Posts by MultiSport Canada Ambassadors

Training and Racing Old School

By Tim Doris

As I prepared to go for one of my lunch hour runs at the end of June. As on all my runs I would periodically glance at my wrist looking for the data that would appear, my pace, heart rate and distance travelled so far. But on this particular day my watch screen was blank. Oh well just keep running and when I get back to school I will try to fix it. The next 60 minutes running one of my favorite routes was pure joy with nothing to gauge my progress except for the sound of my own breath.

Once back at school, several attempts to reboot my watch and even with a trip to a local sporting goods store after school it was clear my watch was done. If this had happened a year ago I would have just run out and bought a new one. But for some reason I thought of this as an opportunity to train and race a little different. So I decided this summer racing season I would not rely on electronics to help me train or race. I found an old watch in my closet that I used only as a time piece so I knew at least the time of day.

So I began to do something that I had already been practicing for the last 10 years and that was listening to my body to tell me how and when to train. I have to admit at first it took some getting use to, lying in my bed a little longer to check my heart rate before getting up in the morning and at night before falling asleep, and making sure that that the alarm was set for my morning workouts.

It was one thing to train this way which I was really enjoying instead of pouring over all the data at my fingertips, but I wasn’t sure how this would work while racing.

So off to Welland I went for the first race of the Multisport Canada Triathlon Series to participate in the sprint duathlon. A lot of familiar faces where on the start line so when the horn sounded for the race to start and once the initial opening nervous sprint off the line was over it didn’t take long to find a pace bunny for the first 2.5 km run. I fell into a comfortable pace behind a group of 3 individuals and just waited to see what would happen at the turn around. As expected one of the threesome dropped off the front so I just continued to hold my pace into the transition and then out onto the bike.

The changes to the Welland bike course meant that I would be able to see all of the other racers in my age group constantly for the 20 kilometers. Again without my bike computer working I had to measure my speed by perceived exertion and off of the other athletes on the course. Well by the start of the second lap, I was riding literally right behind one of my age group competitors and decided that if I kept in close proximity to him then coming out of transition onto the final run I would be in good shape.

Back into the transition area I went only a few steps behind my competition, bike racked, running shoes back on and then out for the final 5km. Immediately I could tell the pace was a little quicker than the first run but I was feeling okay. I ran up behind my bike buddy and stayed a step or two behind him for the first 2.5 km. Then for the last lap I ran up onto his shoulder and there I stayed until the 4 km mark at which point I decided to use the water station as my spot to pull away. With runners coming in both directions there was just enough space for me to run down the center and open up a little gap. Then a series of 4 short burst of about 100meters and finally seeing the finish shoot was all that was needed for me to get to the end.

Once back from Welland and looking at the results on the Sportstats website I was able to see my results and pace for the run and bike segments of the race. This gave me a great indication of where my fitness was and also if my new old school training was paying off and it was. I finished 4th overall and won my age group.

I continued to go old school at MSC Gravenhurst and MSC Kingston. Making the overall podium and age group wins in the sprint duathlon events.

This may not be the best way to train or race for everyone but for me it was a welcome change. I am planning on purchasing a new watch but I haven’t decided on which model or brand yet. For anyone new to multisport racing you don’t need all the fancy gadgets to help you train and race, you just need to listen to your body, eat well, get lots of sleep, and if you have aches and pains know that it is okay to take a day off.

Tim Doris Radio Interview

Give Them Opportunities and Watch Them Grow

Sunday, July 14th, 2019 marked my return to Gravenhurst to compete in the Multsport Canada Triathlon Series Sprint Duathlon. When I first competed in Gravenhurst in 2016, I made the trek up to the Muskoka area solo as I was unfamiliar with the race course, venue and a little inexperienced with the steps and procedures  to follow on race morning ( even after using the MSC website to read all the prerace information)!

It became clear as soon as I arrived that MSC goes out of their way to provide the racer with an easy to navigate registration process so that every athlete can have a positive race experience from start to finish. Racing in Gravenhurst also provides me with an opportunity to share my love for multisport racing with my kids. Since 2017, I have brought at least one of my three children to volunteer at the event.

