AFTER training hard for months on Ella Walsgott will compete at the School Sport Australia Triathlon Championships in Penrith this week.
The young Horsham athlete will travel with a team of 31 other triathletes to represent Victoria as individuals and as part of a relay teams at the end of the week.
Father Peter said Ella was nervous and excited at the same time heading into the week.
It will be her first time competing at the national level after she started taking the sport seriously a couple of years ago.
“It will be a big learning curve for her and a great experience,” Peter said.
“She had to dismantle her bike by herself this morning to pack it up and she will have to put it together again at the other end because we won’t be there to do it for her.”
Ella travelled to Melbourne on Monday and then made her way onto Sydney before the championships open on Tuesday.
Competitors spend time familiarising themselves with the course on Wednesday morning before they get an opportunity to meet former Olympic athletes in the afternoon.
Ella will compete individually on Thursday and as part of a relay team on Friday.
“In the relay each person does a different leg of the race,” Peter said.
“Either swimming, cycling or running.”
He said competing at the championships is a great reward for all Ella’s hard work.
“I’m really rapt as her dad to see all the hard work she puts into training rewarded,” he said.
“A lot of it goes unnoticed behind the scenes.
“She will often do two training sessions a day, she thrives on training.”
Being a triathlete Ella needs to find a way to spread her workload across the different disciplines.
This can mean she might go for a swim in the morning and then be running or cycling in the afternoon.
She also needs to put in work practising how she transitions from one leg of a race to the next.
“She does things called brick sessions where she will cycle a stationary bike hard then practice the transition into the running leg including changing her shoes,” Peter said.
When it comes to Ella’s goals and expectations at the championships Peter said it is best not to pin all your expectations on one race.
“Races bring many different challenges and you never know what to expect from them,” he said.
“To do a personal best is always great but you just never know.
“You might be kicked while you’re swimming, you might have to avoid someone who has fallen off in front of you, or you might fall off yourself.”
But Peter said Ella will likely rise to the occasion at the championships and will enjoy being surrounded by athletes more experienced than her.
“When she put on her state team uniform I joked that it was her superman suit,” he said.
“She is in the youngest of four age groups and there are athletes competing that I have no doubt will be Olympians one day.
“To rub shoulders with that calibre athlete will just give her something more to aim for.”