Life goal achieved: Qualify for Triathlon Age Group World Championships

Sit back and let me tell you a little story.

It’s New Year’s Day, January 1st 2013. I have weighed in at 200 lbs for the first time in my life. I’m more than a little depressed, more than a little lost in my job still looking for a tenure-track position, more than a little overwhelmed by three growing kids and a never-ending home renovation. I decide to start jogging a bit again and to take biking to work more seriously. It’s time to lose some weight and a do manage to do some on my own.

Then a friend hooks me into an introductory triathlon club at the local YMCA. And the first coach I meet is Scott Mallory, who is the most supportive person on the planet. I start to get hooked, decide to start to learn to swim as an adult.

Craig Linton hears and he’s stoked. He’s like a triathlon pusher, gives me magazines, sells me the equipment I need, gets me training more seriously. I have some early pretty positive results and he tells me:

“You should try to qualify for the age group world championships.”

I didn’t know this was a thing. However, apparently in triathlon and many other mass participation sports there are world championships for age groupers, those too old to ever be pros, based on top placings in local races. So in spring 2013 this becomes a new life goal: Qualify for the Triathlon Age Group World Championshps.

Well, turns out I’m a junk swimmer (mediocre cyclist and surprisingly good runner). Learning to swim at 31 is, to be honest, pretty brutal. It takes hundreds of hours and thousands of meters to make very small, often imperceptible gains. But sure as heck I stick to it, training consistently year, after year, after year. The cycling comes along super well, the running just needs to be maintained, and tiny bit by tiny bit, the swimming happens.

Fast forward to this summer. I register for Welland knowing it’s a qualifying race and if my winter training comes through on race day, the qualifier is in reach.

Sure enough, I swim like never before: 750m – 13:00 – 1:44/100m

I put in a solid time on a bike course with 10 x 180 degree turns: 20km – 33:10 – 36.2 kph

And I finish it off with as good a run as I could hope considered I’ve slowed a touch: 5km – 19:17 – 3:51/km

Only one guy in my age group has between me, Cam Black, but he isn’t interested in the qualifying spot so didn’t pre-register. Which means? I’m off to Edmonton in August 2020!

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