Former Pro XTERRA Athlete Danelle Kabush gives us her take on the XTERRA Victoria Course
Durrance Lake is a beautiful little fresh water lake. The swim begins on a quaint little beach with clear water and a sandy, easy on the feet, bottom. Bring your wetsuit but be prepared for a non-wetsuit swim as we had in 2015. If preceded by a warm weather streak, the water will likely be very balmy. Either way it will be just right for a great race, in calm waters on a lake ringed with beautiful west coast trees.
After your 1 or 2 lap swim (with an short sandy beach run in between) you’ll run up the short carpeted exit to transition (T1 and T2 are in the same spot). Once on your bike you’ll have a short slightly uphill road section to get in some nutrition and get you pedaling rhythm going. Once you hit the dirt you’ll be climbing on double track trail for approximately 5 – 10 minutes. There will be lots of room to pass or be passed as you settle into your own race pace. This initial climb is a nice grade, however, be prepared for a few steep pitches with looser rock that may require your best smooth pedaling and full mental focus to get up and over.
Remember that once you’re at the top of this first climb, you are done with it for good as the lap through for the full distance XTERRA begins at the top of the first climb. This is where you’ll head into some fun yet challenging single track on your right. You’ll hit a steep uphill switchback right away followed by fun and flowy single track with plenty of roots and rocks to navigate through and power over. I would highly recommend at least one pre-ride of this course so you have your lines picked out for race day! Other notable technical features are a few, short but steeper, behind your seat descents, navigating up and over larger rock slabs, and descending the switchback descent of 8-10 tight corners (doing it without a single foot dab is always a good challenge for the majority of racers).
The end of the lap ends with a similar length climb as the beginning of the race. However, there are a few flatter reprieves, providing plenty of opportunity to eat and drink and finally take your hands off the bars. On your final lap through you will continue straight back down the climb you first came up out of T1. Pay attention though as you will exit back out onto the road at an earlier spot (it will be signed and have a guide but people still miss it).
You’ll start the run (2 laps for the full distance) on a gorgeous trail that circles Durrance Lake. The trail around the lake is relatively flat. You’ll be kept on high alert though as there are plenty of roots to jump over and trees to twist your way through. Then you’ll be back on a flat gravel for a few minutes before heading straight uphill. A few points in this climb are so steep you might decide to stride versus run depending on your preference. While a few flat, smooth sections allow you to momentarily find your stride on this run, you’ll be quickly deciding between taking bounding leaps off of rocks and root drops or choosing to stutter step as you make your way back down to lake level. On your final lap, you’ll have a good 200m to muster up a final sprint through the finish and on to celebrating your effort with a great, friendly, Canadian welcoming finish party!
See you there on July 10th!
Register for race #6 of the XTERRA Pan American Tour and qualify for the 2016 XTERRA World Championship in Maui. The Top 5 athletes in each age group will also qualify for the 2017 ITU World Cross Championship in Penticton, B.C.
XTERRA Victoria is proudly presented by Hopkins Prosthodontics