Making her first appearance at the Junior Elite World Championships late last month, Cowichan Bay triathlete Desirae Ridenour was one of the youngest in the competition, but that didn’t seem to make a difference as she finished near the front of the pack.
The 16-year-old Ridenour placed sixth in a field of more than 60 athletes between the ages of 16 and 19 at the championship race in Cozumel, Mexico, despite conditions that saw the temperature rise above 30 C, feeling even hotter when the humidity was factored in.
“As this was my first Junior Elite World Championships, I didn’t know what to expect, as I hadn’t raced against most of these girls,” Ridenour said. “However, I think I did reasonably well considering the weather conditions, which was hot and very humid.”
Ridenour’s overall time of one hour and two seconds was less than a minute back of first-place Taylor Knibb of the U.S. Ridenour was also the top Canadian in the race, finishing six spots ahead of Hannah Henry of Victoria and 17 ahead of Winnipeg’s Kyla Roy.
“I was very pleased with my swim, as I came out fourth,” she said. “I made a bike pack with about three other girls and we caught the lead group of three. However, a group of about 30 girls caught us and we formed an even bigger bike pack.
“Going into the second lap (out of four) on the bike, three girls broke away and created a gap. We were able to close the gap a bit going into Transition 2. On the first lap of the run (two laps in total), I felt really tired and didn’t have my running legs. I tried to pace myself the best I could. Doing so resulted in a few girls passing me. However, on lap two I got my running legs and felt a lot better and was able to pass a few girls and place sixth.”
Ridenour also helped Canada to a sixth-place finish in the junior/U23 relay event, teaming with Henry, Oliver Blecher and Charles Paquet for a time of 1:06:56, 27 seconds back of first-place Spain.
The events in Mexico marked the end of the triathlon season for Ridenour, who is now concentrating on high school cross-country running for Cowichan Secondary.
“Next year I will be going into my third year in the Junior Elite category,” she explained. “Next season, I am hoping to travel to Europe and do some other higher level races in the summer before hopefully competing at Worlds again in the Netherlands.”