With the Olympic Triathlons and Canadian Nationals on the same weekend, I didn't really do justice to some of the racing we saw in Kelowna last week. So let's rewind a bit, and recognize some great racing (with an Ontario and PTC bias, of course) - I hope I can remember most of it.....
The Juniors raced on Saturday, and they ended up with the hottest conditions of the weekend. Pre-race favourite Paula Findlay (AB) took the win, with Marianne Hogan (QC) 2nd and Christine Ridenour (BC) 3rd. Hogan made a great move into T1 and onto the bike to bridge the 10-15 sec. gap up to the lead 4 athletes. Kyla Coates (BC) had a great swim to make the front 4 out of the water, but later crashed out in a corner. The lead pack of 5 (and later 4) athletes proved that you can win a race on the run, but you can lose it on the swim - the podium came from that lead pack. We had four Ontario athletes in the race: Lindsay Anderson (6th), Dorelle Hinton (7th Canadian/8th overall), Angela Quick(11th/12th) and Emilie Potvin (28th/30th). Lindsay made the chase pack and had a strong race after some tough races earlier this season. Dorelle capped off a great year - her first full year of junior racing - with a strong race from start to finish, including a ~10k solo effort on the bike. Although Angela dropped a few places from last year's Nationals, it was a success in my books for two reasons: 1) most of Ang's races this year have been hindered (or ended) due to breathing problems thanks to a long bout of pneumonia in the spring; 2) Due to a lower seed for the start, Ang had to line up on the far left for the swim - athletes on the right had a distinctly shorter line to the first buoy, so Ang had to put in the fastest first 300m just to move over to catch the lead group. Emilie Potvin rounded out the Ontario contingent, with her first ever draft legal race, in her first year of junior racing. Congrats to all athletes.
In the Junior mens' race, there were 10 athletes from Ontario: Matt Vierula (1), Ian Donald (6), Connor Hammond(8), Alexander Hinton(13), Taylor Reid(21), Ryan Ditchfield(27), James Higgins(31), Mark Bechtel(?), Travis Goron(DNF) and Karsten Madsen(DNF). If one word could describe the racing of these guys, it would be 'tough'; they raced in the full heat of the day and gave everything they had. This is shaping up to be a very long post, so I'll highlight the guys who had tough days, but hung in there: Connor showed real toughness battling the heat and hanging in for 8th after a solid swim/bike combo. Ian Donald and Taylor Reid both had to solo most (all) of the bike - nice job pushing the pace and staying focussed. Mark Bechtel wasn't in the results (lost chip?), but he was there - he crashed at the turnaround in one of the early laps, but got back on his bike, and held on during the run, despite the road rash and bruising. Travis Goron had the worst luck of the day - some random guy (likely one of the 50+ people who call the City Park home during the summer) walked onto the bike course, and pushed Travis off of his bike. Travis was banged up, but got back on his bike, only to be lapped out by the leaders. Finally, Karsten didn't get a chance to light up the bike course, due to a flat. The race directors were gracious enough to comp his entry into the AG sprint the next day - and Karsten won the race overall, despite the lack of aero bars or a time trial set-up on this bike.
I did manage to get Matt Vierula's finish on video (see below):
The big guns raced on Sunday. It was forecast to be hotter than Saturday, but the clouds rolled in, with an epic thunderstorm during the end of the men's run, so conditions were warm, but not as hot as Saturday.
The Ontario athletes were a battered crew heading into this one: Rachel O'Reilly raced with a broken arm, Andrew Woegerer had a recent concussion, Andrew Yorke was getting treatment on his back 20mins before the start, and James Loaring has his nose broken in the first 50m of the swim (and kept racing!).
Both races were exciting. Paula Findlay (ON) won the women's race, effectively consolidating the Junior, U23 and Elite crowns. Kerry Spearing (BC) took second, after a solo 40k ride, and Tenille Hoogland (ON) rounded out the podium. In the men's race, Brent McMahon gave the field a taste of what World Cup speed looks like, claiming his first Elite national title. AP B-Smith (ON) had a solid race, finishing 2nd (1st U23), and Jordan Bryden (AB) survived a dropped chain at the bottom of the climb to finish 3rd Canadian. Our own James Loaring had a solid race, 9th overall in the Continental Cup, and 4th Canadian, despite a broken nose that bled for the first hour of the race. James is currently sporting two black eyes.
We can't forget the Age-Group races, which took place on Sunday morning. Two PTC'ers toed the line, looking for some hardware. Adrian Delmonte took the win in the 25-29 age group, after a stellar opening swim. Tom "the Tank" Lokody also had a strong swim, exiting the water with Mike Greenberg, with a 2:15 lead over 3rd place. Tom went on to finish 3rd in the 30-34 age group. Well done gentlemen.
I managed to take some pics over the weekend, which you can find here.
Barb Sharpe, Team BC manager and mother to Junior Men's Silver Medallist Matt Sharpe, took much better pictures than I did. You can find them here.
Congrats to all athletes and coaches, and apologies if I've forgotten anyone.