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ITU Triathlon World Championship Race Report by Leah Ricciuti

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My race and experience with the 2016 Canadian ITU Triathlon World Championship Team was nothing but amazing. With the support and love I received from family and friends throughout the season right up to my race day and after was overwhelming! The Friday before we left my thoughtful husband had booked me a pedicure and then I was to meet him at my in-laws house for dinner so they could say bye to us….well when I got to my in-laws house I was surprised by all my friends and family from near and far dressed in red and white for a Canadian themed party! It was perfect!

Travel to Cozumel went smoothly on the Monday and I successfully put my bike together that afternoon. Tuesday morning I joined the Canadian team and went for a hot and humid ride/run workout, then went into town to get my race package where I met Kevin Brady and then we did a training swim in the ocean. Cozumel has a designated bike/run path (like the beach strip in Burlington) which runs parallel to the road, it was amazing for training and riding around the island! Wednesday we road 10km down to the race site and put our bikes in the transition zone. I was not feeling well with a head-cold and sore throat that day so I missed the opening ceremonies and team dinner that afternoon/night. The next morning, Thursday, was race day! I woke up at 5:30am to my husband handing me my phone saying I could use data on my phone for the day, he asked me to check Facebook (I had created private Facebook group so people could follow my race journey)…he had made a compilation video of friends and family wishing me good luck before my race! So overwhelming and now it was time to race! I walked into the transition zone at 6am and got ready as the sun came up. My wave was at 8am so I relaxed with Christine Walsh and waited for my wave. When it was time I got in the water and it was beautiful and clear, I was nervous about swimming in salt water but I thankfully didn’t drink too much of it! My swim was good, not my fastest time but the clear water sure did distract me. The distance from the water exit to the transition zone was a long 400-500m run and up over a walkway. I got on to my bike and had a great experience riding along the ocean on the designated path that was a flat 10km out and back, it was my first time doing a draft legal race. The run was hot, very humid and lots of turns around the marina….good for spectators but hard to get into a good groove running. I don’t normally stop at the aid stations but I stopped at all of them to pour water on myself as it was so humid! I was proud that I finished strong and completed it in 1hr 13min and came 20th out of 45 in my age group. Spent the rest of the week relaxing at the resort and cheering on team mates. All in all an amazing and memorable experience. Side note, I met Sister Madonna Buder, as she stayed at the same resort, what an amazing woman!