Previewing the Weekend…K-Town and National Capital

Another month of duathlon in Ontario kicks off with some big races in the East this weekend! The headliner is the 31st edition of the historic K-Town Triathlon and Duathlon, now run by Multisport Canada. Also in Eastern Ontario, the Somersault Series is in action in Ottawa with the National Capital Triathlon and Duathlon. The Subaru Series is not in action until August 17, when the series heads to Orillia.

K-TOWN DUATHLON
Click here for course maps.

This year marks the first year of new management for the K-Town event in Kingston, as Multisport Canada has taken over the event for the 2014 edition. MSC has elected not to change much with the event, instead choosing to preserve a common favourite among multisport athletes in Ontario. The prize money also has not changed, with $1800 being distributed among the top 3 finishers of each of the three races ($150 for 1st, $100 for 2nd, $50 for 3rd).

K-Town is a gently rolling, 4km run/30km bike/7.2km run course along the shores of Lake Ontario. The common word about this race is the heat and humidity (August can get quite hot and there is little shade on the course) and the wind blowing off the lake. Keep this in mind when you plan your nutrition and equipment choices for the day. The run starts to the west, winding along Lake Ontario, hitting a turnaround at Kingston General Hospital before heading back east to transition. The second run follows the same route, just heading further west before turning back. The heat can be tough on the exposed course, but there will be aid stations every kilometer.

The bike course is similarly gently rolling, with a few “manageable rollers” that may slow the average pace down a tad. There are a few trouble spots on the course, namely the La Salle Causeway Bridge in the first and last kilometer of the course. The bridge will have a dedicated lane for cyclists, but is composed of a metal grate surface that can wreak havoc on a straight line through the bridge. In the case of rain, it will become mandatory to walk your bike across this bridge. Multisport Canada has released some safety guidelines for the bike course, which can be found in the pre-race report. Enjoy this historic race, and we look forward to seeing who brings home the big prize!

Hat tip to Kevin Gallagher and Tommy Ferris of Ignition Fitness for the tips.

NATIONAL CAPITAL DUATHLON
Click here to view the run course map.
Click here to view the bike course map.

The Somersault Series is in action as well this weekend, at Mooney’s Bay in the Old City. The race weekend features the Draft Legal Provincial Championships, as well as both sprint (2k run/20k bike/5k run) and Olympic (5k run/40k bike/10k run) distance duathlons. Both races share a 5k run loop, with Olympic athletes completing 1 loop on the first run and 2 on the second run, while sprint athletes complete shortened loop to start (turning around after 1km) and 1 full loop to finish off their race. The course is a relatively quiet and straight-forward (with a small rolling hill at the 1km point) out and back, through Mooney’s Bay to the west, onto Riverside Dr and onto Revelstoke Dr along the river.

The cycle course is also looped, heading to the east along the river for a 10km out-and-back loop that will be completed 4 times by Olympic athletes, and twice by sprint athletes. The course starts with a quick jaunt west on Hog’s Back Rd before a right hand turn onto Colonel By Dr, which athletes will follow along the river to the turnaround on each lap. The first 2km is a bit technical with some some sharp ups and downs, before flattening out for the middle 6km of each lap. On short-loop courses such as this, sometimes a good strategy is to push the long straight section at above goal effort, and to use the twisty parts for a bit of recovery in between efforts. It makes for a more uneven pace, but gives the running legs a bit of time to recover at the beginning and end of the race. Due to the number of races being contested, and the multi-loop nature of the course, there is potential for quite a bit of crowding. Ride safe and fair, and have fun!

As always, be sure to keep us updated on your progress of the weekend on Twitter, and use the hashtag #OntarioDu. And send us your race reports for the recap coming next week. Happy racing!

