The Triathlon BC Provincial Team embarked on their first international event of the year to the USAT Pleasant Prairies event in Wisconsin. Renowned for attracting top-tier North American athletes, the USAT Junior events provide an ideal platform for BC athletes to showcase their talent. The Provincial Team athletes racing at the event included James Sikich, Austin Beese, Cy Jones, Kostas Powell, Quillan Gall, Astrid Bergman, and guest BC athletes Kahlen Anderson and Kathi Ritter.

Led by Provincial Coach Kelly Guest, the contingent of athletes arrived several days prior to the event to acclimate to the time zone and familiarize themselves with the venue. The lake was a comfortable temperature, which resulted in wetsuits being forbidden on race day. The bike and running courses, characterized with fast, tight sections, made for an exciting and spectator friendly event.

The Women’s races was fierce battles from the gun – with the full field of 75 athletes launching from the beach into the water for their 750m swim. BC athlete Astrid Bergman was first out of the water, with the field close behind. The bike courses saw multiple groups spread out everywhere, with most packs around 6-16 riders. The lead pack included Astrid and Kathi, with Kahlen in the chase pack, and Quillan close behind. Transitioning into the run, Astrid and Kathi maintained their momentum, clinching 9th and 10th place respectively. Kahlen maintained her fast tempo to secure 24th place, and Quillan finish strong in 54th. The men’s had a full field of 75 athletes as well, with an aggressive swim from start to finish. Out of the water and T1, the athletes came into the bike with multiple splits, and riders sprinkled everywhere, forcing riders to put extra energy in to chase down breakaways. As groups came together, James and Austin settled into the chase group, with only two lead riders ahead. Cy was riding smart and working efficiently in the second chase group, with an unfortunate crash with saw BC rider Kostas go down – luckily only dealing with road rash, but ending his chances to finish the day. Going into the run, James showed great leg speed, and crossed the line in 6th place – a fantastic result as he prepares to head to Europe next month! Austin fought through some heavy legs finishing 17th, and Cy was close behind in 21st.

Overall, the BC athletes came away with an unforgettable experience, where they tested their strategies, improved their race dynamics, and increased their race knowledge to put to use in the season ahead. Next up are the SuperSeries and Provincials Championships events in BC in June, followed by the U23 Provincial Team Europe Project and Quebec Conti Cup in July.