TRIATHLETES OF THE THOMPSON RIVER
In 2002 a group of long-time Kamloops triathletes formed the Kamloops Triathlon Club ( KTC) offering group rides and openwater swims to a small, dedicated crew of multisport enthusiasts. The group has since grown to around 80 active members, and the KTC has developed a fantastic reputation thanks, in large part, to a strong local race series which includes three local adult races and a Kids of Steel triathlon.
“KTC has helped many Kamloopsians become triathletes in the past 15 years,” explains Kara Wright, head coach of Thompson Nicola Triathlon Team, a new youth-focused branch of the club. “Kamloops is known as the tournament capital of Canada and, as such, we have many exceptionally talented coaches and sport teams across a wide range of sports that are affiliated with KTC, in addition to our own club coaches.”
KTC recently developed TNT Thompson Nicola Triathlon with members as young as four years of age. TNT offers weekly practices to prepare youth triathetes for local and regional triathlon races. In 2016, TNT had worked with over 55 youth triathletes. Says Nathan Champness, pro triathlete and TNT coach: “I love coaching youth triathlon because I can relate to them even better than adults. They’re full of enthusiasm and have no concept of limits. That’s the real essence of triathlon.”
The club promotes an active lifestyle and is proud of its inclusive and supportive ethos. “In addition to the new youth triathlon club,” adds Wright, “we are rolling out a project near and dear to my heart aimed at removing barriers for entry to triathlon and cycling for Kamloops women, especially mothers, in 2017.”
Last year, the KTC introduced a race series points system for the three local races, with points awarded to the top five finishers in each age group. Series winners were crowned at the AGM in October 2017. The three events include the Runners Sole 4 x Mixed Relay Indoor Triathlon held in January 2017, the Kamloops Spring Sprint and Kids of Steel Family Triathlon Festival in May and the Pavilion Triathlon scheduled for September.
The Runners Sole 4 x Mixed Relay is “triathlon racing at its most exciting,” explains Wright. Mixed gender teams of two men and two women compete in a relay where each member swims 300 m in an open-water style looped swim course, followed by a 6.6-km spin on a stationary bike and a 1.6-km run on the indoor track at the Kamloops Tournament Capital Centre.
“What started as a cool idea has blossomed into a really exciting race and the only sanctioned indoor triathlon in B.C.,” says Wright. “Mixed Relay is really taking off on the international stage and the Kamloops Triathlon Club is proud to be a part of that global movement.” So much so, in fact, that the KTC, like many others, hopes to see the Mixed Relay added to the Olympic program in Tokyo in 2020.
The club is also working on a new openwater race to add to the series, and will continue to offer members free open-water swims throughout the warmer months.
At the elite level, the club has found success in Nathan Champness, a local professional triathlete and coach who placed sixth at the ITU Long Course Qualifier in Penticton in 2016. Kate Stebbings qualified for Kona at Ironman Canada this summer finishing first in the 50 to 54 age group. She also took top honours at Challenge Penticton’s ITU long course qualifier and fifth place in her division at the world championships in Kona.
At only 16 and 17 years of age, brother and sister Sophie and Josh Ogilvie have been participating in triathlon for 11 years. Josh earned the Triathlon BC Provincial Male Jr. Elite Championship this year, and Sophie was the runner-up in the female category.
At the other end of the age spectrum, 82-year- old Bruce Butcher is one of KTC’S most seasoned triathletes and “still going strong” according to Wright. Bruce and his daughter, Marianne Butcher, recently competed in the ITU World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Cozumel, Mexico.
“Triathlon may well be an individual competitive sport,” says Wright, “but it’s also a sport centred on working toward the best version of yourself and not comparing to anyone else. At KTC, there’s a place and a pace for everyone.”
It’s a shared mission that runs deep within the club, culminating in a vibrant organization that continues to support multisport participation, fitness and fun.
KAMLOOPS TRIATHLON CLUB
Surfacing: From the Depths of Self-doubt to Winning Big and Living Fearlessly
Amongst the biggest names in the world of triathlon coaching, Siri Lindley is one of those people who always seems to be smiling and exuding positive energy. On reading her new book, Surfacing: From the Depths of Self-doubt to Winning Big and Living Fearlessly, one finally understands why, when I introduced her that way during a podcast a few years ago, she laughed.
Surfacing provides some deep insight on how Lindley got to where she is now: arguably one of the sport’s most successful coaches (amongst many others she works with three-time Kona champ Mirinda Carfrae). It hasn’t been an easy journey. A difficult childhood as the stepdaughter of NFL legend Frank Gifford helped fuel deep-seated insecurities and, for years, she struggled with her sexuality.
Through all the challenges sports helped Lindley keep going. A three-sport starter at Brown University (field and ice hockey along with lacrosse), Lindley would eventually be drawn to triathlon. While she would become a world champion, her journey to the pinnacle of multisport racing was hardly an easy one.
As she is in person, Surfacing is brutally honest as it recounts how she overcame her insecurities, doubts and all the other challenges put in front of her. Coach Brett Sutton helped her overcome “choking” at the U. S. Olympic trials for the 2000 Olympics to win the world championship a year later.
Her journey has certainly helped her become the coach that she is today. Surfacing isn’t just an insightful read: it provides some valuable inspiration and proof that it’s never too late to work on the insecurities or doubts that might be holding you back.– KM