I have raced Riyaad 34 times by my count, including today's race, and I have only beat him three times, only when he had medical issues. Of course, there was the time in North Bay when he couldn't really breathe for some reason and still managed to beat everyone else on our team of thirteen. Today, as you might imagine, was no different. I have now lost sixteen straight races to our bowling afficionado from Brampton, dating back to the Terry Fox Run in 2003, which may have not been billed as a race, but was a race for our purposes here.
The race today was the third and last one in my series of holiday-themed races celebrating, in order, Christmas, secular holiday culture and the New Year, although only the first two were ones I took seriously (especially the second one) in trying to salvage something out of the fall. I trained through this one, not that it really mattered. This one took place out in the Beaches, at a very inappropriately named place called Balmy Beach. I ran the snow-covered nine-kilometre course in just under 36 minutes, placing sixth and falling just short of fifth when an old guy proved himself to be tougher in the final three hundred metres. Nothing hurts quite as much as grinding out a race on the snow, although few things in the sport are as much fun.
The lesson learned afterward was that the journey from boyhood to manhood is nearly complete; I was entered in the open men division and therefore did not come away with a cherry-picked prize. Perhaps it's best that I didn't, Riyaad toughed it out on the snow for a powder blue shirt and a bottle of 2005 Chardonnay.