By Daniel Clarke
I should be preparing for my favourite race race on the MSC calendar, the Gravenhurst Olympic Triathlon, but instead we are stuck with the realities of a COVID-19 world. I’m fortunate that my closest friends and family are all healthy and well, so my concerns have been of the less serious nature – such as how will I stay motivated to be fit with no real racing on the horizon? I like training, but I LOVE racing.
Try Something New
I am not an ultra runner. I struggle to be durable enough to make it through a marathon, never mind any distance even 1km over that. But when the Quarantine Backyard Ultra was announced I decided to sign up. The way the race worked was all the competitors had to run 6.71km every hour, on the hour until only 1 competitor remained. The distance and starting and stopping were both completely foreign to me. I only had 10-days to ‘prepare’ and there were a lot of rookie mistakes I made on race day, but it was a blast to take part in a race, and embrace a community, that was all new to me. I knew I wouldn’t do well in terms of the overall standing, but that was not the point. I got to experience an event that I would have likely never attempted if it wasn’t for COVID-19.
Race Against Yourself
There are a whole host of virtual racing options, be it Zwift, the Triathlon Canada Ful Gaz series, Ironman VR, etc. Inevitably in virtual racing it’s not a level playing field. Whether it’s people lying about their weight, improper calibration, equipment issues, etc. there are a lot of challenges for a fair race. But you can still get a lot out of these events. I took part in the Triathlon Canada Ful Gaz World Tour, and in that event I was putting out power I haven’t seen in a couple years. I was able to challenge myself to push my limits, and I came out the other side fitter because of it. Yes, I think cheating sucks. Yes, I know some people cheat on purpose. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a lot out of any virtual race you take part in.
Go For An Adventure
Every year my girlfriend and I will ride from our condo in Toronto to Niagara Falls. This isn’t training, it’s just a fun day on our bikes. In past years we’ve stopped at Harveys for burgers, Niagara-on-the-Lake for a quick tasting, and always grab a beer at the Falls before taking the train home. When I think back about my time on a bike I can always remember those rides, but very seldom do I remember my Ironman build rides doing 6×30:00 @ IM pace. These kind of adventure rides are some of my favourite memories on a bike. With no races on the horizon find some new routes to bike or run and have fun with it.