The triathlon world has its eyes on Edmonton this weekend as top athletes race through the city in the first-ever Professional Triathlete Organization Canadian Open.
The first event offers a $1 million purse, with four races on Saturday and Sunday.
The triathlon series begins with a two-kilometre swim in Hawrelak Park Lake, followed by an 80-kilometre bike course and an 18-kilometre run.
For Olympian Paula Findlay, a competitor in Saturday’s women’s pro event, being so close to home adds a little more incentive to finish at the top.
“I feel extra pressure as someone from my hometown in Edmonton. I try not to get affected too much mentally, but that’s definitely a thing,” Findlay told reporters before the race.
“I definitely prefer racing as an underdog, sort of flying under the radar. But getting to this level of an event and succeeding there would kind of confirm that I chose the right path.
The Pro Women and the Junior Men’s and Women’s race on Saturday, while the Pro Men race on Sunday.
These are two important days for professional triathletes, as the races on Saturday and Sunday are the last qualifier for the Collins Cup, which is the flagship event of the Professional Triathlete Organization.
For Findlay, living locally has no shortage of family and friends to cheer her on throughout the 100 kilometer race.
“Winning in Canada anytime is cool. So especially in Edmonton, it would be the coolest thing ever.