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Opinion: Taking a pass on virtual racing

Virtual racing will stay on hold during the summer months says this coach and avid triathlete

Sorry virtual racing, it’s not you, it’s me. Well, it’s really the weather.

Here I am, it’s 7 a.m. and the Okanagan sun has already been blazing for over an hour. It’s Sunday and I’m working on my second cup of dark roast, pondering the possibilities of the day.

No races on the schedule. No pressure. No expectations.

I’m really liking it.

Yesterday was a great day of riding with a friend and an impromptu 2 km swim in the lake, just because it felt so good. And boy, did it ever.

No pace clock. No lane ropes. No stroke correction.

Just the stern chiding of a female mallard if I got too close.

In the last edition of Triathlon Magazine Canada, editor Kevin Mackinnon queried, “can there be triathletes, without triathlons.” I don’t know. Over the past eight glorious weeks of this all too short Canadian summer, all I know is that if the sun is out, I am not going to be in a basement or gymnasium doing some prescribed torture session, however well-intentioned it may be. (I have to say that because I am a coach and this is what I do).

All of that writing, just to get to the main point. During the sun-drenched days, weeks and months that we have been enjoying up here in the Great White North, doing a virtual reality race has zero appeal. Doing a VR event when it’s sunny and 25 out would be the same as choosing Velveeta over a big slab of Gouda.

Having been in this sport for 30 summers, I find it liberating not to be tied to the orthodoxy of a training schedule that traditionally ends up in the shattered dreams that is the run segment of an Ironman.

And I still feel like a triathlete.

Once the leaves turn to red and the skies to grey, that whole VR world might seem like the greener side of the fence. But that’s not today.

Kevin Heinz is a regular contributor to Triathlon Magazine Canada. He is the host of the FitSpeak podcast.