For those on Facebook or iamtri.com this is originally posted at my blog at http://www.slow-triathlete.blogspot.com/
Across Canada there are hundreds of children's parents paying thousands of dollars to send their little Crosbys and Ovechkins to skate with the pros at hockey camps. Conversely, thousands of triathletes pay hundreds of dollars to have the opportunity to swim, bike and run and suffer alongside the likes of Chris McCormack and Normann Stadler.
Can there be such a thing as a fan of triathlon?
Sure. Why not?
It is tough to follow your sport unless you look carefully and/or know where to point your mouse. There is hardly any TV out there and when there is, it is almost never live. This sad state of affairs is something that makes it pretty tough to cheer on your favourite athletes from your armchair, or better yet, propped atop your trainer gathering motivation.
Attempting to view races after they happen, is hard to become engrossed in, with the winners and drama usually already known. Ironmanlive.com and Triathlon.org, the online homes of the World Triathlon Corporation and International Triathlon Union, allow fans of this sport to watch and listen to the race as it unfolds and on the day it happens. Ironmanlive.com even provides coverage up to a few days before a major race, where fans can take part in almost every aspect of the race, not in the water and on the road, but from the comfort of their own homes.
Online triathlon forums like Slowtwitch.com, Beginnerstriathlete.com etc. are now allowing fans of racing to comment on and 'trash talk' via the web while watching the race in another window. Even the pros get into the act on the forums commenting on their own races with anecdotes, training and race reports from their perched view. It is doubtful that one could find Sidney Crosby on a hockey forum after a play-off game describing how his night went, but within the triathlon community the pros live the same lives as we do, albeit to the nth degree.
Having a favourite hockey player is all well and good to model your style on the ice after, but can a fan find the training regimen of an NHL star? A lot of pro triathletes write articles for magazines on their methods of training and many of the same, as previously alluded to, post their training days in forums and the latest favourite - blogs. Many of the Canadian Olympians, including Simon Whitfield, Paul Tichelaar and Colin Jenkins all have information packed blogs. Jenkins’ chronicle even had postings of his quest to make the Beijing team; detailing his thoughts and training on the journey to the team. Coach Joel Filiol posts scientific and general athletic interest articles on his blog. Another great blog is Kirsten Sweetland's 'Diary of a 19 Year Old In Sport'. It is a great insight into the life of a new pro and a quest to achieve prominence in hers and yours sport - including her candid account of her melt down in Des Moines last season with only about 500m to go and a guaranteed spot on the Olympic squad.
A triathlete's inability to turn on the TV and get a live feed from a race has not inhibited them from becoming a fan of the sport and the personalities within. The intensity of a professional endurance athlete translates well to the page (or screen) and is a tool for any triathlete to cling to and use.