A Canadian Winter Triathlon: The Ottawa Winterlude Triathlon

Light reading on Canadian winter sports:

A Canadian Who Loves Winter

As a Canadian, I love the winters here in Canada in all its glory. There is nothing more majestic than the first snowfall of the season. It arrives with crisp grey clouds, cool temperatures and large snowflakes that flutter down towards Earth. Up here in Canada, we see a drastic change in the amount of sunlight that we have each day. Beginning on the fall solstice on September 22, we begin to lose daylight as the sun rises later and the sun sets earlier. By October, we can see a visible difference on a daily basis as our days get shorter and our nights grow longer. To survive a Canadian winter, one learns to love the outdoors and the sports associated with the cold weather. From street hockey to ice hockey, snowshoeing to dog sledding, skiing to skating, waterfall ice climbing to ice fishing, and everything in between, we take to the outdoors and enjoy the sun as much as possible. Without our outdoor winter sports, we would experience cabin fever – a craziness that sets in when one is “stuck” indoors for too long without a change of scenery and fresh air.

There are many sports that are very well known. Sports such as ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating, skiing, and freestyle snowboarding but have you heard about the winter triathlon? Unique to the Nation’s Capital of Ottawa, it is known as the Winterlude Triathlon.

The Traditional Triathlon


What is a triathlon?  Traditionally, a triathlon is a multi-sport endurance event that consists of three segments.  These segments are consecutive and require the athlete to swim, bicycle and run.  The race is timed, and the timing includes the transition times as the athlete changes from one venue to the next. 

For a general idea of the type of race that the athlete competes in are categorized as the following by the International Triathlon Union are:   Sprint distance (750 m swim, 20 km bike, 5 km run), Intermediate distance, commonly referred to as "Olympic distance" (1.5 km swim, 40 km ride, 10 km run), the Long Course (1.9 km swim, 90 km ride, 21.1 km run, such as the Half Ironman), and Ultra Distance (3.8 km swim, 180 km ride, and a marathon 42.2 km run). 

In the world of fitness, a triathlon is one of the sports that demand the athletes to be in top shape to perform properly.  Unlike most sports, a triathlon requires an athlete to be proficient in two out of three sports

Courtesty of:  www.msievents.com
Courtesty of: www.msievents.com
Courtesty of: www.xtri.com
Courtesty of: www.xtri.com
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Courtesty of: www.runnersweb.com

The Winter Triathlon

In a winter triathlon, it is common to have a combination of segments involving cross-country skiing, running and biking through snow. In Canada, our Winterlude Triathlon requires the athlete to ice skate, cross-country ski and run during one of the coldest months of winter: February. As it is challenging in the sense of temperature and terrain conditions, the skating segment for the 2012 Winterlude Triathlon will be 8 km, the cross-country skiing segment will be 5 km followed by a 5 km run through the snow.

The Ottawa Winterlude Triathlon


The Ottawa Winterlude Triathlon takes place on Dows Lake with ice skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway.  The Rideau Canal is infamous for being the world’s largest outdoor skating rink with a total cleared path of 7.8 km (4.8 miles) and an equivalent surface area of 90 Olympic hockey rinks.  The Rideau Canal, when not being used for the Triathlon, is a commonplace for gatherings of friends and families for recreational skating.  Along the Canal are stations that sell cups of hot chocolate, beaver tails (an original Canadian treat and a “must try”) as well as stations that rent ice skates or ice sleds.  There is always entertainment along the way from musicians to magicians to singing around bonfires.  As a tradition, the Rideau Canal Skateway is opened in conjunction with the beginning of the Winterlude Festival.  On February 5, 2010, the opening ceremonies will mark the 32nd Winterlude Festival and the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Rideau Canal Skateway. 

Enjoy the Winter!

For a bit of fun and a twist on an outdoor sport, come and visit (either in person or virtually) the Ottawa Winterlude Triathlon.

Not only will you be witness to a winter triathlon, but you will also witness many more unique winter sports!


Written By: Beth H.

Copyright © 2010

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Beth100 profile image

Beth100 19 months ago from Canada Author

Vince, thank you for stopping by to read my article.

Vince Corlew 2 years ago

I am a bad swimmer as a triathlete, but I can't imagine how bad your legs would burn doing cycling, running, and cross country skiing. That sounds a lot more painful,



Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada Author

Toneyahuja -- Thanks, and the supplies you sell are great! Thanks for the link!

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toneyahuja 6 years ago from India

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Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada Author

Tours de Sport -- Oh yea! Winter is a one of the most fun seasons but only if you participate in the sports offered this time of year. Snowballs -- so much fun!! Thanks!

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada Author

Ski Organizers - The winter triathlon is a challenging sport. It not only challenges your own endurance but yourself in improving with each race. It's loads of fun for those who like to stretch themselves to the limits. Thanks for coming by.

Tours De Sport 6 years ago

Winter season are really fun you have the chance to made snowballs, and of course, everybody can ski or snowboard.

Ski Organizers 6 years ago

Winter Triathlon are really challenging.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada Author

Raisingme -- Northern BC is wonderously beautiful!! I grew up in the Rockies, and I miss the "real" snowfalls and the crispness of the air. It's beautiful here in Ottawa during the winter months, but they are much more milder than in the Rockies. If you come out this way, give me a shout. I'd be glad to meet up with you and take you for a tour of the town! I really enjoyed what you have shared with me. Thank you.

