IRONMAN Spectator Information

The athletes doing an IRONMAN event have a tough day ahead of them.  But lets not kid ourselves, so do the spectators!  Months, if not years, of preparation goes into making an athlete get to the level physical fitness where they can compete and complete an IRONMAN.  Equally, though, there are months, if not years, of compromise and sacrifice that the families and friends of the athlete have to make to ensure that the athlete reaches their goal.

General Tips and Advice

As Lee Gruenfeld writes in a article about IRONMAN spectating:

“There are nine thousand books and ten times that many magazine articles telling you how to train for the IRONMAN. Remarkably, there is nothing anywhere telling you how to watch the IRONMAN. What makes this so weird is that there are vastly greater numbers of people who watch the race than actually do it.”

So before we get into the meat of professional spectating, here are some tips for spectating:

  1. Have a Game Plan: know roughly when the athlete(s) you are following will be where.  They have trained for months, so they should have a rough idea of this.  Then using a little math you can figure out where to position yourself on the course, and how much time you have to get there.  Let the athlete(s) know your plan, so they can watch for you at these locations!
  2. Get Into The Action Yourself: It takes over 2000 people to provide all of the volunteer support for the IRONMAN, and 500 for the 70.3.  Click here to sign up to volunteer so you can be up close and personal with the athletes!
  3. Protect yourself: Put on sunscreen, drink plenty of liquids, and all the other stuff that your mom told you way back when you were a kid.  Don’t take candy from a stranger.
  4. Cheer for the athletes in general:  Everyone needs encouragement to keep their bodies moving.  17 hours is a long time, and they couldn’t do it without the spectators.
  5. Enjoy your day as much as the athletes are enjoying theirs:  There is a lot to do, and our community has so much to offer.  Go hang out at a restaurant or pub, create an adventure of your own, or simply enjoy the relaxed atmosphere that Muskoka is so well known for.
  6. Move around the course: Not only will your photos have a different backdrop, but it is nice to take in the race course that the athletes are participating in.  The little villages of Dorset, Dwight, and Baysville and the road in between offer some great vistas where spectators can congregate to create a Tour de France feeling with crowds cheering the athletes on.
  7. Follow them online: Consider downloading the app “IronTrac” from iTunes so that you can track the splits of the athletes that you are following during the day.  This is only on Apple products however.
  8. Wifi connections: most restaurants and stores in the downtown core have Wifi, so ask them if you can use it.  There is also a public access WiFi called “HuntsvilleAdventures”.  There is a pop up window to agree to the terms, but then you are surfing!
  9. Help us document the weekend through social media:  Like the old saying goes, “You tag us, and we will tag you back!  We want to help you spread the word you are sending to your social media friends.  Tag us and we will retweet/repost/share your posts!  Help us document the day from your perspective…the ups, the downs, and everything in between!  Make sure you follow us on our social media accounts and use the special Ironman Muskoka handles, and if a business has a social media handle, use it too!
  10. Take Lots of Pictures!  You might have the winning shot:

Ironman Muskoka Photo Contest

2539187066_fb6fc70e60Attention all photographers of all skill levels. The Muskoka Photography Club and TriMuskoka would like you to participate in photographically documenting the upcoming historic inaugural Muskoka Ironman on August 30th, 2015 in Huntsville and Lake of Bays.

We would like action photographs (ACTION category) of the athletes swimming, biking, running and in transition. As well we would like you to photograph any other aspect of our community that impressed you during the event (GENERAL category). These could be landscapes (both natural and man-made), people shots, crowd shots, event shots and so on – the kinds of pictures you would show your friends so they could get some sense of the area in which the event was held.

There will be prizes supplied by Huntsville’s Cavalcade Colour Lab Photo Source for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in each of the following categories:

  • Action
  • General

All you have to do, is simply have to upload your best photo in each category by noon of August 31st and a panel of professional photographers will judge the submissions and announce the winners on September 6th.

