was just too good to be true.  Alright, so what was this race all about???
Essentially, The Long Course consisted of a 16km kayak in the Georgian Bay, 32km mountain bike ride (with the option to add on a 6km loop for bonus points), 16km trail run on The Bruce Trail, then back on our bikes for another 30km mountain bike ride, and we finished it off with a 5.5km run to the finish line in Wiarton, Ontario.
Let us just say from start to finish, this race was incredibly scenic and we both could have spent many more days running and exploring the area!  But let us break it down on how things went;
 adventure kayak bruce peninsula
Kayaking was interestingly enjoyable! This was both of our first time doing any sort of true kayaking (aside from some fun half hour blasts while out on different vacations), but we managed to get through the haul with gleaming smiles on our faces the whole time. It was nice knowing the rest of the day required very little upper body strength, so we could drain out our arms in a final push to the shoreline.  Jump out, ditch your water gear and head over to the bike racks…
adenvture race mountain bikeHere is where we decided to switch into a minimalist shoe, which was tough for us to not be running in our Xero Shoes, but with multiple switches from bike to run to bike and run again, AND with the race organizers announcing there was poison ivy on the trail and therefore mandatory to wear knee-high socks for the race, we decided that shoes were our best option. Our new Z-Trek’s from Xero Shoes were pretty spectacular though during the kayak, tough and sturdy enough to let us work, but light and obviously water friendly enough to not care if you got wet!
All geared up and away we went on our two-wheelers, our stroll down the county road didn’t last too long.  Now on a side note, I (Jonathan) have been getting into a bit of mountain biking this year down in Chile, so I’m a bit more experienced when it comes to technical riding.  Melissa on the other hand, tends to saddle up on the spin bikes since finding a women’s mountain bike in Chile is more than difficult, so coming out of the first really technical section, she yelled up at me with a deer in headlights look and said “Jonathan, I am not that comfortable with this stuff, we need to take it easy!”  So we took it easy for the first little bit, knowing there was still lots of trail to go. Well it wasn’t too long before she got the hang of it and was riding up at my pace no problem, so she caught on quick for her first time EVER out mountain biking! While we seemed to keep our positioning relatively well (never our focus, but you do notice:P) through the bike, we unfortunately let ourselves dehydrate a bit, which bit us in the butt when we ditched the bikes and started running…
bruce trail ultra marathon run
16km run didn’t seem like too much for us, especially considering the muscles used in the kayak and bike were different from our running muscles. The first hour went by and we were moving well, even with the shockingly technical terrain along the popular Bruce Trail.  What we failed to notice was the shift in climate, from the early morning rain during the kayak, to the now mid day sun mixed with the thick humidity common in Ontario.  We slowed a bit in the second half of the run as we tried to catch ourselves up on calories and water, but made it to our bikes again to get moving.
Our last 30km on the bikes were no easier than the first, with some sections so bumpy that your forearms started fatiguing from all the vibration! We kept our pace though and just kept pushing, even after our water had ran dry and the sun was turning it up.  Finally, our last transition area we ditched the gear for the last time and were happy to hop off the saddle and do what we do best…Run Free!
tandem team podium finishers“5.5km run to the finish” the volunteers said as we headed out, and for some reason or another we thought it would be relatively flat, maybe even a straight road run, as we could already see the finishing city of Wiarton. Yet we soon found ourselves on 1-2km section of very technical single track of the Bruce Trail.  We loved it deep down though and were super happy to see the finish line closing in.  We crossed in 8 hours 55 minutes, which was better that we expected and enough to snag a spot on the podium for the tandem category.  The crowd at the finish line was energetic, the race director was at the finish congratulating each finisher, and best of all there was good food waiting to refuel our aching bodies!

Would we recommend this race?

This race is crazy well organized and a perfect blend for single sport athletes to try out something new. Both of us loved the kayaking and Melissa has already started hunting for a mountain bike, so we can promise you’ll see us searching out some more multisport style of races in the future!

ps. If you know of any wicked multi-sport/adventure races, please throw recommendations our way!

Pura Vida 🙂

And be sure to check out our Race Resume to see what other races we’ve tackled!

mel john adventure race xero

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