We have all been sharing the experience that is world wide quarantine so I thought I would share an update as we slowly start to emerge from our hiding places! Covid 19 has thrown mine, like everyone else’s, 2020 plans in the bin. However, to my core I am very person, which may turn out to be a negative but only time will tell. As such there will be no dwelling on the negatives and I have in fact been taking positives and opportunities during lock down. A positive attitude can overcome anything.
You might be wondering what positives can be taken while we are unable to do anything or see anyone. I will get to this, but to start with I refocused on new goals, took time to recover from injuries and have been trying new things to broaden my horizons.
So lets start with what was planned in 2020 and the latest:
- March 7th – UBC Olympic Triathlon – pulled out injured – not Covid’s fault
- March 8th – Steelhead fishing – squeezed in one day before everything stopped
- May 2nd – Ironman St George, Utah, Postponed – I will be racing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in June 2021
- May 30th – Ironman 70.3 Hawaii – Postponed – June 2021
- July – Kits Challenge, 6km Open water Swim – Cancelled
- August 22-24 – 30th birthday treat Steelhead fishing on the Skeena – should be fine
- September 7th – Stanley Park Triathlon – Very much at risk
- September – Trip home and IOW Triathlon – Very much at risk
- December 18th – Trip to UK and Cornwall – Hopefully should be fine
So how did I stay positive given the level of disruption. Primarily I kept busy and have been planning ahead with adjusted goals and jumping on new opportunities. The update is separated in to 3 sections: what I have been doing to keep myself entertained, a triathlon update and a fishing update.
Covid came to Canada, especially BC, late, so by the time things started to close we knew what to expect. I was eventually instructed to work from home so I went out to prepare for a lock down. To be clear I DO NOT mean panic buying as that’s stupid, and anyway my panic buying is very different to everyone else!
I live alone and so if I was working from home as well I would need to be prepared for an extended stint in isolation.
I am probably better equipped than most for this as I enjoy my own company and spend quite a lot of time alone. My current hobbies, triathlon and fishing, are both very solo and I am always happy entertaining myself. My best traveling experience was 3 weeks alone in Alaska, I disappeared off the grid and didn’t spend a night in a bed. It was awesome!!
Where I thought I might struggle was being cooped up, so I wanted to be prepared. In hindsight we were lucky in Vancouver as at no point were we put under restrictions. We just had to social distance and everything was closed.
As I mentioned panic buying is stupid, although I’m not sure I fully grasped the concept. People laughed when I told them about my panic buys: books, paint by numbers, jigsaws, holidays and a bike.
My first activity was a jigsaw of world landmarks. 1500 pieces and the perfect challenge to ease in to isolation.
Next up was a paint by numbers of tigers. I have no artistic ability so staying inside the lines was a challenge. Great fun and pretty happy with the outcome but unfortunately you can still see the numbers so I can’t claim it as an original Sheldon! I also learnt that my plates aren’t the best thing to mix paints on as it doesn’t come off! Ooops!!
Upon completion I returned to jigsaws with my second of the circus, I didn’t really bond with this ones you can tell 6 weeks later…..
Instead I moved on to my second paint by numbers which I got stuck in to. It has taken for ever, and isn’t quite finished, but so happy with the outcome….
If I needed I have a final paint by numbers of wolves which I’m sure I will get to at some point.
My New Year’s resolution was to learn Spanish and I have been sticking to my lessons on Duolingo. This is slow progress and not sure how effective it is but I do my daily lesson and am on a 125 day streak!!
I have never been the biggest reader, unlike the rest of my family, but I’m using this time as an opportunity to try and bank some reading. I have got myself a great selection of books and I am slowly working my way through them!
Finally, being stuck inside forces my mind outside and I have come up with some great ideas which are mostly covered in the following two sections. One I thought I would mention here is my ‘panic’ purchase a touring bike.
A few years ago I considered cycling across the USA but instead decided to take triathlon seriously. However, the lure of touring has never gone away.
With the help of the team at SideSaddle I have finally entered the touring world and have managed to combine it with fishing. I am the proud owner of a Brodie Romulus, a gravel/touring bike
‘Romulus’ is set up for fishing touring adventures. There will be a couple more additions but what a set up!!
I already have some exciting summer adventures lined up with Romulus!
Talking about bikes leads me nicely on to the next section….
Covid has been a disaster for triathlon in general. I was meant to do my first Ironman this year but that has been pushed to 2021. I should be peaking for races but have instead returned to building fitness (apart from swimming).
I am not going to lie there is a silver lining for me. I have struggled with injuries this year and probably wouldn’t have been in great shape for a full Ironman. So the postponement isn’t a disaster although I am sad I wont be racing in Utah. I was also lucky my races were early in the season and a decision was made quickly. I have sympathy for people with races in August/September as they have to keep training even though they may well be cancelled.
