Ottawa Makes History with First Age Group Draft Legal Triathlon
– New style of racing wins over participants –
July 26, 2016 – Not only were the temperatures sizzling hot in Ottawa this weekend, but so was the racing. The Ottawa Triathlon was National Championships for Age Group Standard and Sprint triathlon, Elite and U23, Junior and Para. It also hosted a draft legal youth event, Kids of Steel and a Mixed Relay event.
There were many exciting races but for Age Groupers the most anticipated was the Sprint Distance race. This was the first triathlon in Canada that offered a draft legal race since the recent ITU rule changes for qualifying and world championship events.
Draft legal racing has been until now, almost completely foreign to most Age Groupers and with the unknown, often comes hesitancy and misconceptions. Triathlon Ontario was on the ground at race sight taking in all the action and is happy to report the Age Group drafting was a smash hit for both the participants and the spectators. Some of the more notable observations were as follows:
-There were almost no bunching up or bottle necking at the dismount line commonly found in non-drafting racing. When riding in a pack athletes were more aware of who was around them as they approached the dismount line and were vocal and communicative.
-No reported crashes on the race course.
-With the absence of aero bars and using more agile road bikes versus TT bikes, athletes demonstrated more control and were better riders.
-For those that did work together and ride in a pack, they were able to maintain a higher average speed than being on their own
-Packs also saved energy and legs, resulting in faster run splits for some.
-Faster swimmers were rewarded more for coming out of the water ahead of others.
-Also leveled the financial playing field for some, skill out dueled high-end equipment.
-Athletes were more mentally engaged in the race and more aware of their surroundings. It was rare to see someone just put their head down and zone out like a typical non-drafting race.
-There were never so many smiles and chatter during the middle of a competitive Age Group race. A lot of camaraderie and good will was formed between complete strangers. It wasn’t uncommon to hear a lot of “thank yous” and “great work guys” as the athletes dismounted. Many people sought each other out after the finish to shake hands and said great work.
Congratulations to all of those pioneers that raced this past weekend in the Sprint race. If you loved the experience and have a taste for draft legal triathlon or missed the chance and want to try it, you can! There are spots left for Triathlon Ontario’s Draft Legal Provincial Championships on August 27th at the International Flatwater Centre in Welland. Please see our race page for more information
Other Weekend Highlights
Largest Junior Field in History
Never before has a Junior National Championship, or any junior race for that matter, sold out in Canada. That was the case on Saturday when 77 men lined up on the Dow’s Lake dock. Congrats to Oliver Blecher who took silver , Liam Donnelly (7th), Aaron De Jong (10th) Jacob Jamnicky (14th) and Dylan Pust (15th).
Not to be outdone, over 60 women lined up for their junior race. Congratulations to Madeleine Kennedy, top Ontario result in 7th. Also, wishing a speedy recovery to Ontario’s Allison Gibb, Cassandra Dalbec and Elise Bolger who were involved in crashes.
Joanna Brown New National Champion
High Performance Centre Guelph’s Joanna Brown battled fellow Guelph training partner Dominika Jamnicky for our national title in a thrilling race under the hot sun. Congrats Joanna and Domi!
On the men’s side HPC Guelph’s Taylor Forbes used a stellar run to capture bronze in the National title race. Great job Taylor!