A little sooner than she anticipated, Desirae Ridenour is heading to the Commonwealth Games.
The 18-year-old triathlete from Cowichan Bay achieved one of her goals when she was named to the six-person team that will represent Canada in Australia’s Gold Coast at the 2018 Games in April.
“I was definitely hoping to go to the Commonwealth Games,” the 2017 Cowichan Secondary School grad admitted. “But I didn’t think it would be this soon.”
Ridenour will be joined on the women’s team by Ontario athletes Joanna Brown and Dominika Jamnicky, carrying Canada’s high hopes into the individual and relay competitions.
“They’re really pushing for us to grab one of the medals,” Ridenour said.
Ridenour said she was “pretty surprised” to be picked for the Canadian team, not only because she thought it would happen further down the road, but also because she wasn’t happy with her last two races of the 2017 season.
“I had a pretty decent season, but my last two results didn’t reflect what I’m capable of,” she said.
She finished eighth at the junior world championships in the Netherlands on Sept. 15, placing in the top-10 for the second year in a row, although she wasn’t pleased with it.
“I was trying to get on the podium this year,” she explained. “My swim wasn’t there, and that set me up for not the best result.”
A week later, she again fell short of her goal in a Super League event at Jersey, in the Channel Islands.
“I did OK the first day, but on the second day I crashed and I was eliminated,” she recalled.
The rest of Ridenour’s season went much better. After crashing in her first event, she won both the CAMTRI Triathlon Junior American Championships in Quebec and the Junior European Cup in Hungary, then won three gold medals at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.
Ridenour isn’t sure what her goal is for the Commonwealth Games. That’s something she’ll have to figure out as the event gets closer, based on her races leading up to April, and the competition.
“Not all of the countries have released who’s going, so I don’t know the competition. I’ll have to see how it goes.”
Currently studying general sciences at the University of Victoria, Ridenour will take next semester off as she trains in Arizona for most of January and February, then heads to a race in Abu Dhabi, and finally arrives in Australia four weeks before the Commonwealth Games.
As for her aims beyond the Gold Coast, Ridenour doesn’t know what’s next after that.
“I don’t really have a plan,” she said. “I’ll just keep racing and see where it takes me. You never know what’s going to happen.”