Saturday, August 21, 2010

Peace and quiet in Guysborough

A quick run with the running club this morning, a coffee in Starbucks (yes I know, I know, but it was right there!). This will be the last part of the weekend that will likely go to plan. We can discuss the appearance of a fixed gear on the front of the Coast later (frickin' fakengers). When I'm done here I'll be heading off to the Guysborough County Triathlon in Guysborough.

All that I can say that will go to plan from this point onwards is that a race will start tomorrow morning at 08:00. Everything else is negotiable. If you don't like this kind of thing, putting out fires on a moments notice, doing jobs that weren't on your to-do list (especially if you consider them to be "below" you), a "I have volunteers for that" attitude then perhaps officiating isn't really for you....

Barring a panicked 'phone-call from TNS, TQ or Triathlon Canada (all highly unlikely, especially the latter) this will likely be my last TD gig of the year. In breaking news however, this will not be the last occasion this year I'll have to break out the ITU lanyard;

I just heard I got a gig as an official at World Du's in Edinburgh in a couple of weeks. Time to start checking that ITU box on my Athletics CV! Granted, the ETU don't know me from a hole-in-the-ground and I'll likely only get a corner somewhere at the back of Arthur's Seat (you know the spot, the isolated one where the wind is really strong) but hey, it's a corner at Worlds! Worlds!

Back to Guysbrough. I've been here every year since 2003 I think, the race hasn't been here much longer. It has several "firsts" for me.

It was the first race I won in Canada, when I took the Sprint in 2003. That was the year Provincials was at G'boro and all the fast boys were racing up. I think I also still have the course record, and that was a first too. I think the only reason the record still stands is because in 2004 the the Sprint started to go up the Mountain Road course for a few years.

Now the Boyleston course is back (since 2008 I think), every year I predict my record is going down, and every year it squeaks through. The closest it came was Mac Grant's ride in 2008, which came within 20" of the record but then he did ride half-way back from the turn with a flat (but he has the moral record for sure). There's no hurricane coming this year, the Whether Office says it's going to be good racing weather, so will someone please come and take my record away?

Guysborough was also the first race I TD'd, in 2006 I think. This was a bit of a baptism by fire as I came close to DSQing someone on my first outing as TD. A certain iconoclastic athlete did his own version of the run course; instead of the standard out-and-back-repeat, he ran a complicated triple-loop-out-and-back bouncing around between the Youth and Sprint/Olympic turns.

I learned that day how a true athlete behaves from Chris Milburn and Geoff Bennett. Class acts both. In fact some of the things I learned then have since become guiding lights for me, both as an athlete and an official.

I could be in Kelowna this weekend, working Nationals (and getting so many recertification points I wouldn't even have to put on the red T-shirt next year), but I'm still going to G'boro. Why? Well, G'boro is one of the best-kept secrets in NS. So many triathletes come here the first time and say "wow!, I never even knew this was here. I drive by it all the time going to Cape Breton.....".

Also, Guysborough County is, I believe, the only county in NS without a Tim Hortons.

G'boro has a special place in my heart for another reason too.

For about ten minutes on Sunday morning, just after I arrive at race site, the sun comes up over Chedabucto Bay. Also, for those ten minutes, I'm usually all alone. There's no traffic noise because there is no traffic. So I go down to the jetty and have probably the quietest ten minutes of my whole year, and for those ten minutes it's just me and my thoughts.

In fact I even try to block out the thoughts so I can just concentrate on the sunrise.

So it's just me and my tinnitus, and the sunrise is a visual phenomenon anyway!

After a summer of running hither and yon, putting up racks, standing in the rain, smoothing ruffled feathers, finding lost swimmers, peeling people off the course, being a human pylon, putting myself in harms way as I physically interpose myself between an athlete and a car/deer/hole/voluntold/result, getting yelled at and generally multi-tasking myself into oblivion, I see my ten minutes with Eos almost as my reward. I'll take any and all shit triathlon can throw my way, and I'll take it all in my stride, as long as I get my five minutes alone on the G'boro boat-ramp.

Don't worry, after ten minutes all will back to normal and in the words of Jason Murphy at Shubie '06 "enough of this RD shit, it's time to be an official" and I'll get you all in line, in the water, on the bike and safely home again.

Just as long as I get those ten minutes!*


*Oh, and maybe a bacon sandwich. Life always looks rosier after a bacon sandwich!


  1. Hey Congrats on the World Du's gig. Sounds like it will be a blast. Perhaps one day I will get there.

    And if I ever RD a race I will make sure that bacon sandwiches are on the menu.

  2. Thanks for the kind words for Guysborough. I can't tell you how much pride I take in showing folks my stomping grounds. And seeing so many bikers ride by my house along the course puts a big smile on my face. Kudos to everyone that makes that race possible, it puts me in my happy place.

    Jamie Haynes aka The Hometown Kid