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July 26/27 Weekend Recap

It was a relatively quiet two days for duathlons in Ontario this weekend. Only the Subaru Series in action with a favourite among duathletes, the Niagara Triathlon and Duathlon at Nelles Park in Grimsby. Scott Finch made his return to racing, winning his 2014 debut by 1:27 over Amherstburg’s Shayne Dumouchelle in his 2nd duathlon of the season. Marie Reimer of St. Catharine’s took the women’s race with a 3:44 margin of victory over Barbara Goldman. Most definitely some great racing on the escarpment, despite the wind on the top.

Eventual 3rd place finisher Chris Smith led the way off the first run, with Finch and Dumouchelle close at hand. A quick T1 gave Smith an extra 12 seconds onto the bikes, a gap that was quickly erased by Finch and Dumouchelle’s strong bike splits. Finch would start the second run with 42 seconds on Dumouchelle, and would then extend it on his way to the win. Dumouchelle showed another strong race to the rest of Ontario to finish 2nd, while Smith used a race-fastest second run to round out the podium.

Women’s winner Marie Reimer’s two combined runs were nearly 5 minutes ahead of the nearest competitor, putting her in great position to strike for the win on the second run. Barbara Goldman‘s strong cycling put her in a position to challenge for the win before eventually coming away with a second place finish. Burlington’s Linda Crawford rounded out the podium in 3rd place.

Congratulations to our winners of the weekend!

Men’s Overall/Master’s Winner: Scott Finch
Women’s Overall/Master’s Winner: Marie Reimer

ITU Announces Draft-Legal Racing for Sprint Distance Racing
Also this week, we learned that the format of the ITU World Sprint Championships will be changing to “Draft-Legal” for 2016 and beyond. You can read the ITU release here, and a great take on it from the5krunner here. Though the second article postulates that the change will carry over to duathlon as well as triathlon, we have not been able to confirm this through any other sources.

If applied to duathlon, this change presents more questions than answers. Everything about the format is up in the air, as is the feasibility of hosting a draft legal duathlon. Hosting a draft-legal race brings on additional expenses, and it would not be just a simple matter of hosting the duathlon at the same time as a larger triathlon. Draft legal race days are every long due to the need to run several waves as standalone races, as having races on the same course at different stages could have HUGE competitive implications. The effect would also be a complete unknown…will we see a boom in drafting races that pop up, or will we show up to a field of 15 athletes? Will the elimination of non-draft Sprint Worlds force many people to move up in distance to the International Distance in order to continue going to Worlds? An interesting Slowtwitch thread on the implications (in the US) can be found here.

Our governing may very well decide to stand pat, at least at first. Sending a team to draft legal Worlds would require domestic qualifying races, an endeavour that has to make financial sense for the organizers in order to happen. As developments happen, we will make sure you are the first to know.

Previewing the Subaru Niagara Duathlon

Not much action in Ontario this weekend, with only the Subaru series in action. The Niagara Duathlon in Grimsby (2km run/25km bike/7km run) has been a popular choice on the circuit for athletes building up to a late summer A race, and is on a familiar course for those who have made the trip in February for the Grimsby Half Marathon. The run courses are flat and scenic, and the bike is dead flat as well…except for the kilometer you spend climbing the steep and grinding Park Rd Hill!

Course maps can be found here.

The Niagara Duathlon is held in beautiful Nelles Park, right on Lake Ontario in Grimsby. The first run is a relatively simple lollipop-type course, heading west on Lake St before entering a short run of trails near Forty Mile Park. As you complete a short loop in the trees, watch your footing for roots and soft patches. Though the advertised distance of the first run is 2km, it is closer to 2.3km in reality. Apart from the technical trail section, the paved sections rolls and creates and easy out and back.

