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Cowichan triathlete Desirae Ridenour wins junior nationals

Cowichan Bay triathlete Desirae Ridenour won the Canadian junior championship in Ottawa late last month, and will get to represent Canada at the ITU World Junior Elite Championships in Mexico next month.


Ridenour completed the race in 59 minutes and 55.8 seconds, a minute and four seconds ahead of second-place Hannah Henry. Ridenour came out of the water a close second behind eventual bronze medallist Emily Wagner after the 750m swim, then stuck with Wagner through the 20km bike ride before surging ahead during the 5km run and staying there.

“The race went really well,” Ridenour said. “I had a good start to the 750m swim and was out in the lead. About 250m into the swim I was able to get onto Emily Wagner’s feet and drafted behind for the rest of the swim. We went into transition together with another girl [Kyla Roy] a few seconds behind us. Emily and I formed the lead pack and worked together for the entire bike. The chase pack was about 40 or 50 seconds back when we left [the first transition]. At the end of the bike it turned into a 50 or 60-second lead on the chase pack. I had a good [second transition] and was out in the lead for the run. I was able to create a bigger gap between me and the rest of the field and run myself to win the race.”

Ridenour’s split times included 10:41 for the swim, 29:34 for the bike, and 18:42 for the run. She was one second off the best time in the field for the swim, two seconds off the best time for the bike, and seven seconds ahead of the next best runner.

This was Ridenour’s second time at the national junior championships, following a sixth-place finish in Magog, Que. last year.

“This race was very similar to the other bigger races I have competed in,” she said. “However for this race, we raced at 5 p.m. instead of the morning, and it was only Canadians racing.”

The day after the individual race, Ridenour and Henry were joined by Brennen Smith and Michael Milic to make up the B.C. team that won the mixed relay, beating 19 other teams from across Canada. The B.C. quartet finished nearly a minute ahead of second-place Manitoba-1.

By winning the individual junior championship, Ridenour earned one of three Canadian spots at the world championships in Cozumel, Mexico next month.

“To qualify for worlds means I will be racing against the fastest junior elite women in the world,” Ridenour said. “It will be a very competitive race to see where you stand in the world.”