Posts Tagged ‘2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup

This is my TRYathlon

- July 8th, 2011
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Edmonton Sun columnist Cary Castagna, left, takes part in a test ride of the course in preparation for Sunday's 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup at Hawrelak Park in Edmonton on Friday, July 8, 2011. AMBER BRACKEN/EDMONTON SUN

Reality bites.

She burns and chafes, too.

My cold reality check came about 30 seconds into this afternoon’s planned tour of the cycling course of the 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup.

I knew ahead of time that it was going to be a police-escorted practice run.

But I didn’t realize, until the last minute, that the test run was for the race’s elite triathletes.

Gulp.

What about roly-poly media types signed up for the cycling leg of the sprint category?

Ah, no, sorry.

With a half-hearted shrug of my shoulders, I joined the elite pack — consisting of several dozen triathletes in tip-top shape who do this sort of thing for a living.

Needless to say, the elite triathletes — and the cop escorts and the accompanying pickup truck (on hand for any mechanical failures) — left this desk-bound wannabe spinning my wheels at the base of the almighty Emily Murphy hill.

Maybe it was the throat infection and chest cold I’ve been battling for the past three weeks.

Maybe it was the fatigue from last night’s squat and cardio workout.

Maybe it was the spare tire around my midsection.

Maybe it was my fallen crest and windless sails.

P1080898But Emily Murphy hill — the rude introduction to the cycling course at the 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup — gave me plenty of trouble today.

And after a miserable training session, exacerbated by unrelenting rain and cool temps (at least there weren’t as many mosquitoes today), I feel I’m in over my head.

It’s a horrible feeling.

I feel like I’m about to write a math exam without having done any studying.

Anybody else ever have that nightmare? (It’s a common one for me, only I’m usually not wearing any clothes.)

But I digress.

I mean, sure I’ve done some training in the past six weeks, but it’s hardly been adequate.

This is a tough sport.

What was I thinking when I agreed to participate? What was I smoking?

C’mon, I’m a journalist chained to a desk for eight hours a day.

Sigh.

Philadelphia’s Joe Maloy, one of the elite triathletes I bantered with prior to my ill-fated test run, advised me to “have fun.”

Various co-workers have echoed those sentiments today while wishing me “good luck.”

I dunno, but methinks “fun” will be easier said than done this Sunday morning at Hawrelak Park.

I’ll try.

And I guess “try” is the operative word. Indeed, that’s what this is all about for me: Trying something I’ve never done before.

Self-help gurus call it “stepping outside of your comfort zone.”

Uh, yeah, I felt waaaaay out of my comfort zone earlier today as I huffed and puffed my way up Emily Murphy Hill, sending my heart rate soaring into the high 150s.

OK, so it’s a wake-up call. I’m still not where I want to be physically. But I’m working at it.

I’m trying.

And if Sunday doesn’t kill me, it’ll make me stronger.

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Edmonton Sun columnist Cary Castagna, left, waits to take part in a test ride of the course in preparation for Sunday's 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup at Hawrelak Park in Edmonton on Friday, July 8, 2011. AMBER BRACKEN/EDMONTON SUN

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Team Sun ready to shine in media triathlon battle

- July 6th, 2011

Paula Findlay, Paul Tichelaar, Bevan Docherty and Hunter Kemper are just some of the big names competing at this Sunday’s 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup.

There’s also (drum roll, please) … Cary Castagna!

Who?!?!

Ummm, well, uh … that’s me.

Yup, although I’ve been a little under the weather in recent days, yours truly is going to suck it up and compete as part of the three-person Edmonton Sun contingent in the sprint category.

For the uninitiated, the sprint consists of a 750-metre swim, 20-km bike and 5-km run.

Me and my big quadriceps will be cycling for Team Sun. I’ll be putting the pedal to the metal, and testing my mettle.

EdmontonSUN_NewLogo0250What I lack in raw athletic ability, I hope to make up for in sheer guts and determination. It was super-sized cojones that got me into this in the first place. It’ll take that testicular fortitude, along with plenty of heart, to see me through the challenging 20K trek in good time.

My road performance will be flanked by the triathlon prowess of co-workers Nicole Bergot and Derek Van Diest.

Bergot, the Sun’s uber-fit city editor, will start us off in the swim, while Van Diest, an athletic sports reporter affectionately known as DVD, will finish the race off for us with the run.

While I’ve actually never even been to a triathlon, both Bergot and DVD have several tris under their respective belts.

I couldn’t ask for two better teammates. And I’m not just saying that to butter them up in the very likely event that they are forced to carry my sorry carcass across the finish line. Oh gawd, I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Go Team Sun, go!

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Team Sun, from left to right: Nicole Bergot, me and Derek Van Diest.

Of course, Team Sun has some stiff competition in the sprint category from two other media outlets.

Introducing the other guys …

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Ryan Jespersen, Carla Turner and Michele McDougall.

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Meg Morrison, Bob Stauffer and Kyle Chase.

Plus, Team 1260 (Will their team be called Team Team 1260?) has one solo entrant. Jason Gregor, of the Jason Gregor Show, is doing the full-meal deal (swimming, cycling and running) on his own. Show off!