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

I enjoyed reading Hub, especially given that I grew up in Northern B.C. Have lived in the Lower Mainland all of my adult life and still miss the winters. I loved how the sky could be cloudless for days when the ground was buried in snow. On the endless rainy west coast days I use those "touchstones" to raise my spirits! When we do get snow everyone pours outside to enjoy it. If not for the few snowfalls neighbours would not see each other from October to April. Many people head for the mountains to get their "snow fix". I would love to see Ottawa in the winter - thanks for the window! Well Done!

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada Author

Molly -- There are sports for all seasons here in Canada, as we do experience all four seasons. Thanks again for your comments. I appreciate them.

Molly 6 years ago

I didn't know there are winter triathlons. I will have to read more about this subject.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 6 years ago from Canada Author

Shawn, When I moved to Texas and lived for a year plus there, I missed the cold Canadian winter, especially the snow. Go figure! In fact, I became quite fed up with the hot, humid weather and the sun every day. lol Call me a crazy Canuk, but I love my winters!!! Come on up, and I'll change your mind about our winters. :) Thanks for driving by! :D

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srwnson 6 years ago from anywhere at anytime

When I was driving...I was stuck for a week in Blain Washington that is right on the Canadian border. I don't see how you folks can take it.

Sam Southerner

Great Hub

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Coolmon -- I'm sorry that you're homesick! I understand completely. Good thing there's satellite and internet -- you can catch up on the hockey! Enjoy Saturday Night Hockey tonight!

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

Good Article - It made me a little home sick; I miss the live hockey games, but I can watch a few on TV here

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Steven -- Don't you know it! :)

Ann Nonymous (love your name!) -- Ah, snow storms! Aren't they fun?!? I happen to love them, unless I'm stranded in the middle of one. Thank you for your wonderful feedback, I really appreciate it. And, yes, it's a good thing I'm Canadian, or I'd be living in sunny Cali!

Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

Great hub, Beth! Beautiful pictures and of course very fitting to what many are experiencing right now! Having lived through another "snowstorm" yesterday I appreciate this subject all the more...everything is a winter wonderland outside...breathtaking! However I will admit I am not such an avid winter lover as you and many of the Canadians...better you than me!!!! haha

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago

Yeah, I agree with you about that. especially if that company is a girl like you. ;) :)

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Steven -- You make me smile. :) There are sooo many winter sports, it would make your mind spin. And in Canada, we have dog sled racing to bed racing to polar bear swimming. And everything in between. But the best...a nice hot sizzling fire in a fireplace, a cuppa hot favorite, good music and great company. Now, that's livin'! :)

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 7 years ago

This is a great hub Beth. To be honest, I never realized how many great sporting events went on up in Canada, until I started following you. I guess that's one of the main reasons why I always liked your work because I always learn new and interesting things from you all the time.

Plus, the fact, I kind of have a crush on the writer of this hub. ;)

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Joyceann0129 -- Thank you for reading and for providing some feedback.

joyceann0129 profile image

joyceann0129 7 years ago from philippines

great post^^

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

TnFlash -- Isn't that great?!? You didn't have to brave the cold to experience it all! Thanks for coming by and leaving me your comments.

TnFlash profile image

TnFlash 7 years ago from Tampa, Florida

Great Hub! But I have to agree with dohn121. I'm worn out just reading this! Good Work!

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

MPM - You'll just have to come on up and see what we do up here during the cold months! Nothing like sipping a cup of your favorite hot drink around a toasty fire after a spending a day in the nippy outdoors!

manlypoetryman profile image

manlypoetryman 7 years ago from (Texas !) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before...

Well...It sure looks like great Country to run, ski, skate in...or whatever y'all do up in there in all that cold weather...:)....but it sure does look cold, too...at the same time!

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Sarah -- Merci, ma belle fille! I'm glad that you read it and enjoyed it. Perhaps we can go and watch it in two weeks' time? xox

Sarah 7 years ago

Another good hub! :D

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

PDH -- Thanks Maita...maybe if we run, skate and ski, we can keep warm. Still, remember to bring the hot toddy! :)

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

oh Beth, never thought about this and you did a good job friend, first time to know it, Thanks dear, Maita

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada Author

Dohn -- Somehow, I can just picture you out here in the cold running through the snow! And when you've completed the race, sitting down with a mug of steaming hot chocolate and a big chocolate beaver tail! I'll explain what these are in another hub. :) Thanks Dohn for your great comments!

RedElf -- Oh my! I couldn't imagine eating the tails of real beavers!!! They're our national symbol!!! Yes, I was referring to the pastry....mmmm, so scrumptous! Thanks RedElf for helping to clarify between the real and impostering beaver tails! :)

RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

Nice hub, Beth! I'm hoping you don't mean the traditional, honest-to-goodness, came-off-the-back-end-of-a-real-beaver, beaver. The Inuit kids I went to school with in the arctic thought it was quite a delicacy ;) You mean the pastry, right?

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Winter Triathlon? I got exhausted and began sweating just thinking about it1 Great hub, Beth! You're gong to have to explain what a beaver tail is as I'm very interested to know! I lived in Plattsburgh, NY for four years and that was cold enough for me!

Thank you again!

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