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Tag: MTA

Surprise, you’re in a triathlon

Tour of Alberta.

The inaugural Tour of Alberta finished in Calgary on Sunday, Sept. 8. The speed of the cyclists created a strong wind. Amazing. Click here for a video of the finish.

The Tour of Alberta, a professional bicycle race, ended in downtown Calgary two weekends ago. My husband and I were at the finish line when the cyclists sped to the finish – and blew us away. Literally. The athletes were pedalling so strong and fast the peloton created a stiff breeze. What amazing and powerful riders, there’s no way I could even imagine keeping their pace. It reminded me of a time I got stuck among triathletes competing in Sackville, N.B.

While living in Sackville I did a lot of sports but combining three and doing them in a row was not on my radar at that time. I was happy to swim and bike and run at different times on different days. That was good enough for me.

After being in the small university town for three years, I was moving on to other prospects. I was packing up my belongings at the end of August, ready to move out of a five bedroom townhouse that I shared with four Mount Allison University students. I had already taken apart my bicycle so it could be easily loaded into the moving van (my parents’ SUV).

A friend called me and reminded me I had left some bowls at her place after a potluck. She lived about five kilometres away in Middle Sackville, an idyllic spot. The way to her home was a meandering road that passed by green fields and towering elm trees and offered a lovely view of the Tantramar marsh. A nice drive, but I didn’t have a car. Nor did I have a working bike.

One of my roommates had a bicycle. She was petite, about 5’2”, about to go into her fourth year. She had brought her bike to school for first year but hardly ridden it. I asked her if I could borrow it for about an hour and she said sure. Then told me it was actually a child’s bike that was given to her as a present one birthday or Christmas. Oh, no wonder it looked small.

But the tires were pumped full of air and the brakes worked. I hopped on the bike and started for Middle Sackville. Riding the tiny thing was a bit uncomfortable – my knees were almost hitting my ears when I pedalled. To hang on to the handle bars I had to hunch over, way over. I looked ridiculous and felt like an idiot. I couldn’t go fast either because my feet barely fit the kiddy pedals.

“Oh well,” I told myself. “No one will see me if I go the back route.”

The back route was a trail, an old railway track that went almost all the way to my friend’s place. So that’s the path I took.  A ways into my trip a cyclist whizzed by me. Then another, and then some more and then there were people on the side of the path cheering. For me?

No, I had somehow managed to insert myself into the middle of a triathlon. Here I was on a child’s bike all scrunched up and looking like a fool while all these athletes, kitted out with the latest and greatest and best bikes, flew past me. I was embarrassed and wanted to shout at the cyclists and cheering crowd that this wasn’t my bike. I usually ride faster than this. Please don’t think I’m actually a competitor.

I said nothing and continued my slow and contorted journey for another 10 minutes before the racers turned off onto another trail. At my friend’s house I collected my bowls and made sure I took the road back into town. If the triathletes were running I hoped I would be at least be a little faster than them.


Missing Silver Lake

Achorage House.

Me in front of Anchorage House on the Mount Allison University campus. I used to work in the historical home in Sackville, N.B.

There’s not much heat to escape in Calgary this summer…unlike the rest of Canada. It seems as if Alberta is stuck in a hole of terrible weather with a few nice days thrown into the pit now and again. Today I’m yearning for the warm summers of Sackville, N.B.

I worked at Mount Allison University for a few years starting in 2003. Mount A is located in beautiful Sackville, a town made up of quaint gardens and pretty homes. On campus there are many historical buildings and my office was in one such place, Anchorage House. It was a lovely old house to work in with original fixtures and high ceilings and a grand wooden staircase going up three floors.

There is one down side to working in the magnificent home where a shipping magnate once lived. Because of the property’s age it didn’t have air conditioning. When summer struck, the building would heat up quickly and no matter how wide the windows were thrown open, the legendary mighty Sackville winds never cooled off the rooms one bit. As well, because the town is surrounded by the Tantramar Marsh, the humidity rises along with the temperatures.

I did find a way around the swelter: a noon-hour swim in Silver Lake, a sandy pond not far away from the middle of town. Every work day I changed into my bathing suit and hopped on my bike to make the 10-minute pedal to the water. Making sure not to get my hair wet (I still had to look professional when I went back to work), I would paddle about for a bit until I felt I was OK to cycle back. Returning to the office I could get through the rest of the sticky afternoon feeling refreshed.

One day I got to the beach and there were two boys probably around the ages of 12, standing on the beach.

Silver Lake Beach.

Silver Lake beach and Lillas Fawcett Park in Sackville, N.B. A great place to swim – when there’s no poop.

“Are you the lifeguard, miss?” they asked.

“No, sorry,” I replied.

“There’s poop in the water,” they said and pointed in the piece of crap’s direction.

“Oh, gross,” I said. “I’m not the lifeguard.”

“Well you should see it. It’s a big log floating around. Are you sure you’re not the lifeguard?”

“Pretty sure. But thanks for telling me about the, um, excrement. Hope the lifeguard shows up soon.”

I did not go look at the turd sailing on the lake. Nor did I go for a swim that day. But at least the boys called me miss and not ma’am.

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