Okay, so you’ve qualified and registered for the 2017 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships and you’ve been a member of the Athlete Community for awhile. You’ve seen questions, answers, the same questions, the same answers, rinse and repeat. The event is just a few weeks away and while you were busy figuring out which counterfeit OCR World Championship competitor photo you wanted to emulate, and you forgot the answers to the questions you thought you knew. So, instead of you having to:1) be that gal/guy to post a repeat question or 2) email the team with something already covered in the FAQ, I’ve put together a bit of a guide/suggestion list which will cover oodles and oodles of information for the event. Let’s get poppin!
Whether you are flying or driving there are a few things you will want to do before you leave your house to head to Canada. Here are some really important ones:
- Bring your passport. Picture this: in your state of euphoria you packed your MudGear socks, LegendBorne Jersey and Charlie McElvy autographed parkour socks, but as you approach border patrol and reach into your Marena Sport pouch you feel a sudden sense of dread. You forgot your passport. Now you have to head home, re-book your flight and most likely miss the time cutoff for registration (more on this later). Bring your passport as you ain’t getting in without it!
- Call your bank or credit card company to let them know what’s up! Picture this: It’s something degrees celsius out (cold) and you are waiting patiently in line to get your OCRWC swag (buffs anyone!?). It is finally your turn and you are let into the trailer to peruse the 2017 designs. Out of the corner of your eye you spot the last zip up in your size and you quickly bring it to check out so you can keep up with the Quelers aaaaaaaand DECLINED. Did you forget to let your bank know that you would be dropping serious cheddar on apparel and poutine in Canada before you started swiping? Well, you should. This will also allow you to ask them what their transaction fees are for using your card in another country. Each institution is different, so be sure to call ahead so you don’t end up with unexpected costs. For me last year, the fees ended up basically equaling the currency exchange, so rather than worry about taking out and exchanging too much cash I just used my card. Oh, and the chip works much faster in Canada than in the USA. The more you know!
- There are multiple routes to get to Blue Mountain resort from the Toronto Pearson International Airport and some don’t have tolls! Last year, I brought my GPS with me to use in the rental car and it worked like a charm. I set it to no tolls and was able to save the money I didn’t spend on tolls purchasing some Tim Horton’s coffee. The venue’s address is 108 Jozo Weider Blvd, The Blue Mountains, ON L9Y 3Z2, Canada. Remember, there is no same day Athlete Check-In, so don’t dilly-dally on the ride up if your roughly two hour ride to the venue has you arriving too close to the close of registration.
- If you are from outside of Canada and don’t have an international plan, call your phone company and set up a temporary international plan. Much like credit card fees are different for different banks, plans and rates are different for cell providers so I would recommend calling them before you use your phone without an international plan.
Arrival at Blue Mountain Resort
- Athlete Check-In happens the day before your race, NOT the day of (with the exception of the Make-A-Wish Charity Open which allows race day sign ups). Unlike your typical weekend OCR, there is no same day check-in the morning of. On Thursday, registration for all events is open from 9am-9pm. On Friday Athlete Check-In & Packet Pick-Up for the 15K, Team, and Make-A-Wish Events is open from 10am-9pm. On Saturday, Athlete Check-In & Packet Pick-Up for the Team & Make-A-Wish events is open from 10am-5pm. After that you can only check in for the Make-A-Wish race on Sunday between 9am-12pm. That is A LOT of check in options, so please don’t be one of the folks that will inevitably miss your race because you don’t have a bib or timing chip!
- If you are registered for multiple events you will receive your bands in the packets to each event. PUHLEASE don’t lose them.
- If you ordered a LegendBorne Jersey with the pick up at venue option you will be able to pick it up at registration. So, do not fret my pets!
- All athletes are required to attend an athlete briefing. All the important stuff (and more) will be reviewed there. And this year–it will be done by video right in registration! In fact, it is very likely that everything I type under this sentence will be covered. I will still write it down anyway.
- This event operates with a Mandatory Obstacle Completion policy (or MOC as all the cool kids say). If you fail to complete an obstacle and move on, you will surrender your band to the volunteer or race official at the obstacle you fail. You are not limited to a single attempt, however any subsequent retries must take place in the designated retry lane. If you do surrender your band, you will still be able to complete the race, but your results will populate in the non-completed section of the results. Prizes are only awarded to those that place in the completed section of the results. More to come in the upcoming Rule Book.
- The Athlete Guide specifies when you start. Do NOT race in a different wave than you registered for. You WILL be caught and disqualified and maybe even not allowed to come back.
- Have fun and be Super Nice. This event has a pretty dope vibe which is why I am coming back. [Please] Don’t make me regret it!
As your time at the Blue Mountain Resort comes to a close, you will want to create some lasting memories with your fellow competitors. I suggest stepping outside of the groups of people that you already know and make new friends. Learn about New Zealand. Trade your LegendBorne Race Jersey with someone from another country (also a LegendBorne Jersey because those bad girls ain’t cheap!) Buy someone (maybe Charlie McElvy) some poutine and trade obstacle stories. What will I do? My goal is to take Suunto for a walk and to ride the gondolas with my wife.
See you out there!
Keith Allen, OCRWC 2015, 2016, 2017