By Cavin McKelvey
2013 Ignition Fitness Athlete Team member
Calgary 70.3 was a race I’ve always wanted to do since the race came into existence. The neat thing about the Calgary 70.3 is the bike is a point to point. You would start the swim 94k away from Calgary, then bike to a reservoir where you would do the 21k run. July wasn’t a good month for me…still dealing with muscle/mental fatigue from my Tremblant experience and searching for answers. The week of the Calgary race i was still taking tylenol cold/flu trying to feel better before this race.
This year due to the flooding in Alberta, “Ghost Lake” was not suitable for swimming. Too much debris remained in the lake to hold the swim at that location. This left the race organizers scrambling for a new location for the swim, as well as a new bike route.
A new swim was found at Mackenzie Lake, and a new point to point bike route was found 2 weeks before the event. The run course remained the same. All systems go for this race!
My dad came out to support me for this race. We flew out on Thursday and we stayed til Tuesday in Calgary.
Saturday before the race, we headed out to the race site to check in the bike as well as go for a quick swim. The lake was quite small, and the water was really clean. When checking in my bike I saw a bunch of the pros hanging out. I went over and had a quick chat with them. The guys i chatted with were Tim Don (who finished 1st overall), Tyler Butterfield (3rd) and Matt Reed (4th). Super nice guys and gave me some tips on riding with my Shiv.
I got down to the race site early and set up my transition area. Since the run was happening at a different location, my run stuff would be waiting for me at T2. Odd feeling not setting up any run stuff!
For this race, the organizers decided to send all the men at once in 1 giant wave. Normally in races I know where to seed myself within my age group. With 400 men all standing on the beach I felt a little out of my element where I was lined up. Soon enough the gun went off and started to swim. Since the lake was so small, there was constant contact for the entire swim. We also had to swim through a tunnel which was about 25ft wide. It was enough to fit us all, however with all the swimmers the water was bouncing off the edges and swallowed a bit of water. I came out of the water in 34:05…my best 70.3 swim yet!
My dad was volunteering as a wetsuit stripper, so had him tear off my wetsuit, then ran into my bike. My heartrate was super high so took a few extra seconds to get out on the bike.
My dad and I drove the bike course on Friday. It looked very manageable and was hoping for a fast bike split. Driving and biking are 2 very different things!! I found this bike course quite difficult. The first 45k was all climbing. I didn’t get out of my small chain ring til we hit Bragg Creek. At this point I was putting out an average of 200w and only averaging 27k an hour. The bike back to Calgary was a lot
more fun, with very high speeds. The highway we were biking on was a very busy highway and with the ‘rumble strips’ and stand up signs on the shoulder it didn’t leave a lot of room for passing. My bike time was 2:45 with average watts of 177 (188NP Power).
Came into T2 to find my run bag sitting for me where it should be. Got on the shoes and headed out on the run.
Started out the run feeling great. Was running 5:00/km for the first 7k and felt ok. At the 7k mark I saw the first hill… err I mean wall. This hill was like nothing I’ve ever seen. It was longer/steeper than those hills in High Park. I made the decision to walk up the hill rather than burn out energy… well i think that may have been a mistake, as I never recovered from that walk, and the rest of the half marathon was a struggle between walking/running. I ended up the run with a 2:02 half marathon.
Overall this race was good. The finishers medal was a belt buckle which is really unique. Don’t think I’ll wear it (well except for that cowboy photo!). I was super glad to have my Dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, and her husband out cheering me on that day. Would I do this race again? Probably not… am I glad I did it? Yup!