Prizes:

  • 1st prize $100 worth of photo processing at Cavalcade Photo Lab
  • 2nd prize $50 worth of photo processing at Cavalcade Photo Lab
  • 3rd prize $25 worth of photo processing at Cavalcade Photo Lab

To upload your photo:

  • Go to WeTransfer (a secure large file transfer site)
  • At the initial prompt asking you if you are interested in WeTransfer Plus, select "Skip"
  • Agree to the terms
  • Follow these instructions on the screen

Click here for contest details and how to submit your photos

Plan

If you have ever been to an IRONMAN event in the past as a spectator, you will know that there are long periods of time where athletes are out on the course that spectators are left with a “what to do” feeling until the athletes that they are watching come back from the bike or run.

We have a plethora of activities going on to keep spectators and the kids occupied with their IronPartners, IronMoms and IronDads are out battling the beast!  All day kids activities in the downtown core, a beer and wine tent for the adults, yoga of every form (yes, even SUP yoga!) all day!  Maybe a bouncy castle or two…

 

Ironman Muskoka Spectator Guide

Our Ironman Muskoka Experience Committee is trying to give you and your family a relaxed, and truly Muskokan experience to your race week.  River Mill Park, situated right in downtown Huntsville, will be the place to hang out before and during race day.

We know, we have heard it all before about Ironman events, and "IronSpectating".  Once the athletes are off on their Ironman Muskoka journey, and are taking on the beast, what do the supporters have to do?  Well LOTS!  Check out the schedule of events below that we have going on for athletes, volunteers, spectators, and local residents in the days leading up to the race.  But even more, check out what we have in store for race day!
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Click on the thumbnail to see a large version.  To print it off, right click on the image and select "Print..."

Click here for a printable (PDF) version:Ironman Muskoka Spectator Guide

 

Click on the picture below and have a look here at all the activities that our Ironman Muskoka Experience Committee has in store for you:

ironweek events-3

Parking

If possible it is best to leave your car at your accommodations and make your way to Deerhurst from there by taxi, foot or bike. Otherwise, parking can be found at one of these locations

Read More

  • Deerhurst Airstrip: located just east of Highway 60 and Canal Road, this is the main site of parking for the race venue.  Shuttle buses run continually between this parking location and Deerhurst Resort.  Leading up to the race, athletes can drive right up to Deerhurst Resort and drop their bikes off in transition.  Alternatively, it is a quick 2km walk/run/bike to Deerhurst from the airstrip if you don’t want to wait for the shuttle.  For spectating, after spectators see their athlete leave transition, shuttles will continue to run so that people can get to their cars so that they can make their way out to various locations on the bike and run course to spectate.
  • Hidden Valley Ski Hill: You can park right at the parking lot of the ski hill itself, which is a short walk to Deerhurst from there if you don’t want to take the shuttle bus.

Take the shuttle bus to and from the downtown!

The Ironman Muskoka Shuttle Bus System

Thanks to the fantastic and super generous Rotarians, we have a great way for athletes and spectators to get around over the course of the weekend.

There are shuttles that are leaving from Deerhurst and heading towards downtown Huntsville regularly to help you keep your car at your accommodations.  If your accommodations are not on the bus route, then by all means drive to somewhere close to one of the pick up stations and catch a ride in by the shuttle system.

On race day, there will be buses taking spectators out to Dwight and Baysville to enjoy the sights and sounds of these great little communities.

 
Ironman Muskoka Bus Schedule 2015

 

Click Here To Open A Printable Version of the Ironman Muskoka Shuttle Bus Schedule

 

 

Getting out to see the athletes on the bike course:

  1. Dwight has a great beach for families to hang out at, build sandcastles and swim until you can't swim no more! Make sure you bring a towel and your swimsuits with you! There are some cafe's down in this quaint little village for you to grab a snack at as well.
  2. Baysville is a great little town in Lake of Bays, where there is a great park, lots of cafes and restaurants, and of course the award winning Lake of Bays Brewery. Check in there, hang out on their patio and what the bikes go by.

Getting out to see the athletes on the run course:

There are many great vantage points to get out on the run course. Of course you could drive, but why drive when there is a shuttle bus system in place. The roads are still open, but if you have your own bike, and you handle it safely and according to Ontario laws, you can get around this way as well. There are a number of great things to do along the course, and tons of cafe's, restaurants, and stores to stop into along the way.

