Aug. 14, 2006

Cobourg Pre-Race Report

Cobourg Kids of Steel, 3-5 age groupThis past weekend I was in Cobourg to participate in the Cobourg Triathlon. My twelve year-old son was back for a few days from summer camp so he came along to visit his grandparents, who live there, and his cousins, who were enroute to their own summer camp. It was a busy weekend, so I'll break this into two posts...

We arrived in Cobourg early on Saturday afternoon, with my race set for 8:30 AM Sunday morning. I rode down with my son to the race site on my parent's coaster bikes to pick up my registration kit, and since we were there I suggested that we volunteer to help with "Kids of Steel" races that were about to start. (Free t-shirt! All the Popsicles you can eat!) I thought it would only be an hour or two but it turned out there were six different age brackets, all run one after the other. The result was that we were there for four hours and I never had a chance to ride the 32 km bike course. I did drive it though which was just as well as there were some tricky corners and plenty of new hills. The course had changed from last year because of construction on the previous route.

I knew that one of my club-mates was racing Saturday morning and that his young daughter was participating in a Kids of Steel race. We managed to find them as my son and I were well-placed on the bike course, near the final corner and beside the entrance to T1. For the Kids of Steel the bike leg was a short looped course, with the number of loops depending on the age group. It was great watching all the kids hustling along on their bikes. All kinds of crazy setups and techniques, with kids as young as three participating. Because we were beside the beach we could also see the kids run up the beach to transition (the three to five year-olds were all holding a parent's hand). Some kids brought a smile to my face, especially the little ones with their training wheels. One such girl had a huge grin on her face as she came by on her tricycle. Another boy, probably six, was maximising his cooling abilities by sticking his tongue out as far as he could. A nine year-old boy fell of his bike a block before us but after a minute he continued on, crying...

As the kids got older they got more serious and the bikes were a bit more likely to fit. In one race (12- 13?) two asian girls came out of the water well ahead of everyone else. Unfortunately they had little street bikes that were too small for them and finished the bike leg in last place! I'm sure their parents will arrange for a proper bikes if they try again...

It was so much fun encouraging the kids on, but unfortunately my afternoon was ruined by a local man who took offense to the road closings and drove past the "Road Closed" barrier. He partially blocked the course, and as I was urgently trying to get him to clear a path for the kids he nearly backed into four children! The whole time he was yelling at me that "Cobourg is a friendly town"... There was also a modest wedding reception taking place at a small hotel that could only be reached by crossing the kid's race course, so there was a significant amount of traffic picking its way across the chirldren's path. To cap it all off late in the day the police arrived to arrest someone on the beach and their vehicles also slightly blocked the race course! Crazy. Although I tried to get to bed early that night in preparation for my own race it took me two hours to fall asleep after all that commotion...

Listening to: I'm Just A Kid by Simple Plan from No Pads, No Helmets... Just Balls.

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