NP and I recently decided to square off in a bright clothing competition. The stakes were high, as the winner claimed not only the sought-after bright-clothing bragging rights, but also entitlement to a victory lap around our flat. As you can see in the photo to the left, in which NP has her arm raised triumphantly, I failed to take top honours. I was with NP step for step on the shirt front, but I hadn’t calculated on her breaking out the pink-plaid shorts on the bottom – in hindsight, I should never have gone with the black tights!
What’s really happening in this photo is that NP, an emerging toddler (where, dare I ask, did our little baby go?), is showing off her new walking skills. She has become so fast that I’ve recently been forced to dress in my cycling Lycra in order to keep up with her. Okay, okay, what’s really happening in the photo is that I’ve just returned from a bike ride and NP, making good use of her new walking skills, is giving me a tour of where she has deposited all of her toys (and anything else she can get her hands on) around the apartment throughout the afternoon.
The bright clothing competition is, I think, in fact quite important when out on a bike. I chose the bright red top above because I want to be as visible as possible when I’m on the road. My friend and fellow triathlete KRB in Kitchener-Waterloo recently posted on a very tragic event that occurred over the weekend: a triathlete in her training group, Barrie Conrad, was struck from behind and killed by an SUV while out on a training ride north of Waterloo. This certainly brings home the need to improve both infrastructure and training (for both drivers and cyclists) in the area (and elsewhere), in order to make the roads safer for those cycling for both transportation and sport. As cyclists, we have to respect the laws of the road, wear a helmet, behave consistently, and make sure that we’re visible, but drivers in Ontario are all too often careless in their interactions with cyclists and pedestrians. I don’t speak of all drivers, but there often seems to be a mindset amongst Ontarian drivers that cars rule, rather than share, the road (drivers in Ontario very seldom, for example, stop at labelled crossings without a light), and the provincial road laws in many instances do not favour pedestrians or cyclists. There is a tangible difference between attitudes in Ontario and other Canadian provinces, where drivers on the whole actually stop for pedestrians (Nova Scotia, BC) and give space to cyclists. Ontario needs to make changes in order to ensure a future of sound, safe transportation policies.
A local memorial ride for Barrie has been planned for this Sunday and, although I didn’t know him, I wish I could be there to take part. The ride is organized for cycles and cyclists of all types, so if you live in the area and own a bike of any description, go out and show your support. For my part, I’ll be racing my first triathlon this weekend, a race which I’ll do with Barrie and his family in mind.
This past weekend I had my last hard workout on the bike, before tapering this week leading into the race on Sunday. The race is about three hours south from Heidelberg in Lindau am Bodensee (Lake Constance), which I’m really looking forward to. I’m going to drive down on Saturday with a friend and then come back on Sunday afternoon after the race. Not only am I excited by the prospect of the race itself, but the area is supposed to be very picturesque. KT and NP aren’t going to join me at this race, as it’s a long way and a quick turnaround, but they’ll be there to cheer at my next race in June, which is much closer to home.
This week I’ve had light but solid workouts in the pool and running, and tomorrow I’ll be out for a light spin on the bike. My approach to the race this week is going to be to work hard, draw on my training, but also relax and enjoy myself – as this is the first triathlon I’ve ever done, there will be a lot which is new. I’ve been gathering together my gear and making sure that I have everything I need, which included a quick trip to a shop on the weekend to pick up a neoprene band for my timing chip and a race outfit. The chief function of the tri-outfit is comfort (including light padding for the bike but nothing restrictive on the run), which even over the shorter Olympic distance (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run) I’ll be doing this weekend is important. It also, however, has the advantage of making you feel a bit like superman. Here are my best shots at being intimidating (hampered, I know, by the terrible cycling tan):
I’ll post a report on the race once I’m back home. Wish me luck!