You should Try a Tri!

30 May

My first triathlon was the 2010 National Capital Triathlon Try-A-Tri. At the time the distance of the race seemed really long. It was a 200m swim, 20km bike and 2km run. It took me 1 hour, 4 minutes and 33 seconds and I came 22nd out of the 42 men. Not bad for someone who hardly knew how to do front crawl a couple of months before. My first race is still one of the races that I’ll always remember, I had a blast doing it and it got me hooked on triathlon.

When I am talking to friends there are usually a couple of excuses people give me why they could never compete in a triathlon, 1 – they can’t swim, 2 – they don’t have the right kind of bike and 3 – they can’t run. While these are all very valid reasons for not competing in a longer race like an Olympic triathlon, there not necessarily the best reasons to not to compete in a Try-A-Tri.

The Try-A-Tri I participated in had a 200m swim. This isn’t a very long distance, it’s 4 lengths of a 25m pool. The swim portion of my first triathlon also took place in chest deep water. This way if you’re not a confident swimmer you can take a quick break and stand up. There is also no rule saying you have to do front crawl, it’s just recommended. So if you get tired or nervous switch to another stroke.


When people say they don’t have the right bike to do a triathlon I always think of the bike I rode for my first triathlons. It was on old model road bike with the levers on the down tube. While my bike was old compared to some other bikes, it was a great bike. I averaged around 25km/h which, in my opinion, is pretty good for a first tri. In my experience with triathlons, I’ve seen all kinds of bikes. From $10,000 super bikes, to mountain bikes, to someone who had a basket on the front and streamers on the handle bars.

When it comes to the run, I am very sympathetic. I am not the strongest runner and it’s probably my least favourite of the three disciplines. While it is the run section and you should try to run it all, there is nothing wrong with walking portions of it. Just make sure to try and run as much as you can.

When it comes to triathlons, there is no reason not to try! Find a race that fits your capabilities, make sure to train, and then go have fun!

If you’re in Ottawa and want to learn more about the National Capital Triathlon, check out Somersault  Events at

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