What that means is for the first-time ever Canadian XTERRA Pro Karsten Madsen gets to race on his hometown trails in front of his family and friends in an important Pro Series event.
“It’s pretty amazing to get to race at home,” said Madsen, who is currently ranked 2nd in the XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series.
“When you're younger and don’t really travel much to race you dream of being on the road and racing all over the place,” Madsen said. “Now that I have done that the last few years I really enjoy when I can race at home. I love to sleep in my own bed. Milton is also a place that I do most of my training at. I know every turn and every bit of the climb. Having the home advantage is amazing and many of my family friends and sponsors can come out and see me live so I need to make sure I’m in top shape and ready to lay down a big race.”
Madsen, who has won XTERRA Mine Over Matter three times since 2010, will be facing a much deeper field this time around as American elites Branden Rakita, Cody Waite, Greg Schott, Dan Molnar, Brian MacIlvain among others are making their way to Toronto for the event. Suzie Snyder, Debby Sullivan, Caroline Colonna, and Canadian elite Joanna Brown are confirmed in the women’s race.
As for the course, Madsen says it has a little bit of everything.
“First the distance is a bit shorter then a normal XTERRA. The swim is a 1000m, the bike is 21km and the run is 9.8km. It really gives a good opportunity to go harder then you normally would as the race is fast!
The weather is usually around mid-20’s (mid 70’s for my U.S. friends) but we can get hot, it just depends. The swim is in a quarry with calm, warm water. On the bike you hit some very high paced single track. You also have some rock gardens and flowy sections. It’s a course that gets harder the faster you take it, but if you go slower it really is something that everyone could do. This year we will climb the escarpment once, it has a few places that it kicks up, but this climb takes me about 4:10 from bottom of the trail to the last chairlift. Since we don’t have any mountains this way I spend a lot of time in my training going up and down this ski hill! The elevation at the highest point of the race is around 1000-feet so nothing crazy. The run course is kind of like XTERRA Alabama. It’s pretty flat (for an XTERRA) so you can really give it a good fast effort. Kelso has world class trails and I would suggest that visiting athletes take some time after the race to see all the trails it has to offer (there are some pretty technical area’s that we don’t use in the race).”
Madsen suggested the Flying Monkey Bike Shop, which is close to the venue, as a good place for bike work and added that “another great thing about this race is you are about 45 minutes away from downtown Toronto and it truly is an amazing city with something always going on, amazing places to eat and sights to be seen.”
For those who like a good Pilsner, be sure to visit the Steam Whistle Brewery at Roundhouse Park next to the Rogers Centre.