Racing in the Magical Land of Tim Horton’s

Summer Cook

I headed up to Canada for a pair of races this month and had two of my best triathlon results to date!


The race in Toronto also doubled as the test event for next summer’s Pan American Games. The course was urban and took place on some of the most beautifully paved roads I had ever seen. Both the bike and the run featured a steep ramp hill on each lap, which added an element of difficulty (and post-race soreness) to the event.

  • Led out of frigid Lake Ontario but then followed it up by possibly taking a siesta in T1 – good thing I had opened up a gap in the water!
  • Did some of my best cornering ever on all but one of the corners per lap; let a gap open up on that corner and ended up time trialing for three laps
  • Time trialing for three laps instead of sitting up and waiting was the nail in my coffin; was running in third for 9k of the run and then blew up and got passed and had a 30s gap put on me in the last kilometer… lesson learned!
  • Disappointed to miss the podium but I saw clear improvements AND did well enough to get drug tested for the first time, so I couldn’t be too upset!


My first elite sprint distance race took place in a small, hilly town in Quebec. I wasn’t sure what to expect after my race in Toronto, but I was eager to give the race a go despite my fatigue, lake algae that was frighteningly overgrown, and a technical downhill section on the bike.

  • My first beach start in a race left something to be desired, but luckily didn’t affect me too badly in the long run this time around.
  • Got gapped on the first corner of the bike and didn’t have it in my still thrashed legs to catch back on to the other girl. I thought I was toast until I realized how long it was taking the chasers to catch me and figured I wasn’t the only one hurting, which was encouraging.
  • Came off the back of chasers on technical section but caught back on after a long descent (a former fear that I conquered!) and hung on until the technical section on the next lap.
  • Even though I didn’t catch back onto the group after the last technical section I did enough to run myself onto…
  • MY VERY FIRST ELITE PODIUM! Which my parents made it out to see!
  • Proof that you don’t have to feel good to find a way to make a good race happen

Oh, Canada

A few non-race highlights of the trip:

  •  Toronto bus tour (we were feeling lazy post race) loved how clean and beautiful the city was!
  • Niagara Falls side trip
  • Tim Hortons’s
  • Getting by in Quebec on a combination of about five French phrases intermixed with English and the occasional, accidental Spanish word
  • My awesome travel buddies: Johanna Gartman, Ryan Bice, and coach Chris Baker

Special thank you’s to USA Triathlon; the Elite Triathlon Academy; Team Psycho; Sampson Sports; my parents; and my awesome Springs homestay, the Harris family, for all playing a support role for me. I credit my success in these races to a combination of the work I put in during this past training block and the fact that I had an absolute blast on this trip and during training in the weeks prior. I truly believe that in order to experience success you have to enjoy what you are doing first. I spent too many years of my athletic career thinking that success would breed enjoyment of my sport and I’ve come to realize I had it backwards. I’ve had my first taste of success at the elite level and I’m hungry for more and ready to keep having fun chasing it!