By Caitlin Mader
Having succumbed to the pressure around the office to join the Fiera Race Team, yesterday I laced up my running shoes (well, my converse sneakers, having skillfully forgotten my runners) and ran one of the Frank McNamara Wednesday night races.
I’m new to this whole running with groups of people in a semi-competitive setting where you can’t just stop for ice cream as soon as you get tired thing. So my goal was less along the lines of “go faster than other people” and more along the lines of “don’t find a way to somehow look like an idiot.” Arriving at the startline just as the buzzer sounded and wandering around aimlessly for a bit trying to find someone to tell me what to do, I was off to a good start. After locating the officials table and receiving my foot-chip-thing, I knew I had to make up some ground, so I did what any serious athlete would do, and I sat down and had a snack. With an encouraging “What are you doing? Get going!” from the officials, I was off!
Not used to the 5.4 km length of the race, I started to burn out at about to 12:43 mark (measured in seconds and nanoseconds) so I found another competitor with whom to match my pace. He looked about seven years old, so I thought this was reasonable. Unfortunately the little tyke ran with youthful zeal that can only be explained by a mother waiting at the finish line with candy and the new season of Law and Order on DVD, so I soon found myself falling behind.
Being a spring race, the hilly terrain of the ravine was still fairly icy and muddy, so I employed my failsafe method for going down icy hills quickly. I don’t want to give it away, but if I was the eighth dwarf, I would be “Flaily.” This seemed to work fairly well, in that I did not fall flat on my face, although in the process, I was passed by dwarves “Speedy” “Leapy” “Swifty” and “Mucleshirt”.
I made it to the finish line in 30:06 for a solid, middle-of-the-agegroup finish. In hindsight, if I’d known it was going to take that long I probably would have ran slower. A bike ride home and some hot yoga completed the Yuppie Triathlon, and I sought my reward in a delicious Chunky-Monkey muffin baked by none other than Renee Howard, the Fiera Race Team’s other new member. Overall, the experience was very satisfying. It appeared hard at first, but that was just an outer shell that gave way to a soft, perfectly baked interior, loaded with nuts and fruit, and I think some coconut. That was the muffin. The race was alright.
Our winter here felt more like Edmontonian spring, although there were few chilly and windy (Vienna is a surprisingly windy city) days too. I think we skied not more than 10 times. Nevertheless, Jan managed to take part in the most famous cx-sking race in the Czech republic – Jizerska 50s. He put the hammer down and showed what he learned in Canada. Otherwise we have been more into running. We participated in a couple of 10km races close to our home town in the Czech republic. Jan was always in the top ten – usually on his favorite 4th place. I was not that fast but at least I could show off my Fiera race jacket in front of the other Czech lady runners. Jan is now training for the Prague international marathon and keeps complaining how slow he is. This race is in May. In September, we’re going to run Ulm Marathon, because I stupidly said that if I get the Humboldt scholarship and we move to Ulm, we’ll run it together. So now I have to start training because we’re moving there in April. Jan and his brother are also organizing a 10km and a 5km run race in our little hometown in September. Here’s a link for more info: here. It would be great if you could advertise it in North America and especially if you could get the Fiera race team to participate.
That’s a brief update about our sport achievements and we’re keen to hear how life in Edmonton is. We miss you guys!
Lenka and Jan
Following up on Joe’s post yesterday regarding the “Team” part of our name, and Brian’s suggestion (in the comments) that maybe it’s the “Race” part we should rethink, I thought it would be a good time to update people on how much money we raised for charity last year by… umm… racing.
Remember, for every dollar you spend on race entry fees (any kind of race); Fiera Biological Consulting will make a matching donation to your choice of 7 different charities (those one’s on the right of the screen). All the details are in the About Us page, and reported races are in the Results tab above. The only catch is that you have to commit to donate any race winnings to charity as well, and commit to race in at least one event.
Last year, we raised a total of $2,486 and I think a six pack of Kokenee for charity. Not too shabby. The crazy thing is, we could have raised even more, if people were more diligent in reporting their races. A close look at last year’s results suggest that only Corey raced any ‘cross — common, he’s not the only hardman/hardwoman among us! So I will also take this opportunity to remind folks that if you don’t report your race, you won’t send any cash to a deserving charity. So don’t procrastinate!
Over the past four years since the inception of Fiera Race Team, it has often been suggested that we change the name to remove the word “Team”. The reason given for this suggestion is that the word implies exclusivity, and elite level competitiveness, and so, intimidates potential members who are not at an elite level of competitiveness. Officially we are Fiera Race Club, if that helps.
Because I have heard these suggestions so frequently, I have to admit that it is an issue. However, I am stubborn, and despite continued pressure, I insist that the word “team” is a positive thing. Frankly, I love seeing the word TEAM on our Jersey because to me it means a group of people working together to common goals – in our case these goals are physical activity, fitness, camaraderie, charitable works, enhanced community. In no way is the team meant to be exclusive or imply the requirement of a high level of skill or commitment on the part of our members. Anyone is welcome, no try-outs, no expectations.
When my nephew was 5, he was afraid of the letter “Y”. With so many things in the world to be afraid of, he chose the letter “Y”, not the small letter “y” mind you, just the big letter “Y”. As much as his family acknowledged and respected his fear of the big bad “Y”, they couldn’t really protect him from it because there wasn’t really anything to protect him from. I feel the same way about protecting potential club members from the word “Team”, its not possible.
