C3 athlete and Canadian junior Oliver Blecher, of Port Hope, Ont. had a breakthrough race early this season when he took silver at the Junior North American Triathlon Championships in Sarasota, Florida. Coached by Barrie Shepley, Blecher has just arrived in Europe for a month of training and racing. Taylor Reid checks in with the rising star.
Taylor Reid: You have had some very good results so far this year, seventh at the Monterrey CAMTRI American Championships and second at Sarasota the Junior North American Championships. How do you think European races will differ from the North American races you have done?
Oliver Blecher: I think the biggest difference with the European races will be the cycling. In general I think there is more of an emphasis on riding hard in Europe which I’m really looking forward to.
TR: You finished eight at Junior Nationals last year. What have you been doing this year to improve that result?
OB: Training with consistency. It’s much easier to only workout when it is convenient to your schedule, but you will really see improvement when you make training a priority and are dedicated to following your training plan even if it means making sacrifices.
TR: How has it been training in Spain this month?
OB: Spain has been great so far. The training facilities here are amazing and Vitoria-Gastiez is a really nice, safe city. It’s been really warm the whole time I’ve been here which is great preparation for hotter racing conditions.
TR: How do you find working with some top Canadian athletes in Spain?
OB: Training with all the pro Canadian and Australian athletes here is really inspiring. You see the results they are getting in elite races and you want that same kind of success, so it definitely motivates you to work hard and hopefully be able to produce the same kind of results as the rest of the group.
TR: You are talking a year of before you go to school to train for triathlon. Why did you choose to do this?
OB: I deferred my first year at (Brown ) University to give myself the best opportunity to perform at the highest level I can over the next 18 months and at Jr. Worlds in 2016. I want the chance to see what being a full-time athlete is like before going to school.
TR: When is your next race?
OB: My next race is August 8 at the Tiszaujvaros Jr European Cup.
TR: What are some of you goals this year?
OB: I hope to be selected to the Junior Worlds team for Canada and place top 10 at that race, and to come top five at a continental cup. Also, learning how to race better when having an off day is something I want to improve upon.