“Sometimes It’s All About the Bike” – Barrelman Bike/Run Report from Daryl Flacks

Barrelman was, without a doubt, the highlight of my 2014 season.  Treated as my “A” race, I planned on exploring my limits on the bike to determine how much I could suffer and for how long.  This would be treated as a pure 90k TT on fresh legs.  Being a Bike/Run event there was no initial run to deplete my resources.  The run off the bike…well, I would deal with that when I got there.

The morning of the race had me a little nervous as I’m always leery of wet roads and the possibility of crashing.  The winds, on the other hand, were nothing new to someone who trains in Windsor-Essex County. If anything, I believed that although my average speed would suffer in the first 30k, it should allow me the opportunity to position myself well for the last 60k where the wind should be my friend.

Awaiting the start of the race was a little unnerving, as I watched so many triathletes transition to the bike ahead of me.  I am confident in my abilities to push the pace on the bike, but it’s not fun starting from the back of the pack and one of several reasons I don’t do triathlons.  5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and I was off, merging into the sea of triathletes.  I was surprised that in the 1st couple kms, with a somewhat congested bike course, there was such an aggressive surge by a few of the competitors.  I was certain the race wasn’t going to be won or lost at this point. It wasn’t long (I believe the first small climb) that I graciously advised them “PASSING ON YOUR LEFT!”  The small things that amuse me….

Daryl Flacks - Bike
Daryl ripping up the bike course.

The first 30k was a real battle with the wind, as my 150lb frame struggled to stay up right.   I knew that if I could keep a conservative and consistent effort, I would be rewarded in the final stages of the bike.  If Windsor-Essex County winds have taught me anything, it is to remain patient.  I will say this though: I was a little bit surprised to see how rapidly I was moving through the pack under far from ideal conditions – a definite confidence builder for sure.

Approximately 35k in, I experienced my first glitch.  Multi-tasking isn’t my strongest suit (unless this is a job interview), or maybe it was just the lack of oxygen to my brain, but I decided to take in some calories.  I proceeded to open a gel pack and not wanting to litter on the course, put the tab from the gel away.  Returning my attention to my right hand, I had inadvertently squeezed the package causing the Mocha flavor gel to erupt all over my hand.  What a sticky mess!  Let me say, there is nothing gracious about how someone consumes a gel when it’s all over your hand.  I must have taken my foot off the gas for a moment when I heard those dreaded words: ”On Your Left”.  Not on your life!  Yes, I let him pass me – then I refocused, put the gel pack away, and (with my right hand solidly glued to the shifter) made a decisive pass.

At this point, the sun was out and I was tapping out the pedal strokes.  A quick glance behind, no one in sight and no one on the horizon – keep pushing! If I had any question whether I was pushing my limits – confirmation was provided for me in the form of an unannounced emptying of my stomach – Mocha…like I didn’t already have enough on me.  Feeling somewhat better, I soldiered on, only to reset my Cateye computer accidently around the 60k mark.  Unfortunately, I do not have a powermeter and resort to a somewhat primitive form of measuring output – speed, cadence and effort.  Not really scientific but it’s all my current budget can afford.  No biggie…just keep pushing until the body says “I’m givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!”

The last 30k was somewhat uneventful.  With my nose running (seasonal allergies), I started to notice that my body was beginning to wear down.  The mental focus to hold a consistent effort became an uphill battle and I began to fear what was inevitable – a pain filled 21.1k run.  I took my 2nd gel without issue and consumed my fluids in preparation for what was to come.  I finished the bike in a time of 2:24:24 for the 92.5k distance, an average speed of 38.4k/hr and good enough for the 7th fastest bike split of the day (tri & run/bike).  As expected, the first 35k averaged 34.5k/hr with the remaining 57.5k at a strong 41.3k/hr.

I entered transition somewhat disoriented and really needing to blow my nose (funny sometimes how your mind works when it is being pushed past its comfort zone).  Everything is kind of a blur but I was confident I was having a good race when I arrived to a nearly empty transition zone (maybe 10 bikes were racked).   Now, my wife and über support crew Dianne had warned me about what would happen if I knotted my run bag before the race, and as is usually the case…she was right.  I couldn’t get it open for the life of me, so I resorted to trying to rip the bag open – apparently I need a little more upper body strength.  Needless to say my transition was far from smooth.  I’m not certain if it was (a) the confidence that I had put together a solid bike or (b) the fear of what was to come, but I remained calm and headed out on the run.

