Sports

Triathlon a family affair for Kelowna's Baldassares

Kelowna Kids of Steel triathletes Alex (left) and Olivia Baldassare are set to take part in the 30th annual Kelowna Apple Triathlon this week. - Douglas Farrow/Contributor
Kelowna Kids of Steel triathletes Alex (left) and Olivia Baldassare are set to take part in the 30th annual Kelowna Apple Triathlon this week.
— image credit: Douglas Farrow/Contributor

They've put in the hours of training and have taken part in several other triathlons this summer.

This week they took part in a Kids of Steel triathlon camp to fully prepare for what could be the biggest triathlon of the year.

And come Saturday morning siblings Olivia and Alex Baldassare will hit the waters of Okanagan Lake and the streets of Kelowna, taking part in Kids of Steel races as part of the 30th Annual Kelowna Apple Triathlon.

"The Apple is definitely more intense than the other races I've done," said Olivia, 14. "I think if it was my first one it might be overwhelming. But I feel like I'm ready."

Having taking part in some 20 triathlons since taking up the sport at the age of eight means Olivia will have plenty of experience to lean on as she makes her way through the Kids of Steel races. The swim leg, she said, is the key to a good race.

"The thing that everybody struggles with is the swim," she said. "You can get punched in the face. At the Kids of Steel camps they taught us to go really hard for the first 10 strokes so you can get away from everybody and then settle into your rhythm."

While Olivia competes in the girls 14 and 15 year-old Kids of Steel race, younger brother Alex is in the 10 and 11 year-old category for boys. He too has plenty of experience, having started in the sport at the age of five. Now 10-year-old, he knows doing triathlons is something special.

"I feel like I'm getting prepared to do something that some people wish they could do," said Alex, who added that the best result comes from plenty of training. "It really depends on how you train. If you train hard you can most likely do it. If you don't, most likely you won't be able to complete it."

The 30th Annual Apple goes all weekend long. Racing starts Saturday morning at 7:15 a.m. and continues through the morning, including Kids of Steel and junior elite races as well as the Kelowna Open Water Swim. Sunday has age group races in the morning and the senior elite races at 11:30 a.m. for the females and 1:45 p.m. for the males.

And the Baldassare family will be down there all weekend, either competing or watching.

As far as results are concerned both Olivia and Alex say they are focussed on completing the event but would love to crack into the top 10 or 15 of their individual events.

Like many triathletes, completing a triathlon is enough reward, according to Olivia.

"It feels really good to complete it," she said. "It's hard to explain. You feel like you have done something really good. It doesn't really matter what you done in the race, just that you finished it."

"It's fun and hard work," added Alex. "It's fun to do them and all the hard work that you put into it pays off. You get to meet a whole lot of people too."

Mom and Dad aren't left out of the mix either as Ron Baldassare will compete in the Age Group event and mom Kim, a marathon runner, will be on hand to cheer on the entire family.

"I'm really proud of them," said Kim. "We get out as a family and train on our road bikes. And the kids feel like they have accomplished something at the end of summer."

For full schedules for the Kelowna Apple Triathlon check out www.appletriathlon.com.

 

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