Sorbara, Somerset continue winning ways at Guelph Lake

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – The triathlons in and around the Guelph Lake Conservation Area have to be the favourites of Frank Sorbara of Thornhill and Guelph’s Carley Somerset.

The pair scored victories in the Subaru Series’ Guelph Lake II sprint triathlon Saturday, Sorbara taking the overall title in 1:21:06 and Somerset being the top female finisher, ninth overall in 1:33:27.

“It was solid all around, good swim, bike and run,” Sorbara said. “I haven’t had that many, other than the last two races, where all three have been good so I’m really happy with the direction things are going. All three disciplines are improving right now at the same time and they’re all going well right now.”

Sorbara’s win wasn’t without a little drama, although he did finish just under four minutes ahead of former University of Guelph varsity swimmer Jessey The Elf.

“It was a tough day,” Sorbara said. “It was humid and on the bike, visibility was not amazing. It was very foggy and actually my visor on my helmet actually fogged up and I went off the road, probably 5k in. I went onto the shoulder in the gravel and I’m pretty proud of myself that I managed to get it back on the road without any issue and I don’t think anyone saw so it wasn’t that embarrassing.”

Sorbara had started the bike leg second behind Elf, but managed to surge ahead around the midway point of the leg.

“The bike and run were hillier than I remember it being,” he said. “I caught the lead probably just around the turnaround on the bike. As soon as I caught Jessey, I kind of put the pedal down on the second half and then got on the run. It was a very strong run, I ran real well. I’ve been having a hamstring issue for about two years now, but that kind of stayed in check for the most part. It was a very solid start to finish type run.”

For Sorbara, it’s his fourth win at Guelph Lake in four races there. He took all three triathlons at Guelph Lake in 2016, winning the Guelph Lake I Olympic and sprint triathlons and Guelph Lake II sprint triathlon.

“This is great,” Sorbara said. “The race course has so much variety to it. On the bike, you get a lot of hills. It’s not too technical, which I like. There are no real hairpin turns or anything like that. And it’s a good test of how comfortable you are on the bike just pushing power and aero because on Watson Road, it’s a pretty choppy road so it makes it a little bit more challenging to stay in a good position.

“The run, if you’re like me and come from a cross-country background, it’s you’re type of course just because it’s up and down. I like that variety. It mixes up what muscles you’re using and I always look at it that way. You’re not tiring out the same thing over and over and over. It keeps it interesting, too.”

Saturday’s win confirmed to Sorbara that he’s back on the right path following a trying start to the season. In fact, he’s considering the start to his season was actually delayed until last month’s Orillia triathlon that he won.

“The first half of my season didn’t go as well as I had planned,” Sorbara said. “The results just didn’t pan out in some races. I felt in good shape, but it never really came together on race day. So for me, I kinda hit the reset button in August and I’m going to make a real strong run in the fall.”


Somerset’s a relative newcomer to the sport. After starting in duathlons (running and cycling), she did three Try-a-Tri races at Guelph Lake from 2013 to 2016 and a Give-It-A-Tri at Belwood Lake in 2016, where she scored her first win, before trying sprint triathlons later that year.

“It was a great day,” she said of her race Saturday. “I was thankful the weather held out. It was a little misty, but it was just perfect conditions and I felt good out there.”

Like Sorbara, Somerset found her visor misting up on the bike, but it didn’t give her any major problems.

“It was a little bit hard to see, but it kept it cool,” she said.

Somerset is originally from Salt Spring Island, B.C., just off Vancouver Island, and she came to the Royal City to attend the University of Guelph 18 years ago and has been here ever since.

Somerset won her class in her first sprint triathlon and scored her first overall victory last year in the Iron Girl Canada women’s sprint triathlon at Grimsby in August of 2017. This year’s she won the Guelph Lake I sprint triathlon, the Super League Triathlon’s Penticton Equalizer and now the Guelph Lake II spring triathlon.

The key to her success?

“Having a great support network and I’ve got a great coach,” she said of Guelph-based Discomfort Zone Performance Zone and coach Mike Coughlin. “He’s been helping me and the whole team behind it. Anytime we’re out, we’re doing a lot of group training and that atmosphere makes all that suffering so much more enjoyable.”

Saturday, Somerset finished more than 10 minutes ahead of runner-up Izaura Araujo of Toronto.

“This is my training backyard and I love it,” Somerset said of the Guelph Lake course. “It’s just a perfect venue.”