MAGOG, Que.— Desirae Ridenour and Hannah Henry put on a show while working together in front of a boisterous Canadian crowd to win the gold and silver medals for the red and white at the CAMTRI Triathlon Junior American Championships in Magog, Que. on Saturday morning.
The 17-year-old National Development Team athletes battled through a rough swim and a deep international field to grab the top-two spots in one of the most prestigious junior races of the season outside the World Championships. Ridenour, of Cowichan Bay, B.C. clocked the winning time of 1:05:15.0. Victoria’s Henry finished nine seconds off the pace in the silver medal position of the podium at 1:05:24.0.
“That was a pretty rough swim, but when I saw I was beside a familiar face in Hannah, we motivated each other the whole way to the finish. It was great to get the win,” said Ridenour, who was sixth in the same event one year ago.
With Henry in her sights, Ridenour came out of the frigid 750-metre swim with a trio of girls at the back of the top-10. After struggling to get her helmet on in transition one, the rising Canadian talent hammered the 20-kilometre bike course to catch the back end of the chase pack on the first lap.
“The swim was pretty rough and the waves shot me back pretty hard,” added Ridenour. “Once I caught up to the chase pack it took a while for us to get started working together. Nobody wanted to take pulls (at the front). I think we were all just saving our legs for the run. It picked up at the end. Hannah was ahead of me and we pushed each other to the finish. I was really happy with my run. ”
Henry, who was at the front of the chase pack, shared most of the work with Ridenour to catch the lead group on the 20-kilometre bike course – setting themselves up for a five-kilometre run at the medals.
“The waves today made it really hard to breathe in the swim. Des and I worked really well to close the gap, but once we caught up on the bike, I was really tired,” said Henry. “I was first out onto the run course where things seemed to slow down. Des and I ran together and were talking our way to the finish. She just broke away at the end to win. I am happy with the race overall.”
Costa Rica’s Raquel Solis Guerrero rounded out the junior women’s podium in third place at 1:05:32.6.
Canada’s Kyla Roy took advantage of a fast start on the beach start where she swam at the front in clean water the whole way. The 18-year-old Winnipeger was gaining time on the chase group while working at the front of the bike with Canada’s Holly Henry before Henry got a flat. Once caught on the second lap, the reigning Canadian Junior Champion settled into the pack to flush out her legs for the run, but wasn’t able to respond to the pace set by the leaders. Roy settled for fifth spot at 1:06:03.9.
Calgary’s Emma Skaug was seventh at 1:06:54.7. Ontario’s Teagan Shapansky grabbed the final spot in the top-10 with a time of 1:07:12.2.
It was also a breakout day for Canada’s junior men with British Columbia’s Michael Milic and Jackson Konkin both putting down career-best performances.
Milic, of Delta, B.C., finished in fifth place with a time of 57:57.2 in a lightening-quick race. Konkin, of Trail, B.C. fought hard to an eighth-place finish at 58:24.9.
After a strong start on the beach, Milic got tossed around while fighting for position against many of the world’s best junior triathletes. Coming out of the water 15 seconds back from the leader, Milic and Konkin worked together to bridge the gap on the leaders in the first half of the bike where they kept the pace rolling throughout the race.
“We kept gaining on the chase pack so I was positioned quite well on the run,” said Milic. “There were five of us at the front of run which was turned out to be quite technical. It wasn’t super fast so I just went with it. I tried to put in a little surge at the beginning of the second lap, but wasn’t able to drop anyone. The Mexicans put in another surge on our way back and I didn’t have the legs to go with it today. Overall, this is a solid race and my best result ever at a CAMTRI event so I’m very happy.”
Darr Smith, of the United States, edged out Mexico’s Aram Michell Penaflor Moysen in a sprint finish. Smith broke the finish tape with a time of 57:36.4. Penaflor Moysen clocked-in at 57:36.8. Abraham Rodriguez Moreno, also of Mexico, finished two-seconds off the leading mark at 57:37.8 to secure the bronze medal.
Jackson Konkin took advantage of his best-ever start in a triathlon to swim with the lead group of five until working his way around the second large buoy where he dropped to 15th place when his goggles filled up with water after taking an elbow in the face.
“I had a good transition and was still able to get on that chase pack with Mike. We bridged up on the first lap before a really technical section, and rode in that front pack about 30 seconds ahead of the chase group,” said Konkin, who finished 28th at the recent Canadian Triathlon Championships while racing against the elite level athletes. “It was a quick transition onto the run, and I ran myself from 15th to eight by the second lap where I held on to finish. I am very happy to be able to come here and have a great race.”
Final Women’s Results: http://bit.ly/2v3FCTj
Final Men’s Results: http://bit.ly/2uuTjOj