In a fierce battle, our Abby wins her age group and gets the top spot on the podium. 36 hours of driving. Worth every minute and mile.
This was our 3rd trip to a national championship race and I must admit that I wasn’t excited about West Chester, Ohio. The venue changes every 2 years and was in San Diego last year which meant triathlon, beach, etc…you get the picture. We were pleasantly surprised by West Chester and Voices of America Park. It is a great venue and the weather was perfect. We had 2 kiddos competing this year. Abby and our 15 year old Aaron who had a top 20 finish. We are of course proud of them both, but also ready for a bit of a break for triathlon since it has dominated most days and weekends since May! Our 7 year old skipped the race since he is still working on his open water swim. He will be ready next year. Now we will move on to cross country, swimming, and soccer. A few observations about the race:
1. Youth TRI teams are growing fast. There were dozens of teams making trip this year and the team component is beginning to take hold.
2. USAT is getting better at producing the youth events. They of course focus more on the adult age groupers and youth and junior elites, but they are beginning to come around to understanding where their future lies.
3. There needs to be some type of qualification into youth nationals. You do get many of the fastest kids in the nation, but since the youth division is open (unlike the youth elite and junior elite which requires qualification) you also get a few local kids with the wrong bikes and a lack of experience. Don’t get me wrong, they need to be doing triathlons. Just not the national championships. USAT should require at least a top 5 finish in a sanctioned youth event in order to participate.
4. The hardware is getting serious. Wow, some of these kids were riding $3000 bikes. Its difficult for a parent since you want your child to have the best opportunity to compete, and seconds often matter.
Overall it was a great experience for our family and the Trinity Multisport Youth TRI team that our kids belong to. Looking forward to next year.