There are so many! Given that before youth most are used to only racing regional league races it can feel as though suddenly the youth field is a bit depleted – but that is mainly because lots of new race series are available from youth onwards (so people have spread to race in other events). The range of possibilities spreads from regional to national, open water and sea swims to pools, close circuit tarmac, open road and grass cycling and a variety of run terrain. Some of the possibilities are listed below starting with the blue ribbon national events through to lower key regional events. Distances are typically around super-sprint (400m/10k/2.5k) or sprint (750m/20k/5k).
1) Elite super series (http://www.britishtriathlon.org/take-part/events/youth-and-junior-series) – this comprises 4-6 events from spring to early autumn, which are open water, draft legal bike and national level. These are mass start, 1 wave only, and very competitive and give a great chance to race with the very best in the country. You need a rear zip trisuit with GB printed on front and back, and a bike frame and wheels that complies with UCI rules (most do, but if in doubt look them up or ask in the club).
2) National championships (http://www.britishtriathlon.org/news/triathlon_england_-_national_championships_announced_for_2015_4692) these are in 5 year age groups, so youths & juniors will be U20. That may sound daunting but Cambridge youths & Juniors have a history of doing very well at those they have contested, including two podiums in 2014. These are open water, draft illegal road cycle events. That national relays requires a team of four and is one of the most fun events of the year – in 2014 a mixed youth & senior (2 male, 2 female) team from our club came 9th out of 183 teams.
3) Age group qualification for European and world championships (http://www.britishtriathlon.org/britain/documents/events/2015_events/2015_british_triathlon_age-group_major_events_calendar.pdf). Many youths, juniors & seniors from the club have attempted and been successful at representing GB at age group championships abroad – so you will see Cambridge shirts if you give it a go. The top 3or4 in each age group of a qualification event can then go through to race in GB trisuits on a bigger stage. These are open water, draft illegal road cycle events.
4) One-off national events, there are quite a few of these e.g. The Brownlee Tri (http://www.brownleetri.com/), Supertri http://humanrace.co.uk/events/triathlon/supertri-children-youth-junior-open-water-triathlon) and the Windsor Tri http://humanrace.co.uk/events/triathlon/windsor-triathlon but there are many others. These are stand alone but strong field open water, draft illegal road, but above all friendly and more relaxed events.
5) At the regional level there is an adult league (http://www.triathlonengland.org/east/athletes/adults-section/league) and championship (http://www.triathlonengland.org/east/athletes/adults-section/championship) as well as some normal (grass bike) youth specific events you are used to.
6) There a wide variety of regional events, including Tris at Newmarket, Ely, Saffron Walden, Haverhill and Cambridge! These are super friendly and often well attended by club members - Cambridge youth & junior triathletes have even won a number of these. There are also a number of mini-series either pool-based or open water, both locally http://www.justracinguk.com/events, http://www.galeforce-events.com/triathlon-events/bedford-sprint-triathlon-series/ & http://www.nicetri.co.uk/ and nationally http://www.castletriathlonseries.co.uk/ which again many club members have competed and excelled in.
By no means have the whole spread of events open to you been covered, and if you discover an event that is really good then pass the news on to the club so others can try it. If in doubt ask around some of the other youth & junior triathletes of the club about what they plan to do in the next year.
For a first start at racing with adults, the local events in (6) are highly recommended – don’t be scared of the adults, you’ll beat many of them !