The bike takes you on a tour of Escarpment Country, started out with a flat shot on Lake Rd, this time to the east. Watch out for the periodic speed bumps on this section, which will go to slow you down on what would be a fast section normally. A quick right takes you over the bridge on Bartlett Ave, taking you into a residential section. It’s best to get your nutrition in here before the hill. A tricky right on King St followed by a quick left onto Park takes you to the bottom of “The Beast”. A 25 or 28 tooth cog on the back would be nice to have to get up this one, which is shorter but steeper than the hill in Milton. Mashing up the hill may take some sting out of your legs for the flat and fast section up top, so it may be advisable to spin up and save some legs for the top…many have been reduced to walking.

Once up the hill, the course is a relatively simple loop back to the top of the hill. It’s a great section to lay down the watts and pick up the time lost up the hill. The descent of The Beast is harrowing and a little technical, containing a sharp right immediately at the bottom. Stay close to the brakes so you can scrub off some speed before the first twist, and keep an eye out for manhole covers while descending at speed. The rest of the route home follows the route out back to transition, including the speed bumps. Transition is on grass in Nelles Park, and rests in a bit of a gully. Getting in and out may involve running up and down a hill.

The second run is mainly residential, with a few stretches of trails. You’ll follow Lake Rd to the west, just as on the first run, but you will follow the bend past the trailhead to Olive St, followed by a quick right onto Elizabeth St. Follow Lakeside Dr past Murray Street Park to the turnaround, before heading back from where you came. Continue past Elizabeth St this time, into the trails of Forty Mile Park. Again, watch out for roots and soft spots here before you get back out to Lake Rd. Put the pedal to the metal here and drive for home. The finish takes you onto a short grass stretch and under the finish arch. Despite the speed bumps and the hill, this is a fast course and an awesome opportunity to throw down a fast time. Enjoy!

Pro tip: it is a long walk from the parking area to transition, so make sure you bring all of your gear with you from you car to avoid multiple trips.

Catching Up On The Action Of July…

We will be the first to admit it…National Championship Madness was a whirlwind that may have gotten the best of us here at Duathlon Central. But what better time than the present to catch things up? Since we have already recapped the National Championship events as they happened, this post will focus on every other event contested in Ontario in July. Just browsing results, we have seen some excellent performances from people all over, so many that text recaps will be limited to 3 races per weekend (unfortunately). We will also attempt to link as many race reports as we can to this, so if you have them written shoot us the links! Use the quick links below to navigate all three weekends:

JULY 5/6 WEEKEND

MSC Huronia
Men’s Overall Winner – Matt Bedernjak
Men’s Master’s Winner – Dave McInroy
Women’s Overall Winner – Angela Gervase
Women’s Master’s Winner – Tabatha Welsford

Caledon’s Matt Bedernjak edged Michael Gratton on the three legs that matter to take the win at the sprint distance MSC race in Midland. He led the way on all three legs to earn the win, while master’s winner Dave McInroy beat runner-up and great duathlon suporter Roger Hospedales to the line by 22 seconds in that race. Angela Gervase took an easy win in the women’s race, 5:45 ahead of master’s winner Tabatha Welsford.

Subaru Peterborough Half
Men’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Charles Bedley

Women’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Tammy Purdy

Marathoner Charles Bedley beat back the challenge of long distance duathlon authority Parichit Bagga, setting the pace in the race by out-splitting all but one athlete on the bike on his way to a 7:13 victory, and the master’s title. Tammy Purdy put up a STUNNING 1:33 half marathon effort to close the gap to runner-up Heather Sprenger and take both the women’s overall and master’s race.

Check out silver medalist Parichit Bagga’s Race Report
And here is Richard Borrow’s race report, toughing out a hard day!

Subaru Peterborough Sprint
Men’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Scott Murison
Women’s Overall Winner – Marie Claire Brisbois
Women’s Master’s Winner – Barbara Goldman

Scott Murison of Peterborough used a strong bike split to nab the win at his hometown race, seven seconds ahead of runner-up Matthew Robinson, while also taking the master’s honours in the process. Strong running and cycling by women’s winner Marie Claire Brisbois buoyed her to the win in the women’s race, while Barbara Goldman of Aurora took the master’s title.

