Tri-dork is a term of endearment.
If you asked, I might tell you that I swim, I run and I ride my bike. Further and for more hours per week than most people. But I would never consider myself a triathlete. A swimmer, biker and runner does not a triathlete make. This is probably the reason I love the Loaring Triathlon so very much.
The very best thing about the Loaring Tri is that it considers itself and neighbourhood event. Co-race directors and brother-sister super-team James and Charlotte, helped by countless friends and family graciously host one heck of a show. They stuff local mailboxes with invitations. They welcome seasoned pros and nervous newbies into their own backyard. And, as part of the neighbourhood, we like to consider ourselves a very small part of this show. In 1999 we watched a small contingent of skinny dudes and dudettes run around the farm and then whiz past on bikes that looked nothing like our own bikes in the garage. Simon Whitfield had yet to win the first-ever Olympic medal in triathlon and I had never heard of Mark Allen, Peter Reid or Ironman. Triathlon was part of a foreign language – but not for long. A few years later I rocked up on my maroon Raleigh, a fledgling runner that rode her bike to swim team. I was sixteen years old.
Since then we have hosted friends and family alike to our yard, establishing Team Fruit Wagon – a revolving band of scallywags from Harrow, Windsor, Guelph, Campbell River and beyond – many competing in their first ever (and last ever) triathlons. Some of us are in it for a good excuse to drink beer in the afternoon. For others, completion is a milestone – a sporting feat only ever imagined. This is the true spirit of “The Loaring” – and this year marks 10 years of long hours, extreme organization, and compassionate giving on the part of the Loaring family.
Congrats, guys. And, thanks for letting us be a part of it.
Note: I wrote this before I gave a sub-par performance in the intense heat yesterday. Ask me today, and I’d still tell you the same thing. And many, MANY thanks to our awesome neighbours that set up their sprinklers and stood by the road with hose and waterguns offering sweet relief!