Conditions were beautiful for the opening day of triathlon competition, Aug. 13, in Anzac, Alta. at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games. Triathletes Desirae Ridenour (Cowichan Bay) and Michael Milic (Delta) were the lone BC athletes to step on the podium, while the remaining four members of the team still have two more chances with upcoming relay events.
Today’s triathlon included a 750 m swim in Gregoire Lake, 20 km bike and 5 km run through the Anzac community area.
Following the women’s individual triathlon Ridenour took bronze finishing in a time of 1:06.56. The Manitoba duo of Kyla Roy and Payton Ryz finished gold and silver, respectively. Three riders including Roy and Ryz led for most of the race gaining a good lead in the cycle but Ridenour did well to close the gap on the run.
“She is such a tenacious little competitor,” said Team BC head coach Kelly Guest (Victoria) of Ridenour. “She has always been determined and that showed today when she had not a great swim but got into a place where she had to take a risk to get to the podium and it paid off for the bronze.”
Sisters Hannah Henry (Victoria) and Holly Henry (Victoria), both previous BC Summer Games athletes, also represented BC today in the field of 12. Holly, the older of the two, finished fifth in a time of 1:09.09, while Team BC head coach Kelly Guest pulled Hannah Henry out of the race near the start of the run.
“Everyone has a tough day once in a while and that’s what happened (with Hannah),” described Guest. “I made the decision to pull her out of the race so that she could get a bit of extra rest and be ready to go for both relays because we are going to need her for those, for sure.”
The men’s race was a tight one from start to finish as Milic was out in front on his own after the swim and throughout the bike. A chase pack of seven athletes followed Milic throughout the four 5km loops of the bike race but the gaps got closer throughout the run. Milic was within steps of Alberta’s Cooper James Bentley at the finish line. Bentley took gold in 59.13, while Milic crossed in 59.15 for silver. Manitoba’s Darian Hole took bronze in 59.53.
“It’s pretty cool,” was Milic’s response to competing alongside Team BC teammates. “This is my first multi-sport games and I really enjoy hanging out with the guys and strategizing through these kinds of races.”
Milic’s teammates were not far behind him as Brennen Smith (Victoria) finished fourth in 1:00.14 and Brodie Marshall (Vancouver) finished seventh in 1:02.12.
Still to come are the 3 x team relay events on Aug. 15 and the mixed team relay on Aug. 16. Both events propose different opportunities for BC to be successful.
“As far as the relays go it will be interesting,” said Guest. “All the teams are super strong. Everyone has a day under their belt. The relays – anything can happen. It’s such an exciting and fun event and that’s all I know.”
Triathlon BC athletes will have a recovery day on Aug. 14 and will be back out at Anzac on Aug. 15 for the shorter-distanced relay events.