Mine Over Matter Off-Road Duathlon
Men’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Alan Miner
Women’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Christa Yoshimoto

Joe’s Team Duathlon
Men’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Trevor Zimmer
Women’s Overall Winner – Chelsea Lye
Women’s Master’s Winner – Karri Beck

JULY 12/13 WEEKEND

MSC Gravenhurst (International)
Men’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Mark Thomas
Women’s Overall Winner – Emma Sherwood
Women’s Master’s Winner – Jane Ravenshaw

While many athletes were preparing for Nationals in Toronto, 16 brave athletes took on a picturesque but grueling race course on the Muskoka Wharf. The course took its toll on all athletes, as Ajax’s Mark Thomas emerged as the men’s overall/master’s winner after riding away from the rest of the field on the bike. Emma Sherwood‘s strong running took her to the top of the podium in the women’s race 6:35 ahead of master’s women’s winner Jane Ravenshaw and her strong bike split.

MSC Gravenhurst (Sprint)
Men’s Overall Winner – Brian Moore

Men’s Master’s Winner – Richard Stamper
Women’s Overall Winner – Michele Sheehy
Women’s Master’s Winner – Christine Elliott

Young rising star Brian Moore of Bracebridge denied Michael Gratton an overall win for the second straight weekend to earn a decisive victory in the sprint distance race on Sunday morning. Brian ran and cycled his way to a solo win and 8:01 margin of victory in a sparkling time of 1:01:29. His splits of 17:48 (5km run), 32:13 (20km bike) and 9:45 (2.5km run) topped the field of 51. Toronto’s Richard Stamper won the men’s master’s title, while overall winner Michele Sheehy‘s quick transitions brought her to the line 26 seconds ahead of master’s winner Christine Elliott in the women’s race.

Subaru Valens Duathlon
Men’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Scott Breen
Women’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Tammy Purdy

Tillsonburg’s Scott Breen finally got himself an overall win to go with another master’s win at the inaugural Valens Duathlon, after several close calls earlier in the season. Scott led the way into T1, held the lead on the bike, and sealed the win with the second fastest second run on the day. Tammy Purdy once again used her sizzling fast run to lock up the overall and master’s women’s titles at Valens, 4:46 ahead of runner-up Bethany Timmerman.

Sydenham Duathlon
Men’s Overall Winner – Derek Smith
Women’s Overall Winner – Stephanie St. John
Men’s Master’s Winner – William Kingston
Women’s Master’s Winner – Tanja Olmstead

Kincardine Women’s Duathlon
Overall/Master’s Winner – Jennifer Roy

JULY 19/20 WEEKEND

MSC Belwood
Men’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Larry Bradley
Women’s Overall Winner – Katya Masun
Women’s Master’s Winner – Leslie Gibson

Not wasting any time after a runner-up finish at the Canadian Duathon Championships, Larry Bradley led the way in T1 before dispatching the only competitor left within striking distance with a sizzling bike split. He then fought off the cramps and a hard-charging Chris Marentette for his second win of the MSC season. On the women’s side, overall winner Katya Masun erased a small deficit off the run to master’s winner Leslie Gibson with a stunning bike split (36.2kph!!) and held on for the win and a 4th place overall finish.

Bluewater Olympic Duathlon
Men’s Overall Winner – Chris Balestrini
Women’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Renee Hartford
Men’s Master’s Winner – Tom Fernandez

This race in Bright’s Grove has been a staple on the duathlon scene for a few years, and men’s overall winner Chris Balestrini put his stamp on the Olympic race very early on. He led wire to wire with exceptional splits for a 12 minute victory. Master’s winner Tom Fernandez would finish 3rd overall, while women’s overall/master’s winner Renee Hartford would finish a strong 6th overall, also leading the women’s race wire-to-wire.

