Posts Tagged ‘Emily Murphy hill

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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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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