Winterlude Triathlon all about fun, not competition

The Shoreline | Vol. 31 No. 46 (January 30 2019)

From video game competition night to bingo, shuffleboard and the annual Texas Hold ‘em poker tournament, there are many events at the Snow & Ice In Paradise winter festival that will make it worth your while to get out of the house and have fun without throwing your back out.

But if you are the kind who likes to put your back into it, there’s an equal number of events from ping pong to dodge ball to skating and running that are sure to raise the heart rate and get your lungs pumping. But perhaps the most challenging of the outdoor fitness events is the Winterlude Triathlon set for Sunday, February 3 starting at 2 p.m.

There are two levels of participation. One course includes two kilometres of snowshoeing, five kilometres of fat biking, and three kilometres of cross-country skiing. The easier course includes two kilometres of snowshoeing and three kilometres of cross-country skiing.

Not all the components of each program are mandatory. You can pick and choose which ones you want to participate in. You can even form a team and divide the components of the course among your teammates.

“It’s all weather dependent,” said organizer Christiane Martin. “Like with the sliding party or anything like that, if there’s not enough snow we won’t be able to go ahead, but we have our fingers crossed that we will get more snow this week. And we won’t make the call (on whether to proceed or not) until Saturday night. But if there’s enough snow, and hopefully it will be, we are keeping the options really open, because we want to make sure that people with different strengths and abilities can participate… We want to keep it really open because it’s supposed to be fun. That is the key emphasis.”

Martin and the other organizers tried to include the fat bike part of the event last year – which involves biking through the snow on a wide tired bicycle – but rain limited the action. If the weather cooperates this coming weekend, the fat bike leg might be a major component of the event.

“I participated last week in a snow bike competition up in Pippy Park where we had 80 plus bikes – so there is a big community out there,” said Martin. “It’s just all really weather dependent.”

This is the third year Martin, a triathlete and personal fitness trainer, has been involved in helping organize the Winterlude Triathlon. She’s also involved in the summer triathlon held in Paradise every August. That event draws about 70 triathletes in addition to the children’ event held the day before.

“Hopefully we will get it (the winter triathlon) in and if not we’ll try again next year,” she said. “That’s all you can do with winter events… And we’re not restricting it to Paradise residents only. Anybody can participate. It is a lot of fun and that’s the key. And we’re planning a little reception afterwards with hot chocolate for people to warm up and get to know each other.”

The Town has some snow shoes and skis for rental, she noted, but if you have your own gear you should bring it. The Town does not have fat bikes, so anyone wanting to participate in that leg of the course will have to bring their own.

The courses run along the old rail bed towards Octagon Pond, with some loops running off it and back.

In keeping with the fun and friendly theme of the event, there will be no “winners” or medals presented. “It’s not supposed to be competitive as such, it’s supposed to be participant-driven,” Martin explained. “Everybody can have fun with it just trying out different sports and then coming together and having a little social afterwards.”

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