This year due to sports commintments only my middle child Emerson was able to come with me, but we agreed that he could bring a friend along with him (Will) from his soccer team. On the way up on Saturday evening, I was listening to the conversation in the back seat of the car. Emerson was explaining some of the jobs that they would do in the morning with extreme detail and care! When we arrived on course the boys were put in charge of timing chips and I was able to help out until it was time for me to begin my warm up before the sprint duathlon start. They were given their instructions and immediately began to have athletes coming to claim their chips. They were confident and polite explaining where the timing chips should be worn for new racers and also wishing everyone good luck. Knowing that they were in the capable hands of the MSC team, I said my goodbyes and got ready to race.

Once again I ran into the finishing chute to see my son and friend busy at work taking timing chips and handing out finishers medals. I introduced the boys to a number of athletes and sponsors that I am happy to call friends.

Of course the highlight for the boys is the free pizza lunch and volunteer t-shirts that they received. Once the medal ceremonies were over, it was time to pack the car and head for home. On the way home I heard all about the events of the morning that I missed while racing and of course how amazing the pizza was.

The boys told all their friends about the volunteer adventures. I have already  been approached by another  soccer parent from my sons team about bring their son along next year.

Volunteering at MSC races has been a great way for me to introduce my kids to multisport racing, become involved in supporting the races and also spend time making memories together.

So for anyone wanting to show their friends and family what multisport racing is all about, sign up to volunteer at one of the races. Those of you with high school aged kids, it is a great way to pick up some of your community service hours. Need some more information on the volunteer opportunities at an MSC race head over to the MSC website.

Tim Doris

K Town Tri Post-Race Report

By Matthew McGuckin

A great city to host an even better event. If you’re looking for a getaway weekend to wrap into an unbelievable race, this is it.

The City:

With an abundance of local attractions, it’s easy to keep busy pre- and post-race in Kingston. If you’re looking for some low-key activities on the weekend you can take a boat tour in the thousand islands, visit the historic Kingston Penitentiary or Fort Henry, walk around Queen’s University campus or rent paddle boards and kayaks to paddle along the waterfront. You can also walk down Princess street and check out the Promenade event on the long weekend, where local stores bring merchandise out onto the street and plenty of entertaining events are happening (including a Crossfit competition). Also, with the highest number of restaurants per capita in Ontario, there are plenty of options to take in a nice pre-race meal. If you’re feeling like some heavy carb loading, check out Woodenheads for an amazing gourmet pizza and/or pasta (Pro tip: make a reservation). After the race you can reward yourself with some craft beer (Stone City has a great patio and some great eats) or some home-made ice cream at White Mountain or Mio Gelato.

The Race:

The start and finish line, transition and registration area are set right on the waterfront in front of Kingston’s city hall (this makes for some pretty awesome pictures). K Town’s swim course will challenge your open water swimming ability if the water gets bit rough but this year the conditions were fantastic. You’ll start out by swimming across the channel towards Fort Henry – an old military fort that protected the city from intruders by water. The water temperature will be cool, which is a blessing given the early August heat.

The out and back bike course heads pretty much straight east and has a few small climbs that you should save some energy for. I would highly recommend pre-riding the bike course and even try to meet up with one of the local cycling clubs (one of them rides on Friday mornings) to show you around if you have time.

The run was by far the best part of the course. The run course winds along the Kingston waterfront trail taking you past the recently renovated (and very popular) Gord Edgar Downie Pier. After a short uphill you’ll reach the Portsmouth Harbor which sits right beside the old Kingston Penitentiary. There were plenty of feed stations, and excellent course markings for the entire course which made for a (relatively) stress free event. The volunteers were amazing, cheering at every feed station, offering plenty of hydration and nutrition options so no need to bring your own on the run.

I would highly recommend this event for experienced and inexperienced triathletes alike. Kingston has a lot to offer all weekend and the amazing course views and rich history of Kingston makes it an event that will keep you coming back. See you in 2020!

A few skincare tips for tri-duathletes

As I am getting myself into the triathlon world, I am asked more and more to weight in my skincare expertise and figured I would take a moment to share a few tips relevant to triathlon and to all gender.

Pool chlorine, time under the sun cycling or running, along with sweating profusely can wreck a havoc and there are many things you can do to maintain healthy skin.

