The Gateway Magazine - September 2019

Page 12


If At First You Don’t Succeed,

Tri(athlon) Again TEXT & PHOTO HALEY DANG Waking up early is difficult enough for the average student. Now, try waking up early knowing that you’ll be doing not one, but three gruelling races alongside hundreds of other people. For Sydney Ens, this is the kind of day she looks forward to every summer. Sydney is a third year environmental conservation student. In addition to being a student, research assistant, and lifeguard, she’s also a triathlete. As the “tri” implies, a triathlon is not one event, but three: a 1.5 km swim, a 40 km bike ride, and a 10 km run, done one after the other. The world of triathlon can seem intimidating; doing the race alone is a feat in and of itself, never mind trying to beat others. But for a girl from Saskatoon, the intense physical endurance is a total blast. After a swim practice, 13-year-old Sydney saw a poster advertising a triathlon training camp. “I remember thinking that would be so cool to try,” she says. The program offered was only a three week training camp, but after some googling she found a club affiliated with the Saskatchewan Triathlon Centre. This club would offer longer bouts of training and give Sydney a chance to get more serious with the sport. Her mom, Sydney recalls, took a little convincing. “I remember begging my mom, ‘come on, can I try it out, can I please do this.’” After a question-filled phone call, Sydney’s mom got her into the next practice. Armed with the little experience she had in competitive biking and swimming, Sydney attended her first bike practice as a triathlete. Unfortunately, the outdoor session turned out to have less than ideal weather conditions: it was a rainy day and Sydney was falling behind the group. A lot of her fellow athletes were worried she wouldn’t come to future practices because of the difficult introduction. “But I just loved it and kept coming back,” says Sydney. In wet and muddy conditions, Sydney discovered a love of triathlon that she didn’t know she had, and that love only grew as she got older. Hooked on the sport, Sydney gradually became more involved and got more competitive with it throughout high school. By the time she was in grade 12, she was


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