This past weekend my travels took me to America’s northern brother. Now I certainly love America and most things American, but I want to take this opportunity to thank Canada for getting a couple of things right:
1) Tim Hortons– I still will give a point to Dunkin’ Donuts for having better coffee, but the honey flavored timbits at Tim Hortons were on-point. Well done, Canada.
2) The Metric System– I laughed to myself the first time the weatherman announced “a possibility of 2-3 millimeters of rain,” but I appreciate the metric system’s user-firendly conversion factors.
3) Hockey– Even though Canada’s national sport is lacrosse (don’t ask…it doesn’t make sense to me either), Canadians picked a great sport to embrace. Triathlon is the only sport with tougher athletes.
|The Luggage Carousel @ Edmonton’s Airport|
|My own father cannot keep all the different triathlon race series straight, so I don’t expect you will either! I’ll use this paragraph for a quick explanation. The International Triathlon Union (ITU) organizes a world-wide draft-legal triathlon circuit. The races are organized into three tiers of competitiveness–Continental Cups, World Cups, and World Series races. Athletes move from one tier to the next based on points one accumulates with each successful race. Edmonton was a sprint distance (750m Swim, 22K Bike, 5K Run), World Cup race.|
The race organizers did a fantastic job of putting together a course which both challenged the athletes and showcased the city. That being said, the plan for the swim was complicated by an endangered bird that decided to make its nest 50m from the swim’s starting line. Race organizers weren’t allowed to touch the nest. Instead, they installed lane ropes to guide 50 elite triathletes away from the endangered bird’s little sanctuary. Now, with nesting habits like this it’s no wonder the species’ survival is jeopardy.
That bird–whatever kind it was–had a great vantage point to watch the chaos that ensued from 50 triathlete swimmers being funneled into a space where maybe 15-20 could swim abreast. I felt like Simba in this scene from Disney’s The Lion King (Do yourself a favor and stop watching 3:00 in…):
After doing Muftasa one better and surviving the stampede through the water, I ran through transition and mounted my bike. From there, I “enjoyed” a hilly bike course through downtown Edmonton and a tough run up and down a hill abutting the North Saskatchewan River. I was pleased to finish 9th for my best World Cup finish to date, but I wouldn’t have hated finishing a few positions higher. That hunger motivates me as I return to Flagstaff, Arizona, for a few more weeks of altitiude training.
|Coming in to Transition #2|
I had walked past this sign to get to my hotel in downtown Edmonton everyday before the race, and I chose to walk right each time. Sunday night, I went the other way!