Bluewater Sprint Duathlon
Men’s Overall/Master’s Winner – Dave Cooper
Women’s Overall Winner – Whitney Artuso
Women’s Master’s Winner – Liz Wiebe

In the sprint distance, Toronto’s Dave Cooper took both overall and men’s master’s honours thanks to a strong overall race. He also led wire-to-wire to lock up a 6:14 victory in the 1km/18km/4km event. Women’s master’s winner Liz Wiebe came up 13 seconds short of also securing the overall victory, as Whitney Artuso used a 19:39 second run to take that title.

The overall number of athletes competing in duathlons on these three weekends was reason for excitement, as an average of 241 athletes (132 men/109 women) made it out to races around Ontario each weekend. Due to the multitude of choices available, each race averaged less than 50 competitors. The national championship events attracted 53 athletes in Belle River and 96 in Toronto. For a comparison, the US National Duathlon Championships this past Saturday in St. Paul attracted 652 athletes between standard and sprint distances, from 3 countries, 44 states, and Washington D.C. The duathlon-only format undoubtedly attracted many triathletes looking for a second ticket to Australia, but time will tell if our numbers are enough to sustain a National Championship. Encouragingly, the overall numbers indicate to us that there is enough support for a national event, if we can find a way to make these events as prestigious as they should be.

PREVIEWING THE BELWOOD SPRINT DU WEEKEND…

This weekend’s MSC race takes place close to the GTA in the small community of Belwood, Ontario. This rural hamlet is located just east of Guelph and uses similar roads to the other races from nearby the Guelph Lakes, so if you are familiar with those races, you can expect the same style of riding this Saturday.

For the duathlon, it is a 5k / 30k / 5k format starting at the Belwood Conservation Area. With the runs on the exact same route you will get a great preview of the finishing leg of the race when you head out on the opening test. It is a “Y” shaped course on crushed rail trail just across the damn from transition. You head out on the right side of the “Y” before looping around to complete the left side and then back down the stem to grab your bike.

Click here – Run Map (Run 1 and Run 2)

As soon as you have your bike in hand, rush out to the main road near the Gate house and start your 30k journey on the friendly hills of the Belwood/Fergus country side. The course starts nice and fast on a busier highway that keeps you on the shoulder of the road before turning south on to some quieter but gently rolling roads.

The only real tricky area comes when you reach the next marked intersection. Here you will turn right and pick up some speed down a hill before having to make the turnaround and then rocket back up the hill and straight through this same intersection. This short little jaunt is strictly to get in the full 30k so make sure you are aware of the slight branch out from the course here.

As you head west, you will cruise a little more up hill for a number of kms before making your next left onto another well used road called Wellington Road 26. Just be cautious on these roads as drivers sometimes get impatient with us even though the Police have warned them of our presence.

This northerly pointing section is probably to toughest with a couple longer climbs, usually into the wind. Save some energy for this portion of the bike course and use the downhills to get some momentum rolling for the next slope.

After reaching the next turn, on Wellington Rd 18, you are treated to some generally fast riding on a flat, smooth asphalt section. As you hammer home just be careful of the large rumble strips on the far side of the shoulder. They can slow you down and even cause some wheel issues if you end up too far to the right of the road.

Click here – Bike Course Map

Now that you are done the challenging 30k ride, it is time to blast through your “Y” run again. With tired legs, the major concern here is the concrete lip to the damn on both sides. Just make sure you lift your feet and you will avoid a little tumble in front of the fans cheering you home.

 

Have fun and see you out there!

Larry

National Championship Recap, Take 2 – Toronto Triathlon Festival

A note from ODC: There has been a lot of action the past two weekends on the Ontario Duathlon scene. We are working on putting together a full recap of all non-Championship races (including Belwood and Bluewater this weekend), which we hope will be up by mid-next week. Please bear with us, and enjoy this recap of the racing at the Canadian Duathlon Championships, at the Toronto Triathlon Festival!