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Jason Gregor

Special thanks to triathlon guru Kevin Clark, of the Edmonton Triathlon Academy, who has been helping to train all of the media entrants over the past six weeks. We’ll soon see how well we’ve followed his training advice.

The action at the 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup gets underway at 8 a.m. July 10, with the media doing battle in the sprint class at 10 a.m.

Click HERE for the schedule.

Come out and cheer us on! Methinks I might need all the help I can get. Sigh.

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Pimp My (Bicycle) Ride

- July 4th, 2011

Check out the bicycle I’ll be riding at this Sunday’s 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup

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Cute and petite. That’s in stark contrast to the beast that will be on it.

Ah, but the colour scheme works well for a member of Team Edmonton Sun — blinding orange with red handle bars (which appear rather pinkish in these photos I snapped moments ago).

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As regular readers of this blog are well aware, I’m cycling for Team Sun (which includes swimmer and city editor Nicole Bergot, and runner and sports scribe Derek Van Diest).

We’re competing against a few other media outlets in the sprint category of the Edmonton triathlon set for July 10 at Hawrelak Park. The last I heard, Team 1260, CTV and Citytv were also putting together teams.

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Anyhoo, my pimped-up bike is on loan to me from a St. Albert athlete with a really cool name — James Dean. I don’t know much else about James right now, other than he’s a really swell guy.

Thanks for letting me borrow your colourful wheels, good sir!

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Last-minute tips pour in as triathlon looms …

- July 4th, 2011

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Six days to go until the 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup and now the last-minute tips are flooding in.

It all started last night with the following timely advice from an always-helpful Edmonton Sun colleague:

• When you actually begin the race, just try to enjoy yourself and concentrate only on finishing.

• Do not worry about how fast or slow you may be.

• Stay out of the way of other riders, drink plenty of water and – most importantly – listen to your body. (Do not push yourself too hard. Remember, this is your first race.)

And then, this morning, the following came from race organizers:

Tips for Triathlon Bike Safety

• Always wear a correctly fitted, approved triathlon bike helmet.

• Obey traffic lights and signs.

• Ride on the right hand side of the road.

• Give hand signals to turn left or right.

• Give way to pedestrians and other vehicles when entering and crossing a road.

• You must use the bike lane where one is available.

• When using a footpath or shared pedestrian/bicycle path, keep to the left and give way to pedestrians.

• Maintain control of your bike at all times.

Equipment Safety

TRIATHLON BIKE: Make sure your triathlon bike is the right size for you. Your bike must be roadworthy with working brakes.

HELMET: Is mandatory in all triathlon events.

Picture 2Passing Safe

DRAFT ZONE: The drafting zone is defined as a rectangular area 7 meters long by 2 meters wide (3 bike lengths).

Things to remember when passing:

• Keep RIGHT except to pass on the LEFT

• When entering the drafting zone from the rear, cyclist has no more than 15 seconds to pass. Front wheel must break plane of the front wheel being passed.

• When passing, gather up your strength to make a firm pass.

• Say out loud to the cyclist when passing “Pass on left” or “Bike left.”

• Once overtaken a competitor must immediately move out of the draft zone. The cyclist who has been “overtaken” bears primary responsibility for avoiding a position foul and must immediately move to the side or to the rear and out of the drafting zone of the passing cyclist.

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If at first you don’t succeed, ‘tri’ again

- June 20th, 2011
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Kevin Clark of the Edmonton Triathlon Academy (left) and yours truly in Edmonton's Hawrelak Park after a recent training session.

Emily Murphy hill no longer owns me.

About three weeks ago, the 0.3-miles of Edmonton roadway with an average grade of 8.3% seemingly mocked me after I failed to cycle to its peak.

Back then, as I made a defeated U-turn on my mountain bike below the mid-point of the climb, I felt the unmistakable sensation of lactic acid coursing through my burning quadriceps, and I swear I could hear Emily Murphy hill stifling a guffaw.

The paved hill, just south of Emily Murphy Park and northeast of Hawrelak Park, marks the grueling start of the 20-km cycling leg in the sprint event at next month’s 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup.

As regular readers of this blog know, I’m cycling for Team Sun (which includes swimmer and city editor Nicole Bergot, and runner and sports scribe Derek Van Diest).

So you can understand that I was somewhat pleased with myself this past Friday afternoon when I managed to ascend to the top of Emily Murphy hill during my second training session (a 16-km ride in pouring rain) with coach Kevin Clark of the Edmonton Triathlon Academy.

Sure, my legs were quivering and burning, but I made it — undeniable evidence that I’m stronger and fitter than I was three weeks ago.

Clark was pleased, too, with the progress I’ve made via several solo training sessions since our last meeting. Of course, we both know I’ve still got a ways to go with my training.

I can’t help but get a little panicky when I realize there are only three weeks left until the big race. But managing to scale the formidable Emily Murphy hill is a big step.

Now, if it would just stop raining every single day …

Tomorrow: I plan to pick up my race bike.

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