Having finished coaching two Subaru Success Camps up on the Subaru Ironman Muskoka 70.3 course, I can offer a few observations and strategies for tackling this special 70.3 event.
First, let me say, biased or not, this is one heck of a course! Deerhurst is the perfect backdrop for this event and your family and friends will have several opportunities to cheer for you and take in all of the energy of race day.
The swim is pristine – the water is clear and the surrounding green space and hills that dot the swim course are beautiful. The final turn on the swim course takes you right to the Deerhurst dining room – literally, you can sight on the big rustic resort straight ahead of you. That is where your family and friends can watch you run up the hill toward the transition area. This is a challenging hill but you will be so busy taking off your wetsuit as you go and hearing the cheers that you won’t even notice.
You will then run to your transition spot in front of Deerhurst and off you go on the spectacular bike course. The first 8 km is very ‘busy’ – that means – you will be thinking the whole time about gearing and cornering and getting in and out of the saddle. You probably won’t have a big opportunity to munch on that Power Bar but don’t worry, once you make the downhill left hand turn onto North Portage Road, it becomes a bit less technical and you will be able to negotiate some nutrition. Your next attraction is Dwight – a terrific little beach reprieve. Once you leave the beach, you will be climbing up and out onto Hwy 60. This section is a nice rhythm section where you can get in some electrolyte drink and calories. Before you know it, you will be in the quaint little town of Dorset with it’s one lane bridge and ice cream parlour (don’t stop though!!). There will also be an aid station there.
Leaving Dorset, you are treated to another climb and then it is smooth sailing onto Hwy 117. This is a long, rolling section which is another rhythm section. Try not to ride too hard here because when you make the right hand turn at Baysville, you will begin the most challenging part of the course – the last 20 km. The hills on Brunel Road require a little bit of a spark and muscle power. From there, it is onto South Portage Road which is a bit of a rollercoaster. Try to keep your downhill momentum on this section because that will help you get up the hills on the other side. Then it is a left back to Deerhurst with that same 8 km stretch you rode out. So remember the big downhills going out – yes – well, they are now uphills on the way back. Keep something in the tank for a special hill within the last 5 km.
Try to get in a Power Gel over the last 10-15 minutes of the bike course so that you can start the run with a full tank of fuel. And the run is awesome. Out on Canal Rd and a little out and back section which is like your favorite trail on your home course. Then onto Hwy 60 with some rollers and a left on Golden Pheasant Dr. This out and back is challenging but just put one foot in front of the other and you will be back on Hwy 60 before you know it. Then it is onto Fairy Vista Trail which is a beautiful bike path winding through forests – you will feel so fast on this section. Back to Deerhurst, but you are not done yet. Now you get to run on the golf course – a real treat – since you cannot do it any other time of the year. When you exit the golf course, you will pass the finish line but you still get to run a bit further!! Your friends and family can see you run past here and you will grab some extra energy to keep running the rest of the golf course. After your golf tour, you will pass your friends again and even though you will be tempted to run another golf course loop, you will turn right and cross the Subaru Ironman Muskoka 70.3 finish line.
Enjoy your last few weeks of training, be safe and stay healthy. See you at the race!!