The Alberni Valley will be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday in a way that will test your endurance.
The Tri-Conic Challenge is coming to the Valley from July 1-3, 2017 thanks to an $80,000 Canada 150 grant from the Government of Canada. The goal of the Canada 150 Fund is to create opportunities for Canadians to participate in local, regional, and national celebrations that contribute to building a sense of pride and attachment to Canada.
“It’s a staged triathlon. Most triathlons are bang bang bang, one after another all done on one day. This is different, each day is a different leg of the triathlon,” said Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Bill Collette.
“It’s a unique type of triathlon.”
The three-part endurance race isn’t just unique because of its length.
“The whole theme of the event is to pit activity against history,” said Collette.
The event will feature three Alberni Valley hallmarks—Sproat Lake, the road to Bamfield and McLean Mill.
“Day one is on the lake and we plan to have four different lengths of swims,” said Collette.
“We want to have children and non-swimmers involved and then go right up into the high endurance swimming athletes.”
The swim lengths will be 200m, 500m, 2000m and 4000m.
While nothing’s set in stone yet, Collette is hoping to incorporate Sproat Lake’s most famous seaplane into the race.
“With any luck, the Martin Mars will be on the lake.”
If not, Collette said, then the swimmers will swim to the petroglyphs instead.
The bike race to Bamfield will take place on the second day.
“That day, at 8 a.m. the Frances Barkley leaves for Bamfield and we will race it there,” said Collette.
There will be four versions of the bike race—3000m around Harbour Quay, 16km to China Creek Marina, 90km to Bamfield and 180km to Bamfield and back.
“The 180km race is the same distance as is done in an Ironman [Triathlon],” said Collette.
Racers who make it out to Bamfield will get to partake in a salmon feast courtesy of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, Collette added.
“We’ll be working closely with the Huu-ay-aht who plan to have a salmon feast for our athletes and for guests on the Frances Barkley out at Pachena Bay.
The third day will cap off the event with an event that should be familiar to most Port Alberni residents.
“The third day will be a repeat of the No. 7 Challenge but we will expand it to include a kids’ run out at the mill,” said Collette. While the No. 7 Challenge is traditionally a 10km run from the train station at Kingsway and Argyle to McLean Mill, the third leg of the Tri-Conic Challenge will feature several race lengths.
“We’ll have a half-marathon which is to the mill and back and we’ll also have a full marathon. We hope to bring that through the trail network,” said Collette.