Full TTF results can be found here.
Read men’s silver medalist Larry Bradley’s race report here.
Read men’s bronze medalist Jesse Bauer’s race report here.

This past Sunday, 97 athletes shot off from the start line at Coronation Park in downtown Toronto, all chasing after the Canadian Championship for the international distance duathlon. The weather conditions and the strong field that came out for both races made for some exceptional racing. While the men’s race welcomed back an old friend who brought a show of domination with him, the women’s race was hotly contested and could have been anyone’s race right down to the finish chute.

On the men’s side, the race began (partially) as predicted, as Jesse Bauer and Mike Park set off at about 3:25/km for the first 5k, hitting that mark in ~17:10. After the turnaround, Bauer continued on alone to take the top time into transition, running 35:22 for 10k. Park pulled in 2nd in 35:44 followed by a hard charging Justin Spalvieri, 3rd in 35:52. A little further back, Dave Frake methodically worked his way through the field to come in 4th at 36:10, followed by Alex Beaulieu (36:13) and Larry Bradley (36:25).

From there, super-cyclist Frake wasted no time charging through the field, moving quickly past Spalvieri and Park (who succumbed to a mechanical early in the bike). He passed Bauer before the 5k mark, on his way to recording a duathlon-fastest 55:42 40k split and a lead he would not relinquish. Bradley followed suit on his way to a stellar 58:54 split, while Bauer struggled mightily but held onto 3rd heading into the second run. The big movers behind this trio were Daryl Flacks (moving up to 4th with a 1:03:05 split) and Richard Eyram (moving to 6th with a 1:04:49), while Alex Beaulieu followed his strong run with a 1:05:50 bike to stay in the top 5.

Frake and Bradley would hold their positions to dominate the top two steps of the podium, in exceptional times of 1:53:43 and 1:56:59 respectively. The only question in the top 3 was whether or not Bauer would continue to fade off of the podium or if he would hold on. Despite a 19:41 5k, he would hold on to 3rd for a time of 2:01:46 and a bronze medal. Beaulieu used a 19:13 5k to move himself past Flacks into 4th, followed very closely by Eyram (18:57) moving himself into 5th. The big mover was Spalvieri, using a race-fastest 17:40 5k to run his way into the top 8 at the finish.

MEN’S OVERALL TOP 5
1. Dave Frake (M40-44) – 1:53:43
2. Larry Bradley (M40-44) – 1:56:59
3. Jesse Bauer (M25-29) – 2:01:46
4. Alex Beaulieu (M20-24) – 2:03:53
5. Richard Eyram (M40-44) – 2:03:56

We were treated to an excellent race on the women’s side, a race that turned itself on its head several times before all was said and done. The race was without 5-star favourite Jen Faraone due to an injury, but Vancouver’s Sara Massie led the race into the first transition thanks to a 40:31 10k. Her lead was approximately 90 seconds over Isabelle Sauve (42:02) and ~2:30 over Rachael Simpson (42:59), Paula Lockyer (43:02)  and Carolyn Silvey (43:06). Strong cyclists Jade Carrington and Tricia Bachman were lurking in 7th and 8th, with respective 10k times of 44:31 and 45:12.

Just as in the men’s race, the race order turned itself on its head on the bike, as Bachman (1:09:55 for 40km) and Carrington (1:10:33) charged to the front. Only Simpson (1:11:50) could hold them off, as her and Bachman entered transition together. Carrington came into transition 3rd, but not without company…Sauve (1:13:07) and Massie (1:14:42) were hot on her heels, remaining in contention after ceding the race lead. After strong first runs, the day seems to have gotten the best of Lockyer and Silvey, though both rallied to respective 6th and 8th place finishes.

