Race Report – 2021 Barrie Triathlon

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Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Cory Kawa

Two weeks ago I raced the 2021 Barrie triathlon, my first triathlon since setting a PB at the 2019 Niagara Falls Barrelman.

Twenty-three long months.

Celebratory pose at the 2019 Niagara Falls Barrelman 70.3
Setting a 70.3 PB of 5:47.42 at the 2019 Barrelman

And I’ve missed it, every little thing about it. The early morning starts. The nervous excitement of toeing the start line before the whistle blows.

Twenty-three months with no races to motivate me.

I’ve slipped and slipping sucks.

…I miss racing.

So, when the amazing team at Multisport Canada announced a 2021 triathlon series, I set the registration date in my calendar, woke up bright and early on August 4, waited by the computer at 8:55, wore out my mouse refreshing constantly refreshing the page, and got my spot.

With that, I bring you the 2021 Barrie Sprint Triathlon Report.

Registration and COVID Protocols

I want to first thank the team at Multisport Canada for being amazing.

Three days before race day, I opened my email, saw my start wave, and immediately went into a panic. It seems in my haste, I accidentally signed up for the duathlon, not the triathlon.

Panic probably isn’t even the right word. I fully freaked out.

And the team at Multisport Canada, who I’m sure was busy with much better things to do, was super amazing in righting my wrongs, so THANK YOU!

Living in the times of COVID, safety is always a concern, but not in Barrie, with app-based screening, verification checks upon arrival, better spacing in transition, wave starts, and little things like no posted results or after race festivities, every precaution was taken, making any comfort level feel as safe as can be.

Morning of and Setting up Transition

I’m not a morning person.

Waking at 4:30, leaving at 5:30, arriving by 6:30, to be ready to race as early as 7:30 wasn’t going to be an option.

Thank you to the magic of Airbnb I was able to find an amazing room, with a fantastic host, offering a full bed and breakfast type of experience at Come From Away. If you’re ever in the area and in need of a place to stay I couldn’t recommend her enough.

I fell asleep early, got up early and was ready to race.

First things first, complete my COVID check, drive ten minutes to the start, pick up my kit at the empty registration station, and set up transition.

Arriving at 7:00 I thought I’d be one of the first to arrive.

I was wrong.

I guess I’m not the only person jonesing for a race.

2021 Barrie Triathlon Transition
An Early Start with a Full Transition

I tried to keep my transition simple with two Clif Bars, bike shoes with socks stuffed inside, a race id belt, a towel to dry my feet, and a new pair of Saucony Kinvara running shoes.

If I could change anything in the future, I think I’ll hope to shave 30-45 seconds by skipping the socks.

Setting up transition with shoes, towels, fuel, and race belt.
Setting Up My Spot at Transition at the 2021 Barrie Triathlon

750m Swim

I have to say I liked the swim setup, waves of 25, no fighting for space in the water and the added benefit of watching earlier waves go.

The swim course ran straight out to the right of the SUPs, turning at the far triangle seen in the top left, right to the next row, and back to the shore on the right-hand side.

2021 Barrie Triathlon swim start
Waves of 25 at the Barrie Triathlon

The unexpected benefit of a short course wave start… watching the leaders come out of the water.

First out, Jessie the Elf, on the way to a 2nd place finish.

Jessie the Elf first out of the water, at the 2021 Barrie Triathlon
First Out of the Water Jessie the Elf on the Way to a 2nd Place Finish

Racing is always a funny thing for me.

I love it. That feeling at the end is amazing.

The butterflies at the beginning, thinking about how in just a few minutes the whistle will sound, and then I’m going to suffer, not only that, I’m choosing to suffer and I always wonder why.

Why choose to suffer?

I know I’m not winning anything. I know this is all for a participation ribbon. Why not sit back, lay down, and enjoy the day?

Then, I think to the finish, how amazing it’ll be to finish, and before I know it, the whistle blows, the time for fear, uncertainty, and doubt ends, and I’m off.

Exiting the Swim With a Time of 17:16, 99th Overall (photo credit @donald.leblanc)

Final swim placing, 99/245 overall, 66/155 gender, and 14/26 in the 40-45 category.

20km Bike – 4x5km Loop Course

Exiting the water, it was time for my first transition in 23 months, and it wasn’t a good one, as I fumbled to take off my wetsuit then put on my socks en route to a 3:37 swim to bike transition.

The bike followed a 4 x 5km closed-to-traffic loop course along the scenic and relatively flat Lakeshore Drive.

After a summer of gravel riding on treacherous ATV tracks and all sorts of crazy climbing backroads, my 31.9km average speed felt blazingly fast, so fast that I grew complacent and probably didn’t push myself as hard as I could.

I finished the bike, expecting to blow away some of the competition.

That definitely wasn’t the case.

Final placing after the bike, 123/245 overall, 89/155 gender, and 16/26 in the 40-45 category.

Unfortunately, despite seeing quite a few photographers on the course, none were affiliated with the event, and no photos of me were found.

5km Run – 2×2.5km Loop Course

Coming out off the bike, I felt fantastic.

With no wetsuit or socks to slow me down, I exited transition two minutes and seventeen seconds later, feeling fantastic.

Like really good, fuelling dreams of pushing beyond my limits, and hitting my first sub 22:30 5km in 2021..

Unfortunately, after a fast start, my pace slowed dramatically.

By the end of lap four, I was mad.

Mad at myself for playing it safe and not leaving it all out there.

With just over a km to go, I decided to give it my all, hitting 4:40 in lap five, en route to a final run time of 24:28.

Finishing the Run at the 2021 Barrie Triathlon in 24:28, 110th Overall, (photo credit @donald.leblanc)

Final placing after the run, 110/245 overall, 84/155 gender, and 17/26 in the 40-45 category.

2021 Barrie Triathlon Final Thoughts

Celebrating My First Tri in Twenty Three Long Months, (photo credit @donald.leblanc)

I’ve missed racing.

I’ve missed everything about it. The early wake-up, the welcoming voice of Steve Fleck (Multisport Canada Race Day announcer), the energy of walking into setup transition, the butterflies as I step up to the start, and the energy of everyone around me as I push myself harder than I ever can on my own.

Thank you to Multisport Canada for putting on such a great event.

The class of your team and the organization of your events are always fantastic.

As for the race itself, it was a bit of a strange one for me. Normally I’m in the bottom third in the swim, about average for the bike, and pull out a top twenty percentile run.

For the first time in my life, my swim was the strongest today and my run, well, not so great.

All the motivation I need to push a little harder for Gravenhurst.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. Multisport Canada, I’ve done lots of your events and really appreciate that I’ve never had to pay for pictures. Unfortunately, that also means I’ve rarely been able to find many pictures, despite three Barrelman’s and almost all the others. I’ll gladly pay for photos if it encourages more to come out.

Extra P.S. If anyone knows anyone who has any bike or run photos I’d love to get in touch. I know quite a few people got some shots.

A Few More Race Day Photos Courtesty of @donald.leblanc

Special thanks to @donald.leblanc on Instagram for being an all-around great guy and for being kind enough to share his race day photos.

I hope to see you in Welland.

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