Daryl Flacks - Run
Daryl dishing out the hurt on a trip past the Falls

I’ve run 100k ultra trail race before, and the pain and spasms I felt 1k into the run were comparable.  This was going to be nothing more than a one-foot in front of the other ordeal.  My watch for the run couldn’t locate a GPS signal and once again no data.  No biggie…I’m certain the feedback would have been anything but positive and at this point I was in no shape to challenge the data.  The course was much more challenging than first anticipated and I chose to speed walk the “mountain” at approximately 3k to consume a gel and conserve some energy for the remainder of the race.

Running/slogging/shuffling past the Falls twice was a memorable experience.  I will admit that on the first lap, I was honestly trying to locate the “misting station” that had been set-up – I figured John Salt had thought of everything!  It took me second though to realize that I was actually running by the base of the Falls.  It was without a doubt the highlight of the run (that and the finish line) as the temperatures were starting to rise.  I crossed the finish line in a time of 4:01:37 for a 1st place finish and, despite struggling on the run, the 10th fastest run time of the day in 1:34:51!

This race was all about the bike, an opportunity to compare myself against a competitive field.  I truly believe that in order to achieve greatness one must push their limits.  Sure, you may blow up…but you may be also amazed with the end result.  When I told my 12 year old son Dakota that I vomited on the bike, his reply was, “but it was worth it!”  Yes it was…yes it was!

I’d like to thank my wife Dianne for all her support, Cycle Culture and 3sixty5 Cycling for all my cycling needs, Nick Dwyer for teaching me how to suffer, Community Chiropractic Center (Dr. Todd Small & Dr. Sarah Dale) and Tecumseh Massage Therapy Clinic (Geoff Astles, RMT) for their on-going support in keeping me healthy.  Thanks also to Multisport Canada for hosting this race and always listening to the needs of Duathletes.  And last but not least my son Dakota Flacks, who inspires me to be the best I can be.

“Every race is a good race Dad – as long as you bike/run your fastest, try your hardest and never give up!”  Dakota Flacks (age 5).

Daryl Flacks - Podium
Top of the podium for Daryl

2014 Season Finale – Tillsonburg Charity Duathlon Course Preview

The end is upon us. This weekend the Ontario duathlon season wraps up with a grassroots favourite in Southern Ontario, the Tillsonburg Charity Duathlon. RD George Papadakos has put a considerable amount of time and effort into creating a novice friendly, super sprint (3k run/15k bike/3k run) format that is an excellent way for duathletes of all experience levels to finish their season with a flourish. All proceeds go to benefit the Alzheimer’s Society of Oxford.

Both run courses are identical, flat 3km loops, cutting through Memorial Park and circling the lake. There is an aid station at the 1km mark. The surface is mostly paved with a little bit of gravel and stone at the beginning. Any elevation changes are very slight. The bike course is similarly flat, following an lollipop format to the west of transition. There is a small valley on Concession St before you hit the long drag on Hawkins Rd, climbing for less than 300m at a <5% grade. The rest of the course is flat, continuing on Hawkins Rd to a left hand turn at Dereham Line, the looping back to the Concession St valley on Pressey Line and Newell Rd.

Course maps can be found here.

Winning this race requires an all out mindset, as each leg is too short to have much effect on the subsequent ones. Scott Finch used this strategy to perfection last year, winning in a tad over 45 minutes, and will be back this year to defend his title. Scott Breen (7th at international distance Provincials) will give him a stiff test, as will triathletes Rob Whitmill (1:18 half marathon/2:02 800m) and Alex Warren. Registration information can be found here, and here is a look at the confirmation list. For those heading to Tillsonburg, enjoy the last race on the Ontario duathlon calendar for 2014!

UPDATE 9/27 11:44am – Scott Finch is 50/50 on whether he will race due to a cold. Spencer Summerfield is indeed on the start list and will look to join the other contenders with  a strong performance. 

Last time we checked in on the Powerman USA series, they were busy announcing new events around the US. At this point, 6 events have been finalized, including two within a relatively tame distance for a weekend trip (Powerman Michigan in Frankenmuth and Powerman Wisconsin in Kenosha). Michigan’s location (~2 hours from most areas in the GTA and south) and timing (late season – September 27) in particular make it an attractive fall A race option for Ontario duathletes.

Rumours on the Powerman USA Facebook page also paint an attractive picture to Ontario duathletes. There seem to be plans for a Canadian Powerman or two for 2015, including possibly one in the Windsor area (and another in the West, BC or Edmonton being rumoured cadidates). Hopefully Powerman USA is able to strike the delicate balance between location and timing, so that Ontario long course duathletes can benefit from a perfect storm of not one, but TWO Powerman races in close proximity for the 2015 season. News will be communicated to you as it comes out.

