Instead of aiming for some sort of content balance on my blog, I am just going to continue to talk incessantly about one race, until I run out of things to say, before moving onto the next one that holds my attention.
And I have to say, with the recent announcement that the OCRWC 2016 will be held at Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario, Canada, it does not look like I will be running out of things to say any time soon.
Let me repeat that…
OCRWC 2016 will be held at Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario, Canada – on October 15th and 16th.
Phew. Mostly I am just happy to get rid of the tension headache from holding this secret for the last 12 hours or so.
Every single obstacle race taking place in Ontario – you owe a big thank you to the OCRWC organizers – you just got yourself a significant attendance boost. Obstacle racing aficionados that previously would not have been able to attend, will be registering for qualifying obstacle races right and left, starting today.
According to race organizers, a location outside of United States increases opportunities to showcase obstacles from partner obstacle race series. OCRWC Chief Operating Officer, Brad Kloha, says:
[quote]We consider all of our qualifying races as partner races as the goal is to push athletes to those events in order for them to qualify. Some we work with more closely with than others, but I think for any of those that have had obstacles on the course in previous years, there has certainly been an increase in interest in their races from athletes who have not been exposed to them before. We definitely saw an increase in the interest of races who wanted to have a featured obstacle from year 1 to year 2.[/quote]
Now, that you are all tickled 50 shades of pink, here are some things you need to know:
1.Canadians are nice.
They also do not lock doors, have universal health insurance, play hockey, eat (drink?) maple syrup, and love the cold weather. Right, guys? [I suck at this being a Canadian thing. I think I lost my Canadian card at “nice”].
Canadians also give the best hugs. Spontaneously. On street corners. [This I AM good at].
2.Blue Mountain Resort is not really in Toronto.
Even describing the location as Toronto-ish would be a stretch, as you are looking at a 2-hour drive from the city core. That’s without traffic. But most of you, experienced racers, are used to that.
If you are flying in, Pearson International Airport is north of the city, and you are escaping most of the traffic, heading further north, but you still have a bit of a drive ahead.
If you have not yet seen Niagara Falls, now is your chance – especially if you fly into Buffalo (this may be a cheaper option for many Americans).
3. There will be elevation. Ish.
Blue Mountain Resort is the closest place where Torontonians can get a bit of their skiing on. Although do not expect… you know… mountains. We are in Ontario, after all, so our definition of mountains is much more generous, and extends to medium hills.
4. Racecation will be a thing.
As more American and international racers will have to fly to the Championship, many will opt to turn the trip into a longer vacation. We have already seen this trend with European obstacle racers who combined racing at Tahoe with OCRWC in one trip.
According to Brad Kloha,
[quote] … this move will not only enhance the experience for the athletes, but for those they bring with them – friends, family, fans. We’re really shooting for a holistic experience that will make athletes feel like this is truly a goal and destination event, and that provides great opportunities for them to bring others with them to share in the whole experience.
We wanted to think about what Blue Mountain has to offer for all of those athletes who are traveling a significant distance, and proximity to Toronto will make this much more than weekend trip. All of that came into consideration for the selection of this specific venue for our first move away from where started.[/quote]
5.Where will you stay?
As race organizers have arranged partnerships (see here), including shuttles to the race venue, most athletes will probably be staying at the Athlete Village.
The actual Blue Mountain Resort is laid out similarly to Squaw Valley Resort in Tahoe, although with significantly bigger “entertainment district” – expect little streets with bars, restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. Now, you can too own a t-shirt with a maple leaf on it!
Those planning to come with a family (or with a tight budget) may want to entertain other options. You can arrange your own housing in Collingwood, pop’n 20,000, which is a short drive away from Blue Mountain Resort, has many lodging alternatives, and is often cheaper than staying at the resort.
Another alternative is Airbnb, which will have both individual rooms (for as little as $60) and whole houses available.
And, finally, do not discount camping. Craigleith Provincial Park offers campsites only three miles (!) away from the resort. And they operate until third week of October, that’s October 22 in 2016. How freaking convenient is that?
6. Tim Hortons is NOT like Dunkin Donuts.
Yes, they serve coffee there, but it is more of a religion. Do not forget to add “eh” at the end, when you order a “double-double”. Say “please” and “thank you”. And apologize profusely.
7. Canadian money is not funny.
It’s just… peculiar. Stop laughing, damn it! And it’s polymer, not plastic.
Canadian paper currency
8. Scandinave Spa.
Yep, that’s it. It’s a place where you get to frolic in Finnish Sauna, Hot Baths and other water things ALL DAY. I’d book a massage if I were you. [If we are “lucky”, there will be tons of snow in October. Ha!]
9. Cheers, eh?
The Blue Mountain Resort is only 30 minutes away from one of my favorite breweries – Creemore Springs Brewery. Beer snobs will be happy to know that their Premium Lager is excellent, and seasonal beers from urBock to Oktoberfest will rock your word. They rock mine. Regularly.
And yes, all the cars in Creemore look like that.
No, go get your damn passport in order. Hell, you have enough time to get a NEXUS card. Get that.