Frankly, if you have never done it before, racing is intimidating, and so is joining a new club and meeting a bunch of people who already know each other. Wether we call ourselves a team, a club, a coalition, a committee, a gang, a pack, a heard, a flock or a gaggle, it is still going to be a little scary. You are going to feel like you don’t belong, and as if everyone around you knows that you are new………for about five minutes. It is those 5 minutes that people fear, not the word “Team”. I know this first hand. It took me over a year to work up my courage to walk in to a bike shop and say the words, “so……..can anyone join your club?” That was honestly one of the most important moments of my life, as it began an exciting adventure of friendships, fitness and competition that has provided a richness and balance to my life that I am not sure I would have found otherwise.
We are a Team, and for me that means that I don’t have to be fast, or win, or race at every opportunity or in every discipline — because as a member of a team, I share in the successes of everyone else on my team. For me, the fact that we are a team takes the pressure off and makes racing less intimidating. The fact that the word Team seems to cary negative connotation punctuates for me what is wrong with sport in general, and rather than cave in and stop referring to our club as a team, I am more inclined to dig my heals in and try to reclaim the word Team as the positive thing I believe it to be.
Finally, if you are considering joining our club, make sure you check out the About Us page on this website. I think we do a good job there explaining what the team is all about. In my opinion, there is no better club out there for a relaxed, no pressure attitude toward racing and competition. Now watch this, and then sign up.
See you at the starting line.
For all those interested in joining the Fiera Race Team for 2013, please note that you can sign up through Zone 4. For $75 you get a team jersey and ABA insurance, or you can go the no jersey route for $45. See you on the trials!
Dear Mr. Diotte,
Thank you for taking the time to consider this correspondence. I am writing to let you know that as a car-owner, a constituent of Ward 11, and an active voter in municipal elections, I am fully in support of the 2013 plans for bicycle routes and lanes in the City of Edmonton.
I am saddened by the tone of the rhetoric against the bike lanes in the media to-date, and am certain that it is primarily rooted in an inappropriate culture of entitlement nurtured in many car owners. I say inappropriate for a number of reasons:
1) The primary argument seems to be that the rights of a majority for parking outweighs the rights of the minority to safety. As you know, cyclists face disproportionate risk when they are in conflict with cars, and bike lanes and designated routes go a long way to buffering cyclists from hazards and reminding drivers that they share the road with people more vulnerable than themselves. I think vulnerable is a key word here Mr. Diotte, and I hope you will show some leadership on this issue and help support the efforts to provide bicycle lanes and routes to keep Edmonton’s vulnerable commuters, more safe.
2) The people who are anti-bikelane seem to think that because cyclists have a choice not to cycle, that they are entirely responsible for what happens to them on their commute, and accordingly, they incorrectly believe that it’s not up to the City to provide infrastructure to make commuting by bicycle more safe. Nor do they believe that car owners/drivers should have sacrifices imposed on them to make streets safer for cyclists. If we apply this logic without bias, the tables are easily turned; car owners have made the choice to own and drive cars,and most have the option not to; therefore, why is it the responsibility of the city to ensure they have street-front to park on? Further, what car owners sacrifice for the imposition of a bicycle lane amounts to, in most cases, an inconvenience, while what cyclists sacrifice when bike lanes are given over to car parking is in the most literal way, their safety, and all too often, their lives.
3) There seems to be an opinion that cyclists, and bike-lanes, and the supporters of bike-lanes are somehow radical. This is far from the truth. The majority of great cities in the world accommodate bicycles and recognize the services that they provide, namely pollution-free transportation that requires minimal space and minimal infrastructure to support. This is not radical, it is common sense and it is time that Edmonton joined the enlightened by recognizing the value that bicycles provide as a mode of transportation that goes beyond recreation.
Given all of this Mr. Diotte, it seems to me that you and the rest of the Edmonton City Councillors are on the verge of something important, something defining. Do you give in to the masses of the vocal self interested, or lead the City of Edmonton down a more accommodating, safer, and modern road to a better society?
Truly, Mr. Diotte, with some leadership, some white paint, and some no-parking signs, the City of Edmonton can protect the vulnerable, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce CO2 emissions, set an example for other municipalities, and join the other great enlightened cities of the world. Or, you can take the easy route by giving in to those willing to risk the lives of others so that they can “park out front”; meanwhile, Edmonton’s cyclists will continue to risk life and limb.
The Mayor has described this bike lane initiative as a nightmare, an unfortunate choice of words to say the least. To you, the Mayor, and the rest of the Edmonton City Councillors, I suggest that far better example of a nightmare is getting the news that a loved one was needlessly crushed beneath the wheels of a cement truck while commuting to school in a city far behind the times when it comes to promoting and facilitating safe urban bicycle traffic.
It’s been sometime since anyone has posted on this, but it’s not because our love of racing has diminished. Au contraire! In fact, this weekend features the 25th anniversary of the legendary Canadian Birkenbeiner Ski Festival, which attracts hordes of cross country skiers to the very same trails as our beloved Kettle Cross Enduro bicycle race. The Fiera Race Team will be well-represented this weekend by a number of smoking fast competitors who will be armed with a vast array of ski wax, and given the forecast, some are sure to also be packing the dreaded klister…
Speaking of the Kettle Cross, our race organizing committee has started planning for the second annual KCX race. We have a few tricks up our sleeves this year, so be sure to stay tuned to learn more about the 2013 edition. You will not want to miss it!
In the meantime, if you need a bit of xc-ski inspiration, check this out…
Check out the top results from Alberta at Cyclocross Nationals! And be sure to see the great write up from Mark McConnel who lined up on the front row with Geoff Kabush!
Lesley continued her amazing season this weekend at the Cyclocross National Championships in Surrey,BC. After defending her Provincial Masters title a few weeks ago in a cold and snowy race in Alberta, Lesley braved the rain and mud to take second place at the National Championships. Congrats, Lesley, you rock!! Stay tuned – we hope to have a race report from Lesley recapping her great season soon!