Cumberland’s legendary trail network will host its first off-road triathlon this September. Photo by Sarah Seads

Cumberland’s legendary trail network will host its first off-road triathlon this September. Photo by Sarah Seads

New off-road triathlon not for the weak

PACE Multisport Dodge City X debuts this fall in Cumberland

It’s gnarly. It’s climby. It’s PACE Multisport Dodge City X, and it’s happening in Cumberland Sept. 9.

The event is the first cross (off-road) triathlon ever held in the Comox Valley, and it’s gearing up to be a true showcase of the technical terrain that’s made Cumberland legendary.

What will it take to cross the Dodge City X finish line? First, competitors will have to swim 1.5 km through the glacier-fed waters of Comox Lake. Then they’ll mountain bike over 23 kilometres of some of Vancouver Island’s most technical singletrack before capping it all off with a glute-busting, 9.5-km trail run that promises to “separate the truly committed from the woefully unprepared.” The entire standard course features approximately 950 metres of elevation gain.

A roughly half-distance “sprint” option is also available — don’t worry, race organizers assure us that it still features plenty of grunty climbs and technical terrain — as is a relay category for teams of two or three.

Though Cumberland has hosted plenty of bike races and the annual MOMAR adventure race, it’s never held an off-road triathlon. Nonetheless, Cumberland’s hilly, technical terrain has proven an ideal training ground for world-class cross triathletes. The Comox Valley is home to no fewer than five athletes who have represented Canada at world championship cross triathlon events, including Cumberland’s own 2016 national champion Clay Ward. At the 2016 National Cross Triathlon Championships, the Valley “owned the podium,” finishing first, second and third in the M30-34 category, first in the F30-34 category and second in the M40-44 division.

“Cumberland is a fantastic place to ride and run,” said Linda Nagle, Triathlon BC’s cross triathlon specialist. “It has a fantastic atmosphere and amazing trails, and I highly recommend that people come and check it out. If this is going to be your first off-road race, you’re in for a great experience.”

PACE Multisport Dodge City X is a community initiative organized by local non-profit Steam Donkey Racing and spearheaded by local cross triathlete Ryan Parton. Net proceeds will benefit the United Riders of Cumberland, a grassroots organization that maintains and manages access to Cumberland’s trail network.

For more information, check out the website.

If you’re looking for a swimmer or other teammate to join your relay team, or if you’d like to join a team, search for “Dodge City X – Need a Relay Partner?” on Facebook.