I've been thinking about the triathlon community in my neck of the woods lately. I admire many things in the community, many of which I have zero involvement in. There are now a few groups I participate in that I enjoy and have found rewarding. Having many dedicated training groups or squads (whatever you'd like to refer to them as) in our area is good for the growth of our sport. While we love the process of training and racing in the sport of triathlon, we must remember that, in the grand scheme of things, triathlon is still very much a niche sport. The fact that I can enjoy it with other like-minded people is pretty cool.
Each group has its supporters and it also tends to have an area of focus. Some focus on the beginner triathlete, some are female only, some cater to long course racing and many focus on all aspects of racing. In every instance the organizers and coaches are doing their best to provide support, education, and training opportunities to get the individual prepared to meet the goal of making it to their finish line in a healthy state.
In southern Ontario we are spoiled when it comes to racing opportunities. We have independent races, the Subaru series, the Multisport series and Ironman branded racing within driving distance. Some of the clubs in my immediate area include Triathlon Club of Burlington, SO-TRI, IronCanucks, TriChicks, Blast, Finish Line, Tri-Hart, Edge, Fighting Koalas and many more (my apologies if I've missed others - it's unintentional).
For myself, I currently belong to Triathlon Club of Burlington and, most recently SO-TRI. I joined SO-TRI recently due to its focus on long course racing and training opportunities on weekends - the part of the week I have most time available due to family and work commitments. I am also on the TRI365 Core Team for 2018 which is another amazing community with incredible sponsors. I will also be seeking out swim instruction from Tri-Hart.
My point is this: I enjoy meeting all sorts of people in the sport. I wear a uniform representing a club while racing but I am no less supportive of my fellow local club representatives when I cross paths either in training or at races. Whenever I've been a spectator I make sure to take pictures of many local club participants and post them accordingly. Again, for me, it's about the community and less an us vs them outlook. I don't judge those who have that competitive team outlook - I'm only speaking for myself.
I will participate with groups that help me to grow as a person and an athlete. If I belong to one, great. If I belong to several that's fine too. It's my journey and I will seek out opportunities that help me to enjoy the process.
2017 is a season I'd like to forget personally. Injury and personal loss contributed to that. The loss of a family member particularly caused me to pause and take stock of my life and where I spend my time. I vowed to make sure I squeeze whatever life has to offer moving forward as you just never know how much time is left. So for 2018 I will look after my family, work commitments and, beyond that, seek out experiences that will take me outside my comfort zone. Only there can I continue to find my best self.
Thanks for reading - I hope our paths cross lots!
Cheers - Rob