Partly-sunny skies and perfect 26C temps greeted athletes in Lac Delage for the second running of the XTERRA Quebec off-road triathlon and sports festival last weekend - August 22-23, 2015.
Boasting a world class trail system, pristine waters and an easy thirty minute drive from the heart of Quebec City, Lac Delage played perfect host for XTERRA’s brand of dirty, off-road endurance fun.
The festival-style weekend of events included workshops, an open water swim race, off-road duathlons, trail runs, kid’s races, short and long distance off-road triathlons, live bands and a BBQ party to send everyone home full with XTERRA spirit.
With fifteen XTERRA World Championship slots up for grabs, Vincent Belhumeur (02:59:14) and Julia Carbonneau (03:44:42) took top honors on the day for the men and women in the championship race. View full results.
Well-traveled and longtime XTERRA age grouper Chuck Fortier (pictured above by Pascal Gagné) from New Westminster, B.C. shares his XTERRA Quebec experience.
I had the chance to take part in the second edition of XTERRA Quebec City this past weekend. Although still in its inception, this race did not disappoint and provided plenty of challenges.
Nestled near Stoneham Ski resort, Lac Delage is about 30 minutes north of Quebec City setting the stage for an epic off-road adventure. The swim course is a giant square of 1200m, favoring the less experienced swimmer as it is a bit shorter than the usual 1500m. To the dismay of yours truly, the water temperature last weekend was too warm to be wetsuit legal.
If the swim is on the short side and probably not as hard, the bike course is definitely the opposite. One could describe this course as reminiscent of a true world cup cross country course in “La Belle Province”.
Five laps of a 6 km loop posed plenty of challenges and demanded technical ability on the mountain bike. This true cross country course has it all from the Chicken pass option almost at the start of the course to steep power climbs, rocks and roots and tricky descent; mountain biking skills are a must.
With two swim waves 10 minutes apart, the trail was not too crowded given the fact that it was a multi loop system and all riders that I encountered were very gracious to let faster riders pass as soon as they could. The nice thing about the multi loop system is that it is great for spectators as they would see you in a pump track style every lap where a live band, music, and beer garden were accessible for them.
The run course was also a challenge as although there was not a lot of elevation gain was compared to other courses around the world, the technical and short power climbs were tiring on the legs.
The run course was a two laps of a 5km loop with a longer ascent and a technical descent, so one could not take a rest. This run course was also a true cross country run presenting all the challenges that one would expect.
It is to be noted that if this course was in the rain and mud as it was last year, it would be very challenging to say the least.
Although in its infancy this race has definitely the potential to become a marquee race and should definitely be on your race calendar if you are looking for a challenge on the bike and on the run. The volunteers were great and you can see that a lot of har d work has been poured into the trail system.
As for me, it was nice to be back to racing after having been sidelined for three and a half months with a broken foot.