Bay of Plenty athlete Hayden Wilde will give everything he has this weekend as the World Triathlon Series grand final looms.
Whakatane-raised but Tauranga-based Wilde is in Edmonton, Canada this weekend where he will race as an individual and with the New Zealand team in a mixed relay event. The individual race is at 11.30am on Sunday New Zealand time and the relay the following day at 10.30am.
Edmonton is the penultimate event of the series with the grand final in Lausanne, Switzerland at the end of next month. Wilde had a rough few months, but is buoyed by solid results in the previous round in Hamburg. He placed sixth in the individual race and then anchored the New Zealand team as they placed fourth in the relay.
He will race in his strongest distance, the sprint, on Sunday and Wilde says he is out there to it give everything he has.
"I've placed sixth to 10th in the World Series over this distance so I'm a lot more confident and motivated with this distance," Wilde says.
"The big goal for me is the podium. I was super close two weeks ago in Hamburg. With 400m to go there were five other athletes sprinting for the line and we were only four seconds apart. I can't wait to give it another crack.
"The past few months have been up and down for me with DNF due to a flat tyre. I've had the flu, two niggles in the knee and back so I was in a bit of a bad luck spell. But I kept pushing forward and then things started going right. I'm on an absolute high coming into this week's race, especially having a good few weeks of solid training in Wales."
Wilde has spent a lot of time away from home this year but has found ways to cope.
"It's been tough, mostly solo for the trip but I'm getting pretty used to it now, I've gained a lot of friendships over the past year In Europe so I know someone that could help me in really any country. My brother, Hamish, has been playing level cricket In London so it was good to spend some time with some family and it has definitely rebooted the system for the better."
Being a competitor at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo is still on Wilde's radar.
"The Tokyo 2020 goal is still in sight, but I've got three other strong lads I'm up against and only two slots for the Games. My results have been good, so I've just got to keep healthy and push on with a bucket-load of consistency."
Wilde's coach, Craig Kirkwood, is also in Edmonton and says his charge has been going well.
"He needs to race like he did in Hamburg and not be scared to have a crack and then do what he needs to do in the team race," Kirkwood said.
"This is a pretty key event for him this year. At the moment it is reinforcing the things he has been doing well all season. The Tokyo test event in two weeks and then the race in Switzerland are the key events. We are doing more speed work as we get closer and the things he will need to be working on are more intense sessions. A lot of his ability this season has been week after week of consistency."
ITU Triathlon World Series Edmonton:
Elite men's race, Sunday 11.30am NZT
Eite mixed relay race, Monday 10.30am NZT