I came into the sport when I was training with the Western track & field team in 2006. I was so hopelessly injured that I bought a bike so I could at least maintain some form of activity while my multiple stress fractures were healing. I should note that I wasn't some prodigy runner who had scholarships lined up. I had some decent 300 and 400 times but I made teams because I was the hardest worker at practice.
When I started cycling I immediately fell in love with it and I still remember thinking to myself, "I can't be doing this right, there's no way training for something can be this FUN!" I quit track a week before varsity training camp and committed to a new journey, one that I was incredibly passionate about...mostly because it scared the crap out of me!
There was only one problem. I couldn't swim. I don't mean it like most competitive triathletes mean it, as in they wish they were faster. I mean I was literally so bad at swimming that even my parents would make fun of how bad I was at swimming lessons. My mom made me tread water in our backyard pool for 30 minutes before signing up for my first race, just to make sure I wouldn't die.
I joined the UWO triathlon club in the fall of 2006 and immediately found an amazing sense of community. I was the guy wearing board shorts in the slow lane trying not to drown, but there was something very welcoming about everyone facing their own personal challenges; in track all that mattered was whether or not you had made the time standards.
I also met a man in the club by the name of John Salt. First I only knew him by reputation of his torturous 6am spin classes and the crazy fast swimmer in lane 1. Then he told us some of his Ironman war stories and it was the coolest and most badass thing I had ever heard in my life. Finally I found out that he was the owner of the "HSBC Triathlon Series" and he had some pretty cool events. So in 2007 I signed up for a few of his races to really see what triathlon was all about.
Fast forward ten years and I've raced dozens of MultiSport events, volunteered at a bunch more and even worked on the race crew for a couple seasons. That's why I'm thrilled to partner with MultiSport Canada this year as part of the Recharge with Milk Ambassador Pro Squad. Over the last ten years John, Jason and the crew have watched me grow up as an athlete and a person.
In that time the MSC brand has also grown from the small events with a great community-feel to the biggest series in Canada, and John still shakes everyone's hand at every finish line. It's been a lot of fun to be a part of all that and I couldn't be happier to formally represent the Recharge with Milk Triathlon Series this season and help get the word out about their amazing events.
I thought I'd have a little fun and dig a few items out of the archives for a brief synopsis of how I - along with MSC - have grown over the years!
Binbrook 2007 - my second ever tri...I was such a noob!
I finished my first tri season in Wasaga Beach where I qualified for AG Worlds in Vancouver the following year!
This shot is just too old-school not to post - Cobourg 2008
Back when Lakeside was in June, and it was about 6 degrees in 2009! I didn't race locally too much that season - I was racing AG Nationals in Kelowna then Worlds in Australia, so I decided to start training a little smarter. I moved to Guelph to train with what was then called the Provincial Training Centre under Coach Craig Taylor. It was a summer of getting my ass kicked multiple times a day, but it was the most valuable experience I've ever had in my tri career.
Cobourg 2010. I spent most of that season working on the race crew to help fund my flight to Elite Nationals. I gained some serious respect for the MSC crew who often put in 40+ hours of work over a single weekend to make these events happen. Everyone should do it at least once!
2011 was marked by winning my FIRST MSC race at Bala Falls. The Recharge with Milk finish line interviews were a fun bonus!
2012 was highlighted by the Welland Half Iron, hands-down the hardest thing I had ever done. It was also the first season that offered series prize money so my year was all about chasing points. Unfortunately I crashed badly in my next race and John told me he wouldn't let me race again until I had been cleared of concussion symptoms. I had to sit out the rest of the season but was very grateful for his words of wisdom.
Fast forward to 2015 back in Welland. My aero game has improved slightly since my road bike clip-ons :)
After a few years of focusing my season around big destination/championship races, I'm really excited to get back to my roots in 2016 and chase some points on the Recharge with Milk series. They truly are top-notch events and with the talent coming out of Ontario these days it has to be one of the most competitive domestic series out there. I'm still putting the final touches on my race calendar but I can't wait to throw down on the MSC circuit again this year. See you on the start line!