Nick Pilgrim eyes progress at elite level in Edmonton
Nick Pilgrim is relishing the opportunity to test himself at the top level in the Americas Triathlon Cup in Edmonton, Canada, on Saturday.
The 20-year-old will compete in a reduced field of 38 athletes, who will take to the start line in the elite men’s race, which consists of an 800 metres swim, a two-lap 20-kilometre bike and 5km run.
Having made an encouraging start to life among the elite level since stepping up from the junior ranks at the beginning of the year, Pilgrim is keen to build his on previous performances in the series, which include three top-40 finishes, with his best 31st place in Long Beach, California, last month.
“I feel like I had a good race last time at this level in LA,” said Pilgrim, who admits the step up to a higher level has been tough.
“I’ve put together a really good training block and so hopefully I can have another strong race. This race is not quite as big a field as before so hopefully I can get higher up the rankings.
“This is my first year out of the juniors and with every race I’m getting more experience, which is the most important thing at the moment.
“It has definitely been a step up in terms of quality as everyone is really strong at this level. It really makes you step up what you are doing both in preparation and in the races.
“The difference in levels has definitely been noticeable, but it only makes me want to improve and train even harder. You definitely have to take things more seriously if you want to step up and be a part of this level of racing.”
Reflecting on the adjustment of racing among the elite field, Pilgrim has been more than content with his endeavours thus far and has noticed steady improvement.
“I’ve been really pleased with my first year at a higher level,” he said.
“Doing the races I’ve been able to see what improvements I need and that is promising, because once I know what needs to be done I can make those changes and hopefully improve.
“I’ve definitely been seeing some improvements already and I’m getting there bit by bit, which is really pleasing.”
Pilgrim also takes further confidence from the fact that his opportunities to improve are set to increase when he bases himself at the University of Bath’s triathlon centre in England next year.
“I will be spending the winter in England at Bath University,” he said.
“That will be my base for next season and hopefully I can improve a lot more. It is one the centres for triathlon in England, so I have the opportunity to train with some high-level athletes and coaches, which will really help my development.”