Preparing for Edmonton's triathlon

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:30 AM ET

What do you get when you cross a 1,500-metre swim, a 40-kilometre bike race and a 10-kilometre run?

For most of us, it's a serious side ache. Or maybe an ambulance ride.

But for the ridiculously conditioned athletes competing in tomorrow's Edmonton BG World Cup Triathlon, it's a shot at $100,000 in total prize money.

The annual competition at Hawrelak Park boasts 110 of the best competitors on the planet, including Olympic, Commonwealth, Pan-Am, American, Canadian, Asian and European champions. They're even calling it the Weekend of Champions, but the one champ who won't be here is Canadian Simon Whitfield, who couldn't fit Edmonton in around his schedule of big-money races.

'ONE LESS GUY TO WORRY ABOUT'

"It would be great to have him here, he's what Canadian triathlon is all about,'' said American champion Hunter Kemper. "He raced last weekend and he's racing next weekend. It's unfortunate he's not going to be here. It would have been nice to go against him, but it's one less guy to worry about, I guess.''

Kemper understands that Whitfield wants to save himself for a shot at a huge purse next weekend in Minneapolis.

"It just depends what his overall preparation is. I'm here and I want to go really well at the big money event next weekend in Minneapolis as well. I think my preparation is ideal for coming him, get a tune-up race before I go over there. He also raced last weekend, so it would be the third race if a row. I can't fault him. You have to make a living at this sport. I'm excited to be here, it's good money here as well.''

And a good field, including Kemper and two-time and defending world champion Emma Snowsill of Australia, a heavy favourite on the women's side.

"She's racing like a man, but in the body of a cute little girl,'' joked Montreal's Kathy Tremblay, a silver medallist at the recent Canadian championships.

"If I'm going to challenge her, I know I have a lot of work to do.''

Snowsill, who practically lapped the field a few weeks ago in South Africa, winning by four and a half minutes, might have the inside track on the $12,500 first-place cheque, but doesn't take anything for granted in a field like this one. She says it's like golf, where you have to play the course as much as you play the competition.

COMMONWEALTH CHAMP READY

"Like every other race I go into, I'm here to test myself and see what I can do on the day,'' said the 25-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medallist. "Part and parcel of sport is living up to your own expectations above everyone else's. A win is a win, but all I can ask is that I do my best on the day.''

St. Albert's Carolyn Murray, coming off a bronze medal at the Canadian championships, is one of Canada's rising threats on the women's side.

"I'm definitely excited,'' said Murray.

"I always look forward to this race. I know the course really well and can kind of feed off the energy of the fans.

"This year I feel really rested and I'm looking forward to it.

"Every year I feel like I'm getting stronger and stronger.

"It's been a lot of hard work to get to where I am now. I'm just starting to figure things out.''

FAST PEDALS: The women's race begins tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. followed by the men at 3:30. There is plenty of parking around the course, but none inside the park ... Edmonton is one of 15 stops on the BG Triathlon World Cup circuit and one of only two in North America (Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, is the other).


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