  1. Cleanse but do not strip your skin: I am not a fan of soap bars on the face simply because they are meant to bind and emulsify your skin oils and wash those down the drain. And yet, sebum is essential for pH balance and anti-again. Stripping it off will only get your skin to either overcompensate by producing more for what is lacking… and age your skin sooner. I strongly suggest looking for a cleanser with no harsh surfactant, Cream cleansers may not foam yet many provide great cleansing action without dehydrating the skin.
  2. Toner: Many skip that step. As your cleanser and water have different pH, you skin is meant to stay slightly acidic. Beware of alcohol astringent that dries your face even further and choose a product with slight amount of vitamin C, Citric acid or anything that acidic in order to have your skin at a favorable pH. Just be conscious if your skin is inflamed to have those diluted.
  3.  Moisturize like your life depend on it: Tapes and race tattoos might not stick on very well but always make sure that once showered you use a good moisturizer. For  your skin to be quenched and nourish, your body might require a different moisturizer than your face. A reminder that if your skin still feels dry after 10 minutes, you may need to apply. There are many options as to ointments, cream which are oil based and heavier or lotion which contain more water which is also necessary to skin health. If you are prone to break outs, remember that NOT moisturizing will make it worst. Try to find a lighter lotion (often with more water than oil) for  your skin type.

A note about SPF: A reminder that the efficiency of skin protection lies in the reapplication so I would say you would be best with moisturizing and using an SPF on top for sun protection (as opposed to both in one). Broad spectrum protection with prevent burns from UVB and future wrinkle damage from UVAs from training under the sun.

Another reminder is that your moisturizer can do so much more once you scrub the dead skin cells off. A weekly scrub (pumice, coffee, salt or sugar based) can reveal wonders! Do not however scrub more than once a week as many of us will end up with more breakouts or raw skin.

  1. Lip balm: Because lips dry up too! A mild scrub or even a wet cloth can help in getting the dry skin. Once you have tackle the dry skin, make sure to prevent it by re-applying as often as you remember.
  2. Mask: A face AND a hair mask once weekly can do wonders especially when EVERYTHING is dry! Some mask will pull out impurities and some will add on moisture so be sure to select one that your skin or hair needs most. A hair mask or deep conditioner once weekly after the pool can help some of the damage from the chlorine.
  3. One of the most important rules of it all… Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Because your skin needs moisture…from the inside out! Do not take your water intake for granted.

Once you have a new skin care routine, your skin might breakout in order to release impurities now that it has the chance to do so. A reminder to be patient and to wait 2-3 weeks before noticing results and to stay consistent all year long for long term benefits.

More skincare questions? I work as a Health and Beauty Advisor at Quarter Master Foods in London, ON and I can be messaged or catch us on social media! @quartermasterfoods


Open Water Swim Workouts with Andrew Bolton

Rock Your Best Swim at the Barrelman’s Swim Course

Figure 1.  Welland International Flatwater Centre where Barrelman racers will swim 2 km in a rectangular course.

Figure 1.  Welland International Flatwater Centre where Barrelman racers will swim 2 km in a rectangular course.  Underwater cable is available for most of the course to, which racers can follow without excessive sighting.

It is August, and many Barrelman racers are also deep into their training. With work, family, life, and triathlon training all require one’s time and attention, a fundamental aspect of training is keeping yourself motivated to make the time to work out while also balancing everyday responsibilities. To this end, this article serves two purposes: (1) to offer some specifics in the Barrelman’s race site at the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC) that may be useful to triathletes, and (2) to offer a simple (no brainer) swim workout that can be used by anyone in the pool or in open water.

Based on my regular open water training swims at WIFC, knowing a few things particular to the center can help you make the most of your training and racing.

Figure 2.  Meter markers at the bank of the canal.

Figure 2.  Meter markers at the bank of the canal.

Figure 3.  Meter marker on the opposite side of the canal.

Figure 3. Meter marker on the opposite side of the canal. Large buoys are placed at the meter to denote the distance traversed in the water.  

Many triathletes and pool swimmers, including myself, desire to know the distance they are swimming and how fast they are going. While it is more challenging to measure speed and distance in open water, WIFC marks distances at several points:  *200 m, 250 m, *500 m, 750 m, and *1,000 m. [1] The distances marked at WIFC make it easier to swim intervals at varying speeds in open water (similar to a pool workout), which breaks up the monotony of swimming a single speed and is more beneficial for conditioning. For example, tonight I swam 8 x 200 at faster-than-race pace as a workout. On race day, the markers palso provide distance information to aid in pacing, which is important for many participants in Barrelman.

In addition to meter markers along the shore, WIFC also places buoys (Figure 4) in the water both lengthwise and widthwise. Buoys placed along the width of the canal (Figure 3) demarcate separate lanes for swimming, rowing and other aquatic activities. Buoys throughout the length of the canal are anchored to the cables and spaced 25 m apart, which aids in measuring distance per stroke and provides a more precise measurement between meter markers.

