My second race of the Western Canada Summer Games (WCSG) was the super sprint relay. In this event, each member of your team does a mini triathlon that consists of a 375m swim, a 10km bike, and a 2.5km run. Myself, Sadie Schaffer and Nicole Cripps were the members of Team Sask. Our relay had a rocky start, Sadie had a rough swim and was stuck in transition for agonizing minutes as she struggled to remove her wetsuit. After her transition, Sadie had a strong race but was unable to make up much time on third so at the end of her leg of the race we were still far back from a medal. Nicole was up next and also had a strong race but, like Sadie, she was unable to make up much time on Manitoba who was in third place. At the start of my portion of the relay my coach yelled how much I had to catch up if we wanted a medal: two minutes and fifty seconds. This large time gap didn’t faze me much, going into the race I knew that it would be up to me to win my team a medal. Although we were a little further behind then I’d thought we would be, I knew that medal was within my grasp. I dove into the water at full speed and had an awesome swim, gaining 40 seconds on third place in the swim alone. I jumped onto my bike and attacked every hill, pushing myself to the max. I gradually gained time on every of the four bike loops and by the time I started by run I was just 46 seconds behind third. After maxing out on the bike, my legs felt like lead as I started the run. I ran up the first hill, willing my legs to move faster, to push harder. As I rounded the first corner I could hear people cheering for me, willing me on. I heard my coach say “you’ve gained 10 seconds” and then I fell. Goodbye 10 seconds. I scrambled up and got my stride back up to speed and within a few seconds I’d forgotten that I’d fallen. By the time I reached the final hill, third was in sight! I started up the hill and the last of my energy left my legs. The hill, which was big to begin with, suddenly felt like an incredibly steep mountain. I willed my legs on, thinking not about how much they hurt, but on catching the person in front of me. I made it to the top and I was around 8 seconds behind third. I knew it was going to be a very close race and that I would have to step it up to the next gear if I wanted that medal, even if I felt like I couldn’t go any harder. Halfway down the hill I found that next gear and started sprinting like I’ve never sprinted before. 100 meters from the finish I managed to pass Manitoba and sprint across the line in third place. I immediately collapsed on the ground having just given 110%. Manitoba crossed the line seconds after me and collapsed beside me. In this race I managed to post the fastest run time yet again. I was so happy and proud of myself and my team; we all performed so well!
The next day I competed in the individual sport relay. In this relay each member of the team does a specific leg of the triathlon (swim, bike or run). Sadie swam, I biked, and Nicole ran. Sadie had a strong swim, beating her swim time from the individual triathlon by nearly a minute! Unfortunately, the girls that she was swimming against were very fast speed swimmers so I started my leg of the race 2 minutes behind third. I managed to catch her at the very end of the 20km bike and ran into transition neck and neck with Manitoba. Nicole ran her heart out and posted a very fast run time but, this time, Manitoba had a little bit more then we did and we ended up in fourth. All in all I think that myself and my team performed very strongly at the WCSG, it was one awesome week!
After the Games we traveled straight to Kelowna to prepare for Nationals. I had a strong couple of weeks of training and was feeling great going into the race. I had a great start position and got into first after the start. I managed to finally have a good swim and made the front pack. The bike was fairly easy because our pack wasn’t working that well together and we all started the run together. I ran as hard as I could and had a great kick at the end, ending up in fourth place just 5 seconds behind third. This placement, as well as my others of the year, placed me third overall in the Canadian Junior Points Series. I was happy with this finish as the Junior Woman’s field was probably the strongest it has ever been. Ellen Pennock who won Nationals will likely medal at Worlds and Joanna Brown who got second at Nationals got third at Worlds last year. Also, everyone who beat me at Nationals this year will be too old for Juniors next year so I will be ranked first in Canada at the start of next year.
As my triathlon season comes to an end my cross country season starts. This year I will be running with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and can’t wait to get started! My first race is on September 17th in Regina, SK and it’s going to be awesome.