Here are the three main stops:

  1. Huntsville Place Mall: this is close to the fourth aid station. There is are a number of large chain and family owned stores in this area, plus is about a 500m walk to a playground that is right on the run course (on Meadow Park Drive)
  2. Boston Pizza and River Mill Park: These are right downtown. Hop off here, join the massive festival that we are having in the downtown where there are a number of opportunities for the kids to have fun in River Mill Park. Grab some street chalk, get your face painted, jump in the bouncy castle, or find a quiet corner to sip away at a beverage of your choice.

Here is a link to the interactive map about where the pick up and drop off stations are.

 

Where are some great locations to spectate during the race

Of course you could stand around the transition zone waiting to see the athletes come in, but with several hours to kill, why not try to get out on the course to see them in action!

Read More

During the Ironman 70.3 Muskoka, shuttle buses will move athletes and spectators from the Deerhurst Air Strip to the Main Lodge at Deerhurst. The majority of the race course can be accessed easily by driving counter clockwise along the race course as the course is not closed in that direction. Click here to see our best locations where to view athletes on the course and how to get there without much difficulty:

Bike Course:

  • Dwight Beach: just off of highway 60, and about 15 minutes from Deerhurst, this is a long stretch of flat road with great vistas so you can see athletes come.  At this location, there is a sandy beach with shallow water entry that stretches along the whole road which makes it great if you have kids, or if you just want to hang out on the beach!
  • Baysville: this quaint village to the south of Huntsville is the site of the second bottle exchange on the course.  We have arranged for buses to take spectators out there to watch bikers, so take a peek at the shuttle schedule on the IRONWeek page. There is a great park close to the bridge where spectators can hang out.  Make sure to check out the Lake of Bays Brewery, and there are a number of eateries in Baysville worth checking out.
  • South Portage Road and Brunel:  This is the third corner of the bike course, and is easily accessible from Huntsville and is about 20 minutes from Deerhurst.  You can see athletes turn onto South Portage and then head downtown to wait for them for when they come through on the run course.  NOTE: there is no formal “parking area” here, and you will be parking on the side of the road.  Please park well off onto the side of the road so your car is not on the pavement, or pull onto a side street and walk down.  Brunel is one of the more used roads in our community.
  • North Portage Road and South Portage Road: This can be a bit tricky and I would recommend that you go to Dwight Beach before you go here.  To get here though you will have to head east on Highway 60 (towards Ottawa) to get there safely without entering the bike course too much and you will be going against the flow of bike traffic.  But this might be a good spot to cheer people on late in the bike when they are going on the final 8km stretch which is notorious for being challenging as they are ready to make the final trek back to transition at Deerhurst.  We call this part “The tongue and the tail of The Beast”.  There is a small grassy area there, and with the lake right there, you can take a dip while you wait.

Run Course:

Click here to view our Google Spectator Map

The run course was designed not only for its exposure to our historic community, but also as a course that is extremely easy for spectators to watch the IRONMAN athletes at virtually any point along the run course. Hop in the car and drive to any number of places on the course, or better yet bring a bike and bike to different vantage points yourself.  Stop in the downtown core for a treat or shop while you wait for your athlete to come by and pass by you again as they commence their return trip to Deerhurst Resort

Here are a couple of great places to congregate

    • Canal Road and Highway 60: as this is close to where the Deerhurst Airstrip parking lot is, you can take the shuttle there, get off and walk 100m to this corner where there is a nice median that you can cheer athletes on as they start their trek towards Huntsville.
    • Szalowski Lane and Highway 60: Well, the best part of this spot is that there are four great places to eat, including 3 Guys and a Stove, and a local favorite ice cream shop at Kawartha Dairy.  This is the mid point of the run course at just over 5km into the course.  There are a couple of places to park here, so you can park and watch athletes as they pass by.
    • Huntsville’s Downtown Main Street and Swing Bridge: This is probably the best place to watch the run.  The streets are closed and the energy level is high as athletes run up the Main Street right through the downtown of our beautiful and historic community.  Just one road over from Main Street is River Mill Park, where there is ample green space and a great playground for the kids to hang out at.  There are a number of restaurants and businesses in the downtown core that will also welcome you and make the spectator experience as great as it is for the athlete.

