It has been two weeks since the Cyswog ‘n’ Fun triathlon and I still can’t leave my house without having to explain why I walked away from the race after being told I wasn’t allowed to do the long course, despite having done the long course multiple times before with nothing but encouragement from the organizers. I have been asked to write this letter by many people who are quite upset about it all.
The race director mentioned nothing about safety as he knows I would never start a race I wasn’t fully confident about being able to finish. The bottom line was time… time, time, time right across the board. My swim. My bike. My run. Time was all that mattered. He even told me I was a hero to him, but still wouldn’t let me compete in the long course.
It all seemed so hypocritical to me. Since the first time I competed in 2003 so much emphasis was put on the fun aspect of the race, and it was always pointed out as why they incorporated fun into the name — “Cyswog ‘n’ Fun.” That may have been true in the past, but if this year’s triathlon is any indication, fun has lost its meaning as it has become a results-oriented race.
I was both crushed and furious when I was told I wasn’t allowed to complete in the Olympic distance race. I was too mad to do the sprint under those conditions (I need every bit of mind strength to drag my pain-filled body through each triathlon I do).
I race because I love it and for no other reason. I wasn’t letting them take that from me so I went and swam 3.5 km the same day while they were doing their awards as well as a ride and a run. I have since done another 2.2 km swim, 90 km bike, 10 km run triathlon for myself.
The two races I just did for myself cleared up a lot of the anger swirling inside of me, and I am excited to get back out racing official races again. I am going to do four triathlons (one sprint, three Olympic) over eight days starting Labour Day Sunday as only doing one race a week no longer challenges me…despite my pain.
It’s doubtful I will race the Nelson triathlon again. There just doesn’t seem to be a place for someone like me in their race anymore… which is quite heartbreaking; but I love racing, so I’ll just find another triathlon somewhere else.
Editor’s note: Steve Archdekin developed a rare form of arthritis called Reiter’s Syndrome when he was 19, and as a result has been living with constant, full-body pain for the past decade. The Star ran a story about him in our July 20 edition.