Figure 4.  The buoys in the water demarcate the rowing/swimming lanes at WIFC

Figure 4. The buoys in the water demarcate the rowing/swimming lanes at WIFC, with small buoys approximately 25 m apart.  

The precise measurements at WIFC allow you to work out much like you would in a pool. Whether you are training at WIFC on a regular basis, or from your local swimming pool, here is a no brainer workout that I used from time to time:

x (m*100), 25 build + 25 distance per stroke + 25 fast + 25 decelerate, with 15 seconds rest , where n is the number of reps, and m is the distance (in 100s) per rep (i.e., if = 3, you are doing x 300)

This workout provides a lot of flexibility in stroke choice, distance per rep, number of reps, technical emphasis, and even rest interval. This main set is scalable in three ways: (1) swim nx 100’s as many times as one desires in one workout, e.g. ranging from = 5 to = 20+;  (2) one may scale the workout, such as x 200 or a longer distance for a more challenging workout; and (3) after repeating this workout for a few times, gradually reduce the amount of rest between each 100 in subsequent workouts, from 15 seconds rest to 5 seconds rest to 0 second rest. Sometimes in a very busy day, I don’t really want to think too hard in swim training, but the above main set contains practically everything you need to get through the swim portion of a triathlon. The build portion is designed to train you body to swim fast, for example, when you need to get around another swimmer. Distance per stroke helps with endurance swimming that one maximizes every stroke, gaining further distance for less effort. The fast portion is self-explanatory, by adding some speed work into one’s repertoire. The decelerate portion is designed to give one some way to recover before ramping up the swim speed again. This portion teaches you to recover while still making forward progress in the water. The goal is to reduce the amount of rest you need until the 25 decelerate becomes sufficient for your body to recover before moving into the next rep.

I hope the above gives many Barrelman racers some insights into the WIFC swim course as well as a simple way to train for the race. Happy swimming!

Chris Yuen, 2019 Barrelman Racer,

Buffalo Masters Swimming Club

USMS Certified Masters Swim Coach

[1]* Indicates the presence of a watch tower at this distance, which is ideal for sighting.

Feel the Fear and Jump in Anyway

By Felicia Long

I have a huge fear of heights, standing on a chair tests my limits, which means no looking over balconies for this girl. 4 years ago I went to MSC Gravenhurst and opted to do the Duathlon as jumping off the steamboat was something I did not want to do. I have heard great reports about this race and decided I really wanted to do it – which ultimately would mean jumping off the boat. I signed up a few months ago for the sprint and proceeded with my training, trying not to think about the “jump” part of the race. In theory it sounds wonderful, heading out on a steamboat full of triathletes, jumping into the water and racing…

I swim with Toronto Triathlon Club and I had told Coach Miranda Tomenson about my fears. 3 days before the event she suggested I practice jumping off the swim block into the pool (about 2 feet high). I stood on the block and looked down and to me it was a long way down..After an eternity (as it seemed to me) I jumped and survivedJ. I did a couple more and felt ready for the big day.

We got to Gravenhurst on Sunday morning and went to look at the boats. I could now see that the jump would be from a height of 5 feet – this was not in my plan. I got into my wetsuit and say quietly on the boat, I didn’t look over the edge and tried to remain calm. Then the announcement came for the athletes to jump…I let all the others in my wave jump off without a care in the world and I stood there looking down at the water below. Everyone seemed happy and no one got hurt jumping (crazy mind thinking)… I let the seconds pass deciding what to do…all that training would be of no use if I couldn’t even get into the water – time to make a decision, I jumped, seemed to take a long time but in reality probably less than a second. I survived. : )

The rest of the race was a blur, I was on a high from my big leap of faith and I smiled all the way to the end of the race. I have a mantra to try and challenge myself in whatever form that takes and this was one of those challenges I had to overcome to take on other challenges. I had such I good time I plan to be back to jump off the boat again next year.

2019 Kingston Long Course Triathlon Race Recap

I was very excited to be an event ambassador for the Kingston Triathlon, which sold out all its races for yet another year. I’ve visited Kingston for a kayak race several times and as a drive stopover on the way further eastward, but it would be my first time doing their triathlon. The historic City of Kingston offers a delightful array of small shops and waterfront parkettes, and brought a warm welcome to the athletes participating that day.