Shuttle Buses

The main shuttle bus runs a continuous loop from the Deerhurst Airstrip located on Highway 60 just east of Canal Road.  It travels to Deerhurst via Hidden Valley Road, and is complimentary.  Athletes and spectators will not be able to bring bikes on the bus, so, if you have one, we ask that you either drive it up and drop it off at Deerhurst or bike it in from the airstrip.

The Ironman Muskoka Shuttle Bus System

Thanks to the fantastic and super generous Rotarians, we have a great way for athletes and spectators to get around over the course of the weekend.

There are shuttles that are leaving from Deerhurst and heading towards downtown Huntsville regularly to help you keep your car at your accommodations.  If your accommodations are not on the bus route, then by all means drive to somewhere close to one of the pick up stations and catch a ride in by the shuttle system.

On race day, there will be buses taking spectators out to Dwight and Baysville to enjoy the sights and sounds of these great little communities.

 
Ironman Muskoka Bus Schedule 2015

 

Click Here To Open A Printable Version of the Ironman Muskoka Shuttle Bus Schedule

 

 

Getting out to see the athletes on the bike course:

  1. Dwight has a great beach for families to hang out at, build sandcastles and swim until you can't swim no more! Make sure you bring a towel and your swimsuits with you! There are some cafe's down in this quaint little village for you to grab a snack at as well.
  2. Baysville is a great little town in Lake of Bays, where there is a great park, lots of cafes and restaurants, and of course the award winning Lake of Bays Brewery. Check in there, hang out on their patio and what the bikes go by.

Getting out to see the athletes on the run course:

There are many great vantage points to get out on the run course. Of course you could drive, but why drive when there is a shuttle bus system in place. The roads are still open, but if you have your own bike, and you handle it safely and according to Ontario laws, you can get around this way as well. There are a number of great things to do along the course, and tons of cafe's, restaurants, and stores to stop into along the way.

Here are the three main stops:

  1. Huntsville Place Mall: this is close to the fourth aid station. There is are a number of large chain and family owned stores in this area, plus is about a 500m walk to a playground that is right on the run course (on Meadow Park Drive)
  2. Boston Pizza and River Mill Park: These are right downtown. Hop off here, join the massive festival that we are having in the downtown where there are a number of opportunities for the kids to have fun in River Mill Park. Grab some street chalk, get your face painted, jump in the bouncy castle, or find a quiet corner to sip away at a beverage of your choice.

Here is a link to the interactive map about where the pick up and drop off stations are.

Why not move around the course by bike?

This race course was designed so that it would allow spectators to move around the course to see athletes compete in various locations.

One of the best, and most environmentally sensible, ways of doing this is to bike around yourself.

Read More

If you didn’t bring a bike yourself, there are a couple of places that you can rent bikes from if you don’t have your own.

    • Deerhurst Resort: check in at the Sports Desk to rent any number of their mountain bikes to use.
    • Algonquin Outfitters: this store located in downtown Huntsville has road and mountain bikes available to rent
    • Ontario Trysport: located in on highway 60, this store has some road bikes available for rent.

What to do during the race?

 

Head to Downtown Huntsville: On race day, leaving from the corner of Deerhurst Dr and Peninsula Dr, there will be a shuttle bus going downtown.  This will be a 15 minute ride, and will take spectators right to the heart of downtown.  It will be running from 930am utnil 500pm.  We want to spectators and local residents to come downtown to partake in the festivities that welcome the athletes as they reach the halfway mark on the run.  There are lots of places to eat, a wide variety of shops, a big childrens playground, and a fantastic waterfront awaiting visitors and spectators.  The MooseFM crew will be pumping out music through the downtown and a special waterstation put on by Algonquin Outfitters will be set up for the athletes.  Help us decorate the streets with street chalk and bring your noise makers as the buildings will make a natural tunnel for the thunderous noise which will welcome the athletes.  Click here to look at what more downtown Huntsville has to offer!

Our community has a number of fun and exciting things to do.  Visit our “Sightseeing and Activities” page for some ideas.