On a hot Canadian Summer’s day (you heard me, HOT!), two Canadian members of Team Fat Paddler stepped up to the plate to achieve a number of firsts. This was the first time a woman had represented TFP (go Midshipwoman Sammy!), the first time TFP had competed in an officially sanctioned event outside of Australia, the first time Canadians had represented TFP, and the first time Midshipman Steve had ever competed in any sort of race, ever!
And so it was that Steve and Sammy arrived at the 13th Annual “Conquer the Dog” triathlon at Kaministiquia Ontario, on the Dog River. This would be a team event comprising a 5km paddle, an 18km bike ride and a 5km run – both Sammy and Steve would take on the paddle (fastest time counts), followed by Steve on the cycle leg and Sammy bringing up the finale in the running leg.
The event shaped up to be a cracker, with over 120 competitors, 44 of them kids, lining up under the 24C degree sunshine. Steve and Sammy carried their boats down to the water and settled in at the start amongst the myriad of other boats, with many craning their necks at the strange Greenland paddles that Team Fat Padder were using. Then the race was go, with a quick downriver 2.5km to start followed by a final 2.5km upriver run into the wind.
Of the two TFP paddlers, Steve was the fastest going into the race. He’d also not slept the night before, as he’d been awash in nervous tension having never raced in any event before. As the race started he took an early lead but quickly slipped back into the pack as the rest of the paddlers got going. Sammy was following not far behind but a building cramp was playing havoc with her paddling, and she was glad that Steve was going strong. At the half way mark, the paddlers turned and commenced the more difficult leg against the current and wind. These are the sort of conditions that Greenland paddlers love and Steve soon found himself building up pace and passing other paddlers. By the time he got to the end, he’d set a great time of 36:19 minutes to set up the next leg of the race, and brought a rousing cheer from the crowd as crossing the finish line, he popped his skirt and did a backflip out of the boat to disembark!
Running on adrenaline and nervous energy, Steve took off on the bike leg and blitzed the first 500metres. Then suddenly he realised that this legs were starting to burn and he still had another 17.5km to go! Working through the exhaustion and dehydration, he pushed himself hard to the finish with a time of 46:22 minutes. Then, with a spirited but somewhat embarrassing lunge, he thrust the timing band into Sammy’s hand before promptly collapsing into a crumpled heap before her.
There was no time for sympathy however as Sammy took off on the loose gravel road. The run comprised three decent hills before turning back to do them all over again, and Sammy concentrated hard on not slipping over on the loose surface. Sammy pushed through her earlier cramps and the stifling heat to come flying into the finish to the rousing cheers of the crowd, having set a great time of 31:38.
Waiting at the finish was the somewhat-recovered Steve, who promptly pounced on Sammy giving her a celebratory hug. The two relished the event, from the honour of representing Team Fat Paddler to the achievement of their officer ranks AND the news that they’d placed Second in the mixed team category! To celebrate in true Fat Paddler styles, they moved onto the Kaministiquia Community Centre to smash a few hamburgers and hotdogs whilst reliving the stories of that day.
All up an awesome event and a great way to kick off the international membership of the team. From all of us in Team Fat Paddler we’d like to send you both a big congrats and welcome to the team!! Cheers – FP
(Photo credits: Chris Johnston)