As a born and raised Calgarian, I have to say that one thing that we most certainly pride ourselves on is our friendly western hospitality. Having briefly perused through the start list for this Sunday’s race I couldn’t help but notice how many out of towners we have racing this Sunday. Owing no doubt to the one hundred 70.3 World Championship slots, my sincere hope is that all of our guests find much more to our beautiful city than just their tickets to Mont Tremblant.
So on that note, I thought I’d take a few quick moments to post some tips and places to go for our out of town guests before, during, and after the race.
- Best place to get your last swim in before the race– Hopefully you’re able to get into Auburn Bay in the next day or two, but if you can’t, you can swim alongside some of western Canada’s top swim clubs at the Talisman Centre. This great venue with two Olympic sized pools also happens to be where race package pickup is so it’ll be pretty easy to spend some time in this great facility and immerse yourself amongst other athletes.
- Best place for a pre-race dinner– If you’re looking to go out with your family for dinner one or two days before the race and would like to indulge yourself with some pasta and awesome Italian food, my favorite spot is Cibo located on 17th Avenue. The two story restaurant complete with a patio to bask in the sun is in a historic building and serves some of the best family style Italian food on this side of the Rockies. And if you’re looking to grab a bite before the athlete meeting on Friday, between 3pm and 5pm Cibo has $5 pizza and $5 glasses of wine.
- Top spot for your friends and family to cheer you on during the run – The Calgary 70.3 run course is great for spectators and for the most part the course remains open for people to move around. But if you want to choose a section where cheers will really push the athletes along, look no further than what’s dubbed by some as “Heartbreak Hill”. Located just west of the corner of 66th Avenue and 37th Street SW 200m on the run route, sticking around here keeps you close to the T2 transition so your friends can see you go by several times. The “heartbreak” part comes as they are on their way back in from the out and back to the south side of the reservoir. About 16km into the race athletes will run, walk, and grind their way up this hill before they finish the final leg of their race. This is where grit, determination, and encouragement means everything. Tell your friends and family that when they get here, they’ve got to cheer loud and clear for the athletes.
- Best spot for a post race ice cream – Not too far from the finisher area, in a part of the city called Marda Loop, you’ll find “My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe”. This 60’s style ice cream shop is a popular spot for locals in the summer time and boasts more flavors than you’ll know what to do with. Perfect to let loose and reward yourself after a day in the sun racing.
- Best spot for a post race beer– Well, the best place for a post race brew is going to be in the finisher area, but if you’re looking for a draft later in the day, National on 10th has plenty of local craft beers, a wicked Turkey Burger, and a bowling alley. It’s a local hotspot on Friday and Saturday nights, but post race on Sunday you’ll have no problem grabbing yourself a table and getting a cold one. My favorite brew, the Village Wit.
- Best spot to go back in time- When you have the choice of everything from a thundering steam train to antique midway rides to beautifully preserved heritage buildings and homesteads, deciding what to do first isn’t easy. Located in Calgary, Alberta, Heritage Park is Canada’s largest living history museum, with hundreds of exhibits, rides, shops, restaurants and daily demonstrations and activities to keep the young and the young-at-heart captivated in the past. No two days at the Park are the same, so come back as often as you like for a history lesson you won’t find in any textbook.
- Best place to do things you won’t be able to do anywhere else– Winsport Canada is hands down one of the coolest places in Calgary. Mountain biking, zip lining, and bobsledding are among some of the awesome summer activities you can do at Winsport Canada. The venue is also the location of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. The award-winning 40,000 sq. ft. facility features 12 galleries with more than 50 hands-on interactive exhibits and a collection of 95,000 treasured sport artefacts which help to tell the stories of Canada’s greatest sport heroes. Starting with an11-minute feature film playing every half-hour, you can participate in sport challenges and shadow box with Lennox Lewis, use touch screens and get a ski lesson from Kerrin Lee-Gartner, activate 3D simulations and catch a fast ball from an MLB pitcher, and more!
- Top destination for that guilty pleasure burger you’ve been waiting for– Peter’s Drive In has been serving customers for decades. This 60’s style drive through has stayed true to its recipes and stayed with a tried and true formula for great burgers, thick milkshakes, and huge orders of fries. Grab a burger here and then drive on over to the corner of 1st street NW and Crescent Road NW for an amazing view of Calgary’s downtown skyline and sit back and relax.
I sincerely hope that your stay in Calgary is awesome and as always if you have any race specific questions, feel free to ask me by social media or in the comments section below. In the meantime, here’s a few blog posts that I’ve written over the years on Calgary 70.3.
2013 Calgary 70.3 Race Report – https://www.shutuplegs.org/calgary-70-3-race-report/
Calgary 70.3 Bike Course – https://www.shutuplegs.org/new-calgary-70-3-bike-course/
Post Script- This turned into a bit of a “Places to Eat” in Calgary blog post… but I guess that’s just the triathlete in me coming out. Eat. Eat. Eat.