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Start Date/Time June 18, 2017 @ 8:00 am
End Date/Time N/A
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Extremely well-run, good work to the organizers! I did the Olympic distance this year (2012), my first time attempting the Olympic.
The swim was 2 laps in a calm freshwater lake and the start was in shallow water (knee- to waist-height) on rocky sand. The grade coming around the buoy for the second lap and for the exist is pretty shallow, and you can see the bottom for the whole swim. No issues with fish or other fauna. Water temperature was cool but good once you got going; wetsuit mandatory for Olympic but option for the sprint. The trek up to transition was a bit long, maybe 250 m, on a gravel path - bring sandals if you're a wuss like me!
Transition was easy and well-organized with volunteers guiding you through the whole way. There was only one timing mat per leg (right after the swim, and right after the bike, and the finish), so if you want a transition time, you'll have to take it yourself.
The bike portion is a single out-and-back ride with a good headwind in one direction, as you're right on the coast. The views are gorgeous, if you're one to take them in. It's a hilly ride with a few short-ish but significant climbs; I believe the biggest grade is 10%. The turnaround is staffed by a single person; there are no water stops (that I remember). I didn't find traffic to be an issue; there's only one major intersection to deal with as you turn onto the Cabot Trail, and there's a police officer stationed there to stop cars.
The run portion is two loops through the grounds of the Keltic Lodge, where the race is hosted. The course is a bit hilly, but defintiely not as much as the bike course, and it finishes on a nice long downhill. There was one stater/Gatorade stop at the 2.5km mark. There are also some gorgeous views on the run, and a good portion of it is through a wooded area; you can run on the gravel shoulder if you're so inclined.
The campground where we stayed was not open for the season yet, but the organizers managed to open it specially for the race - quiet and walking distance to the start line, it's a perfect place to stay if you're one for camping. if not, the Keltic Lodge is a gorgeous resort with affordable rooms and the start line/T-zone is just down the driveway.
There's a post-race BBQ buffet available for a fee afterwards. Category winners receive a nice photograph of Ingonish Beach rather than a medal or trinket, which I thought was a nice touch.
It's a small, but beautiful and challenging race. There was a great vibe from all participants, spectators, and volunteers, newbies and seasoned vets alike.