UBC TSC Triathletes “Tri” their best and “Du” succeed at UBC TriDu 2020

March 7th marked this year’s UBC TriDu, the first race of the Western Canadian University Triathlon Circuit (WCUTC). As part of the collegiate heat, our athletes from UBC TSC Triathlon raced against athletes from the UBC AMS Triathlon Club and UVic Triathlon Club. As the athletes lined up in the UBC Aquatic Centre to receive their body-marking numbers, nervous eyes turned towards the flurries of snow that began to fall from the sky. Fortunately, the weather held up and by the time the bike portion of the race started, the sun was out and shining.


UBC TSC Triathlon Team before the race began


In the Men’s category, Thomas Watson from UBC TSC finished in  first place with a time of 1:05:42. In second place was Jean Westenberg from UBC TSC (1:06:55), and in third place was Joel Grieco from UVic (1:08:37). In the Women’s category, Kiah Wheeler from UVic won first place with a time of 1:10:23. In second place was Abby Edison from UBC TSC (1:13:17) and in third place was Keila Stark from UBC TSC (1:14:04). Congratulations to all the athletes in the collegiate heat for the fierce competition!



UBC TriDu Mens Medalists



UBC TriDu Womens Medalists

For several of our own athletes, this was their first time ever completing a triathlon. Here’s what a few of them had to say about their experience:


Amy Topshee

How did it feel racing your first triathlon?

“Before the race, I was super nervous. I felt like there were a ton of things that I had not prepared for (especially transitions). I wasn’t worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish. I knew that I could do all of the distances. But, I was scared of it being really hard. I was worried that I wouldn’t have the mental strength to get through it.

The nerves didn’t completely go away even after I jumped into the pool. I wasn’t thinking about swimming, I was thinking about the fact that I had just started what would be the longest race of my life. But, before I knew it, I was done the swim and I realized that even though the race sounds long, each of the individual distances are pretty short and go by fast.

Before I knew it, I was on my bike, and then I was running. The run especially felt super short, and all of a sudden I was done.”


What surprised you?

“What surprised me the most was definitely how quickly it went by. It did not feel like an hour and 18 minutes. Now I can’t wait to do my next one!”


Anything else you’d like to add?

“One thing that I suddenly remembered after completing the race was that exactly 2 years earlier (March 7, 2018), I had had an ulnar osteotomy. After years of really frustrating and confusing wrist pain that forced me to reduce my athletic activity, I had surgery. I wasn’t sure if the surgery would work and if I’d ever get back to sports. But it went well, and it lead to me being able to complete my first triathlon! There’s no way that I would have been able to do a triathlon 2 years ago. But just 2 years later I did it!”


Amy Topshee sprinting to the finish line


Alvin Qiu

How did it feel racing your first triathlon?

“I was super anxious about racing in TriDu primarily because it was my first time doing a triathlon. Hours spent training each discipline as well as practising transitions helped me know what to expect, yet I felt an underlying sense of uncertainty. Time seemed to move so slowly in the moments spent just prior to the race (setting up transition, warming up, lining up to be body-marked, and waiting for the heat to start); It was undeniably nerve-racking. Moreover, being surrounded by people who are fast and experienced added a slight amount of additional pressure since I also wanted to do reasonably well.

Coming to the end of the race was overwhelming and the feeling is hard to articulate clearly in words. Having no background in competitive sports growing up and deciding to train for a triathlon with a team pushed me outside of my comfort zone already. As I crossed the finish line, I felt relieved to catch my breath, both literally and figuratively. Seeing teammates who had already finished cheering me on (and also seeing food) was heartwarming. Very importantly, I felt incredibly proud to set a goal, try something new, venture outside of my comfort zone, and work hard to then achieve my goal. Overall, TriDu was a positive experience and reaffirmed my belief that you can do whatever you set your mind to!”


Was it harder or easier than you expected?

“It was harder than expected! During a race, you push yourself a bit harder than you typically might at practice.”


What surprised you?

“The camaraderie surprised me! Because of the staggered start for the swim, and the way the bike and run courses loop around, I constantly saw teammates pass by throughout the race and found moments to cheer them on and to be cheered on. It was really motivating and helped me push through.”


Anything else you’d like to add?

“I tried putting my bike on the wrong rack during T2 and panicked when I couldn’t find my gear for running. It’s definitely worth the time to mentally go over where your spot in the transition area is and how to get to it both from the swim in and the bike in.”


Alvin Qiu sprinting to the finish of his first triathlon


Abby Edison (2020-21 Club Lead)

“I couldn’t be happier with the result – UVic always brings a strong team to this race, so to finish in second place was extra special. I’ve been working really hard on my biking and running since September, so it was great to see the effort pay off. Our team is super competitive this year, so there’s always someone to chase and work with during hard practices. I was pleasantly surprised by the results from our rookie athletes. They all embraced the challenge of racing as a Thunderbird for the first time, and they had fantastic results.”


Abby Edison sprinting into the finish line as the 2nd female overall


All of these successes were made possible by our amazing coaches, Andrew Powell and Jaren LeFranc, who helped us improve throughout the year and cheered us on at TriDu!

Altogether, the collegiate heat had 46 athletes. This is a huge increase from last year, which included 30 athletes. We’re very excited to host this growing event  and promote participation in triathlon across Western Canada!