Training wise, working from home is great. Having more time available means the quality of my training has improved and we have been blessed with the weather!!
The lack of swimming is a concern but I have braved a couple of sea swims even if it is still on the chilly side for anything major! I am blaming the cold rather than my lack of fitness for not being able to swim very far but it will come back! I am at least lucky to have the option.
Hopefully my two shorter races in September will go ahead, there is nothing I can do but wait and see. It would be particularly sad if my trip home had to be cancelled, especially as my parents trip to support me in Utah also had to be canned. However, being the positive person I am, the changes actually mean new opportunities rather than missed opportunities.
Mt two main races have been moved so I will now be racing in Hawaii and Idaho in 2021. Idaho is no Utah but its much easier to get to and is still very pretty!!
There will be no triathlons this summer so I have taken the opportunity to focus on some fishing. More on that later….
The cancelation of the race calendar has allowed some exciting opportunities to present themselves. Firstly a charity cycling challenge and then a unique opportunity to do some winter races that are normally during my off season.
The charity challenge: An idiot friend of mine (Liam) has convinced me to climb Mt Everest on my bike in August. That’s 8,848m of climbing in one go. As it would be hard to cycle up Everest we will be doing it on a local mountain and going round and round. The route will be roughly 10 laps of Mt Seymour, 12km of climbing with roughly 850m of elevation each time. I have estimated this to be around 12hrs in the saddle. As I said, my friend is an idiot!
I will be doing this for two charities, one in the UK and one in BC.
First up is the West Wight Sports Centre. This is where I spent my weekends as a child and learnt to swim. This is such an important community project so any money raised will go to supporting the recovery from Covid and essential projects. I am trying to raise £5000 so any donations would be much appreciated:
The BC charity I am supporting is Kidsport, and I hope to raise $1000. This is a charity that helps children unable to participate in sport. I have always been lucky enough to play multiple sports and will do what I can to help others enjoy the passion and camaraderie that it generates! Again any donations very much appreciated:
Usually I spend the winter putting my feet up and taking a well deserved rest. Not this year!! I have entered races in Los Cabos, in November, and Florida, in December. This is where my positivity may come back to bite me as I am confident things will be better and the races will go ahead. However, if they end up being cancelled I may look rather silly! Oh well, dreams are important and worst case I get a beach holiday.
The Florida race in particular is rather exciting. The initial excitement was that the race is within the Daytona International Speedway race track which will make it pretty spectacular! As an additional bonus the PTO (Professional Triathlon Organisation) have offered a huge prize purse to the professionals. Given there has been next to no racing this year we should expect a stellar line up. All the big names, including yours truly, will be there!!
I have managed to squeeze in a days fishing at both races as well which leads me nicely in to…..
Post race in Florida I have a morning on the flats chasing Black Drum, Red Fish and Sea Trout (different to the UK) on the fly. In Mexico I will have the chance to catch a Marlin on the fly. I probably won’t but there are loads of other fish as well!!
With triathlon taking a back seat, fishing will be making the most of its opportunity to be center stage! Vancouver is amazingly placed for some of the best fishing in the world.
I have already spoken about Florida, Mexico and the bike touring/fishing adventures.
The highlight of the year is undoubtedly going to be a my August trip to Skeena Spey Lodge in Northern BC. The Skeena is a world renowned river for steelhead fishing and I can’t wait. Being in BC and in August puts the level of risk for this trip quite low which is lucky as it’s my 30th present to myself! And yes this will qualify as essential travel!
The other trip in the pipeline is some trout fishing in Montana and Idaho. Bozeman, Montana is the Mecca of trout fishing and given its proximity I have to make it down. I had guides all lined up for a long weekend in July but international travel is looking unlikely so unfortunately I may have to push this to later in the year for some autumn fishing.
Given I have accepted this is not going to happen I am now in the process of booking a last minute trip to the Skeena in July to chase King Salmon (Chinook). If we have to do staycations they are going to be done properly. King salmon are the biggest of the salmon and can get up to 50lbs in BC. That’s a big fish!! There is also a chance I will catch early run pink salmon which would mean I’ve completed the 5 Pacific salmon set. Then just got to get myself an Atlantic one!
The final fishing adventure this year will be a days sturgeon fishing. While not the most exciting, put bait down and wait, the end result could be spectacular. Effectively catching a huge dinosaur!! I saw them breaking the surface in Castelgar, but need to tick the box off and see one up close!
So there is plenty keeping me excited amidst the global doom and gloom.
One final confession. I made one very silly impulse Covid purchase, so over priced and not very effective, but I bought this fun fishing towel that helps me plan out more adventures!!
On that silly note I will end the update. I am trying to catch up on some blog post from historic trips but with so much keeping me busy they are proving hard to get to!
Stay healthy and safe!
PS for your amusement this is me with a 8 week attempt at a beard!!