During the week leading up to March 27th, the ITU Multisport World Championships Festival organizers released the course maps of the events that will take place from August 18th – 27th during the multisport festival. Each map laid out the detailed turn by turn route of the swim, bike, and run legs of the events included. Early on the morning of the 27th, they stated they would release the final course map – the 2017 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship. Sixteen hours later they posted these images.
It is immediately apparent what is missing – The full bike course map. For unknown reasons at this time, the organizers have decided not to post the complete map of the mountain bike course. We at DirtTRI Magazine are looking into why this came about.
Reasons For Concern
- Crash City – Not allowing athletes to see the course prior to racing is dangerous as they are unfamiliar with what may be around any/all corners. Going full speed on unknown trails is asking for trouble. Athletes are responsible for riding within their limits, but if they have no idea what is front of them, how can they be expected to race to the best of their abilities? Pre-riding a mountain bike course is not only a fun element of the event, but helps keep everyone safe on race day when the adrenaline is pumping. Releasing a map the day before the race means that there will be minimal pre-ride opportunities for all athletes. That is a very unsafe practice on the organizers part.
- Trail Quality – Well built trails do not need “protection”. Canadians are known for having some of the most well constructed mountain bike trails in the world, so it is rather surprising that they would put a world championship event on anything other than a well built, fun, and safe trail system. Are the organizers not using well established trails? What type of course have they put together that can’t handle athletes riding it more than just two days?
- The Challenge Penticton Test Event – There was a successful test event held last summer during Challenge Penticton and to our knowledge, there were no issues with the trails. Will the organizers be using a different course than last summers test event? Did issues arise because of that event? Are there limitations on the trails due to the test event? This would be a sad situation if the event last summer ended up causing concern for the city, local government, inhabitants, or trail advocacy groups.
- Athletes Won’t Attend – Not telling or showing athletes what they are signing up for will most certainly turn them away. This has happened in the past and word has started to spread that some athletes are unsure if they will participate not knowing what they are getting into. Are the organizers aware that this will happen if they “hide” the course?
The Challenge Penticton Test Event
If the World Championship event does end up being the same as last summers test event that took place as part of Challenge Penticton, then athletes are in for a treat. Female winner and top Canadian cross triathlete, Katie Button, shared her thoughts about what athletes can expect if this years course is the same as the 2016 version.
“The Three Blind Mice mountain bike trails are a little bit out of the way relative to the lake so we have to climb the Kettle Valley Railtrail for about 20 minutes to get there. Normally I wouldn’t be super happy about climbing a long false-flat, packed gravel road but winding through the Naramata bench is very cool.”
“Although we’re still in BC, the interior trails are much much different than coastal BC – drier, faster, and rockier.” – Canadian cross triathlete Katie Button
“The mountain bike course will definitely challenge a wide range of skills – climbing, single track skills, and speed over the flats. The run is similar in that it will challenge a range of skills – steep climbs, flat gravel, twisty single track, and maybe even some shallow lake running again.”
“I’m really looking forward to the week long festival. It looks like the off-road event will be one of the first of the week so we should all take advantage of that and stick around afterwards to do some extra riding and lots of wine tasting.”
The following image is the mountain bike course from the 2016 event.