Having never raced an international triathlon, I was excited to be headed to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for the ITU World Championships. I was here to compete in the ITU Age Group Sprint World Championships. I had qualified at the USAT Nationals the previous year and was excited to earn a spot on the USA Team. Overall, there were approximately 3000 athletes competing of which 620 were representing the USA. I am not a fan of big cities, but Edmonton was super cool. It was not crowded or ever too busy. It had many green spaces spread throughout the area with bike trails to boot.
On race day, I stepped off the shuttle bus at the venue and I could see my breath. It felt like a cool, crisp October day back in Tennessee, except for the fact it was late August in Edmonton, Canada. Surprisingly, it was cool even by Canadian standards. There were 9 of us Americans in the 35-39 age group. The race started with a 750 meter swim which was intense. I settled in at the back. The top swimmers in my age group were out of the water in just over 10 minutes. My time was not stellar by comparison, but it was what I had expected. The run was rather lengthy from the swim exit to T1. It is very typical for transitions to take longer in races with many participants due to the size of the transition area needed and it is dependent on the layout of the course as well. I was looking forward to the bike and the course was setup with 2 challenging climbs on each lap. We were required to make 2 laps that totaled a distance of 20K. I hammered the bike and had the 6th best bike time in my age group. The descents were quite fun and there really was not much time for me to say, “On your left!”. After another lengthy transition, we started the 5K run. Half of it was on a gravel trail while the other portion was on pavement. I hung in with the first 2 miles at an average pace of 6:49. I was feeling stronger by the last mile and ran under a 6:20 pace. Before entering the finishing chute I was handed an American flag to carry across the finish. I was 8th out of the 9 of us and 37th out of 78 in our age group.