Strong bikes by the top 5 ladies set up an excellent final 5k, as 27 seconds separated 1st from 5th and the fastest runner in the race (Massie) was lurking only 12 seconds back of the lead after a strong transition. As could be expected, Massie moved into the lead for good early on and held on to become the 2014 Canadian Champion, with a stellar time of 2:18:27. Simpson continued to hold off the rest of the field to hang on for 2nd (2:19:41), while Sauve moved herself from 5th to 3rd with a 21:15 5k, to finish in 2:19:50. Top cyclist Bachman (2:20:18) and Carrington (2:21:30) rounded out the top 5 in what ended up being quite an exciting race.

WOMEN’S OVERALL TOP 5
1. Sara Massie (F40-44) – 2:18:27
2. Rachael Simpson (F40-44) – 2:19:41
3. Isabelle Sauve (F35-39) – 2:19:50
4. Tricia Bachman (F45-49) – 2:20:18
5. Jade Carrington (F40-44) – 2:21:30

The veterans proved their strength in this one, as 9 of the athletes who finished in the top 6 in each race were over 40. The men’s 40-44 division was especially fierce, as Daryl Flacks had the hard luck of finishing 6th overall but missing the podium in his age group. Frake took the 40+ title to go with his overall title, followed by Bradley and Eyram. Massie made it twin overall titles for masters athletes, while Simpson and Bachman made up the rest of the top 3 masters females.

MENS 40+ TOP 3
1. Dave Frake (M40-44) – 1:53:43

2. Larry Bradley (M40-44) – 1:56:59
3. Richard Eyram (M40-44) – 2:03:56

WOMENS 40+ TOP 3
1. Sara Massie (F40-44) – 2:18:27
2. Rachael Simpson (F40-44) – 2:19:41
3.Tricia Bachman (F45-49) – 2:20:18

Despite some challenges with the weather and the logistics, the Canadian Standard Duathlon Championships delivered some exceptional results, many from Ontario duathletes. Ontario athletes delivered 4 of the 6 overall podium finishes, while occupying many of the top AG places as well. And who knows how the race would have been different if the start times had been arranged so cyclists of a similar level in the tri and the du would be on the course at the same time? Congratulations to all of our podium finishers, both overall and age group, and to all who secured their spots to the World Duathlon Championships in 2015, in Adelaide, Australia. We hope that the encouraging numbers seen this weekend across 4 events will continue to grow as we head to the Ontario Championships at Lakeside this September!

Canadian Duathlon Championships Preview – Toronto Triathlon Festival

Sunday marks the second of two National Championship weekends in a row, with the international distance duathlon at the Toronto Triathlon Festival. It looks to be a tough day in the weather forecast, a fact that will surely separate the contenders from the pretenders. The course is relatively straightforward, though the climbing sections on the Don Valley Parkway are sure to find out more than a few that haven’t already be done in by the weather. You can access the course maps HERE, and read our preview from this past Thursday HERE. As the whole Duathlon Central crew is racing this weekend, we will refrain from making very many predictions. Now, the men’s race contenders in what has quickly come together as a strong field…

MEN’S RACE

THE FLEET-FOOTED RISING STARS
At least 3 names from running pedigrees will be on hand to make sure any placing must be earned from gun to tape. Jesse Bauer (16:02 5k SB/1:00 sprint for the first of two wins so far in 2014), sometimes-duathlete Justin Spalvieri (recent 16:15 5k/33:33 10k/1:14 HM), and rising young star Mike Park (16:38 opening 5k at debut du in Welland) will likely look to set the pace early. If they go true to form, expect the first run to be a test for all to keep the trio close. 

THE WILY VETERANS
Looking to close the gap on the fleet-footed trio on the bike are a group of complete racers with strong cycling legs. Larry Bradley (16:57 5k SB/1st at Binbrook/2nd at Welland), long distance specialist Daryl Flacks (twin 1:02 sprints for 1st in Leamington and 2nd at Sprint Nationals) and Richard Eyram (2nd at Guelph Lake Olympic) all feature extraordinarily consistent performances across all three legs of the duathlon. Expect these three to close any gaps that exist after the run very quickly on the bike.