After spending a delightful night camped at Kingston Mills lock, I picked up a breakfast at Tim Hortons, drove downtown and parked three minutes away from Confederation Park. The beauty of smaller cities is the ample free street parking – try doing that in Toronto! I brought a volunteer who needed to hand out timing chips, so I had to drop by two hours before race start. Arriving early, while a good practice, also has the inadvertent effect of making me nervous. I spent a bit more time getting things prepared in the car before bringing everything over. The racks weren’t numbered so I picked a spot that was easy to mark from the swim exit and laid out my gear. Time inexplicably sped up, and before I knew it the pre-race announcements were on while I was trying to get my wetsuit on. Not much time for a warm-up swim!

The Swim: 2000m

I waded out into the warm waters for the in-water start, and then my wave was off! After 250m we made a sharp right turn and out for 750m. That buoy seemed so far away! I was having some difficulty with my wetsuit as it was uncomfortably tight around my neck. I had to undo the zipper a bit to breathe a bit better. After rounding the buoy, there were headwinds on the return portion. The chop of the water forced me to turn my head more skyward which wasn’t as hydrodynamic and certainly more awkward. Stripping out of the wetsuit to reveal my trisuit, the bike portion was next.

The Bike: 56.2km

This is the first time I’ve been in a race where there was an untimed neutral zone. This was because of construction and traffic on the roads leading to the Causeway Bridge. This allowed everyone a precious opportunity to relax, take in hydration and food, and mentally prep for the course ahead. The route had a few rolling hills and traffic was never an issue with key intersections protected by police officers. After the turnaround, it was the same route back, save for a short jog portion. That road led up quite a steep hill, though I was glad that we turned left just before that climb and joined back to the main road instead! Once again we went through the neutral zone, racked the bike and changed over to the run portion.

The Run: 15km

The run westward was lined with cheering spectators and athletes on the return back to the finish. The view along the Waterfront Pathway was quite scenic, and the weather was quite hot. I was secretly hoping that the route would detour into the lake for a refreshing dunk. Along the route the aid stations were manned by enthusiastic volunteers who handed out hydration and wet towels to cool off with. We continued past the infamous Kingston Penitentiary, marina, and around the hospital. The route went into Lake Ontario Park, where there was a dog obstacle course set up with dogs running everywhere. On the return portion, I saw an Ornge helicopter parked on the helipad. I’ve never seen one up so close before. At the finish I was greeted with more cheering spectators. A volunteer put a medal around my neck and handed me a snazzy black and yellow cap. Time for pizza!! I have to say that this race had a lot of crowd energy and I would definitely recommend it to new and seasoned triathletes alike.

Virgil Cheung

Reasons to race the K-Town Triathlon – Daniel Clarke


Swim, Run…Here I come!

By Michael Telpner

The first race I ever participated in was the MSC Toronto Island Triathlon. I think I gave high fives to every volunteer and race official I passed. Since that first race almost 10 years ago, I keep it on my calendar every year.

It’s my favourite race because for a few reasons; it is extremely spectator friendly, I can ride down to the ferries in 20 min and it has one of the nicest swims of all races. The transition zone is on the site of the long-forgotten baseball diamond where Babe Ruth hit one of his first home runs…Steve Fleck (the voice of Triathlon) tells the story before each race.

Triathlon is an interesting sport.  For a long time, there was a belief that you graduated through triathlon distances. Participants started with the try-a-tri, moved to the sprints, added Olympic, then moved onto long course and ultra-long distances (think Ironman). With young kids, I was always happy participating in short course races. If I missed one because of a family activity (or, sadly injury) I could race a week or two later.  

So what has changed in the triathlon community? More participants are selecting to stick with short course races and trying more creative alternatives. Next year’s Olympics are adding triathlon relay (300M swim, 7K bike, 2K run). Last year, Simon Whitfield (Canada’s most decorated Olympic Triathlete) participated in a swim/run/swim event. A friend mentioned he is participating in a swim, bike, run, swim, bike, run event (I have to assume it’s not a wetsuit event). Triathlon organizers are making great headways; adding lots of variety to make our sport more exciting for both athletes and spectators.  

This year’s MSC Toronto Island Triathlon had to transition to a swim/run event due to the high water levels on the Island. Coming back from injury, I was really looking forward to racing my first triathlon in two years. The reasons I always come back to the Island haven’t changed and given we go from the swim to the run, it is even more spectator-friendly than ever before. What I always tell someone on their first race – the first time you race will be a Personal Best. I am excited to try something different, look forward to a new PB for a swim/run event and hope to see you all on the Island August 18th.