Subaru Triathlon Series Banquet 2009
Casblanca Inn, Grimsby Ontario
40-44 Age Group Winners: Michael Hay, Me, Michael Keen & Curtis Coyne
Jim, Michael Keen, Me, Ken & Kathy Madsen
On Sunday Nov 29th I went to the Subaru Triathlon Series 2009 year end banquet. I wanted to attend the event as a way to close out the season and begin to prepare myself for 2010. Natasha (my wife) and I arrived at the banquet room a couple of minutes before 10am; the scheduled start time. It is always a little awkward looking for a place to sit at a table for ten when you do not recognize anybody. Luckily there was a completely open table right at the back, so we selected two seats facing the front. Soon afterwards several other people joined us; Ken and Kathy Madsen ( Karsten’s Parents), Michael Keen, Jim, Mark Keating and his two sons.
Janet and Mitch Fraser did a nice job organizing the event as the 15-20 tables were all completely filled. Kevin MacKinnon acted as MC telling stories about the foundation of the series and tying in many of the people in attendance. Michael Keen got the conversation going at out table by relaying his experience competing in his first Cyclo-cross race the day before. He went on to tell us all about losing his old beater bike and deciding to replace it with a CycloCross bike. Mike was super excited about the experience and even talked about organizing an event in Guelph some time down the road. Michael also offered to provide me with swim coaching if I wanted as he is a M2 level coach. It was very nice of him to offer. Once I had been seated for a while I began to recognize some familiar faces that I had walked past when I first entered the room; no disrespect intended Curtis Coyne.
After all of the tables got up to get breakfast at the buffet (ours was last as we were closest to the food), Kevin handed the microphone over to Barry Shepley who took us all through a slideshow of some outstanding Canadian triathlon accomplishments. It’s pretty nice to have the voice of the ITU (Barry) and Ironman (Kevin) doing the speaking at our Ontario race series banquet. Barry who leads a development group of promising young triathletes is thinking of ways to enhance the Subaru series for 2010. What I liked most about what Barry said is that he promised that his top athletes (including Dave Sharratt & Sean Bechtel ) would compete at all of the local race series events. I look forward to the higher level of competition which will only help to drive everyone’s results.
The awards presentation was painless as Kevin moved through the award winners quickly; which is a must when everyone in the room is receiving an award. We all received a plaque, a long sleeve shirt, a series key chain and some travel sized toiletries as well as a selection from the prize table. I selected a package of Powerbar Gels which I just happened to have run out of, Bonus! When I was picking up my shirt Janet mentioned that she appreciated the email that I sent to the Clearwater 70.3 race organizers, as I had cc’ed her on the email. It meant a lot to me hear that small appreciation / recognition.
As the room was clearing out Ron Vankoughnett came over to me and mentioned that he had come across the picture that I posted of him receiving his Gold medal at the duathlon world’s this past September in North Carolina 65-69 age group. He asked for a copy of the photos which I gladly sent over to him this morning. It was gratifying to be able to provide him with those photos and nice to know that people are checking out this blog.
I spent some time catching up with Michael Hay had been sitting with Dave Sharratt at the table next to me. M Hay has some much great information to share about the sport. We talked about the drafting down in Clearwater and he told me that if he ever competed in that event he would treat it as draft legal because that is what it is. He has never taken part in the Clearwater event and he is one of the top athletes in the 40-44 age group worldwide; in fact he was the 2008 world champion 40-44 at Olympic distance. He told me about the Rev 3 triathlon series that includes some prize money for age groupers http://www.rev3tri.com/!/about/index.htm. If changes are not made to improve the WTC events that are clearly problematic (Clearwater) then top athletes will seek out alternatives; which will be quick to spring up. The top athletes have a lot of influence over the entire community and often act as coaches for developing triathletes.
Appreciation for the race series was a common theme. Last year when I attended the banquet for the first time I heard Kevin and Barry rave about how good the local races were. They said that they attend races all over the world and that the Ontario races are world class events. I did not give the praise much thought as I figured that Kevin and Barry were just saying what they had to say as speakers at the Subaru banquet. A year later after having competed in 21 races in 2009 (run, bike, duathlon, triathlon - including two World Championships), I give a lot more weight to the high praise awarded the Subaru race series. Janet & Mitch put on 10 top level events all within 3hrs drive of downtown Toronto. I am lucky to live in this area and look forward to competing in many events in 2010. Thank you Janet & Mitch and everyone else who has helped to make this race series a big success.