REAL DEAL DARK HORSES
A few fast names to keep in the back of your mind on Sunday…Dave Frake is a dark horse by his own admission, and would normally be considered the 5-star favourite (we still do…the last duathlon he lost to someone not named Lionel Sanders was in 2009). However, an extended cycling focus has led to him insisting that he will not be a factor. We don’t believe himGrahame Rivers was a fast riser on the scene this year, but has been in an extended recovery period the last week after a TOUGH set of races. He is 50/50 about bringing his wicked bike split to the line.

THE WILD CARDS
Though the attendance from Quebec is down this year (missing names like Marceau, Tremblay, Lefebvre, Blais and Rainville), there are a few names with impressive results in La Belle Province. Alex Beaulieu (3rd@ Victoriaville in 1:08/1:23 HM), Frederic Michel (1:09 @ Gatineau/1:05 @ Drummondville/1:03 @ Joliette), Matthieu Paquet (4th @ Joliette in 1:00/1st @ Amqui in 2:21), Rene Pierre Roussel (1st @ Gatineau in 2:12/16th @ Esprit in 2:07) and Gaston Mogollones (6th @ Gatineau in 1:05) could all put up results on Sunday. We’ve learned to never discount a duathlete from Quebec! And while not from Quebec, keep an eye on the rapidly improving Garvin Moses (2nd at Binbrook) and Darren Cooney (3rd at Binbrook) from Mississauga and Toronto respectively.

WOMEN’S RACE

The women’s field may very well be stronger than the men’s. Though defending champion Peggy Labonte will not be in attendance, many strong athletes making their return to racing after Worlds this June will make for an excellent field. Masters and overall, this race will have it all. Now the contenders…

THE WORLD CHAMPIONS
The women’s field boasts two World AG Duathlon Champions who should not be discounted. Jennifer Faraone (1:20 HM/2:13:13 international distance at Worlds in 2013) tore up the duathlon scene last year posting a few finishes very close to the overall podium, while Carolyn Silvey (21:09 5k/39:33 10k in 2014) posted a 2:23:06 time last August to win HER age group. Both have to be considered strong contenders on Sunday.

THE CONTENDERS
Other contenders have shown strong pedigree as well, whether in 2013 or 2014. Jade Carrington has been on fire this season, with twin victories in Woodstock and Welland to start the year. Isabelle Sauve was a close second at the Ottawa Early Bird sprint (short first run, long bike) in a time of 1:13, and has also recorded a sterling 2:18 international distance race (Esprit 2013). Paula Lockyer‘s last result was at Lakeside in 2013, but was an overall win in a quick 1:14. Her 1:12 sprint at Worlds in 2013 was good for 5th in her AG.

THE DARK HORSES
World AG runner-up Tricia Bachman (2:15:53 international distance at Worlds in 2013) is also an interesting case. Still recovering from an injury, Bachman will be hobbled on the run, but hopes a strong bike will move her back up into the top 10 before the day is out on Sunday. Christine Richardson was close behind Lockyer at Lakeside in 2013, finishing in 1:15:38 a week after Nationals. And though recent results have been hard to find, Rachel Simpson rarely finds herself off the podium at local events. Keep an eye on these three.

All in all, Sunday should be a fantastic day of racing, regardless of the weather conditions. Everyone races on the same course in the same conditions, and it will come down to whoever brings it on race day. If you are tweeting or have family members tweeting, make sure you use the hashtags #OntarioDu and #CdnDuChamps! Looking forward to some great racing on Sunday!

Author’s Note: Please note that this is all in good fun to stimulate some good conversation about the sport we all love so much! The information used to complete this preview may be incomplete (and is likely heavily Ontario biased due to availability of information). Getting access to any sort of competitors list was exceptionally difficult. So if there are any glaring omissions, let us know in the comments! And again…please excuse my writing about myself in the third person. It’s just more fun that way!