We have some interesting features planned for the offseason, so stay tuned. We are looking for guest writers to write about their diverse experiences during what was an action-packed and interesting 2014 duathlon season during the offseason. If you have any content to add, PLEASE submit it via either email (duathloncentral@gmail.com) or our Contact Us tab above. And of course, keep Tweeting! Our Twitter is @du_enthusiasts, and our hashtag is #OntarioDu.

Good luck to all of our Barrelman Bike/Runners!

This weekend a few brave souls will be heading to Niagara Falls for the Bike/Run event at the inaugural Barrelman Triathlon. The weather looks fantastic for fast times, as the point to point course has a very good chance of have a predominant tailwind. Cody Beals took a look at it With Best Bike Split, with some tantalizing results (remember…this is HIS pacing plan. We only drew attention to it to highlight the good conditions that may be on hand!)

Good luck and enjoy the new course! Make sure you send us the race reports afterwards!

Recapping the 2014 Ontario Duathlon Championships in Lakeside

This weekend, duathletes from around Ontario descended on the small camping resort of Lakeside for the Multisport Canada Lakeside weekend and the Ontario International Duathlon Championships. We were on site doing live coverage of the Sunday events, and you can get caught up on that by checking out the live coverage replay. The venue certainly stated its case with authority on both days, as Saturday racers were greeted on race morning with rain, cold and mud all over the run course, while Sunday championship racers took on the more traditional daunting obstacles of chilly temperatures, sharp rolling hills and wind. In the end, provincial champions were crowned and many successful seasons ended only to be replaced by some much-needed downtime.

International Distance Recap
Sprint Distance Recap

The provincial championship race brought together one of the strongest fields for a race during the 2014 season. 41 brave souls stepped up to the line in chilly temperatures, ready to take on a hilly and rough 10km run course, before battling the hills and wind for 40km on the bike, then returning for one final 5km loop of the run course. The men’s field was highlighted by several of the big names who made appearances in our race preview, including Larry Bradley, Scott Finch, Daryl Flacks, Grahame Rivers, Andrew McLeod, Darren Cooney, Shayne Dumouchelle, Scott Breen, John Straatman and Garvin Moses, with triathlete Greg Higgs making the move over to the du to complete the field. A slow to develop women’s field would end up including Team Canada members Christine Richardson and Renee Hartford, as well as circuit stalwart Shelley O’Bright.

Lakeside Run 1

Bradley took the race out hard, going straight to the lead and stringing out the field immediately. Daryl Flacks jumped right on his heels, followed by Scott Finch. Bradley would begin to fade and succumb to his immune system at the 4km mark, but would continue to battle and lead the field through 5km in a shade over 19:00. Scott Finch moved into 2nd ahead of Flacks, followed by a trio containing Darren Cooney, Andrew McLeod and John Straatman.

Shelley O’Bright went straight to the front of the women’s race and never looked back, posting the top run split of 46:34. Christine Richardson hit T1 28 seconds back in 47:02, with Renee Hartford in 3rd another 1:02 back. Finch would continue to tap out a solid rhythm and hit T1 with the lead after a 38:13 10k, with Flacks, Bradley, Cooney and McLeod all looming within 2:03. Uber-biker Grahame Rivers loomed 4:36 behind Finch, ready to pounce with his unmatched cycling abilities. Pre-race podium hopeful Shayne Dumouchelle would end up calling it a day after a tough first run.

Finch leading the way

Finch would lead the way throughout the bike, and was first off the bike to T2 with a race 2nd-fastest 1:03:43 bike. Flacks would continue a very solid overall day with a 1:04:35 split, while Bradley called it quits and headed back to transition after 15km. Grahame Rivers would absolutely STORM through the field on the bike, posting a 58:35 40k bike, by far the fastest bike split of the day (and it wasn’t close). Rivers would close to within 15 seconds of Finch, pushing Flacks to 3rd, McLeod to 4th after a 1:04:00 split, and Cooney to 5th. O’Bright put her stamp on the race by taking 4:46 from Richardson and a further 5:29 to Hartford, giving her a comfortable cushion with which to cruise the last run.

Lakeside Run 2

The course would not let this race end without taking it’s casualties. Bradley and Dumouchelle aside, Finch would also struggle on the final 5k run, stopping to walk twice en route to a 21:13 final run. Fortunately, the race was well in hand and Scott Finch used his home course advantage to take his 3rd win of 2014 and become the Ontario International Distance Champion in 2:04:24 (read Scott’s race report here). Flacks made good on our prediction, using his long course strength to keep it together for 2nd in 2:07:01 as everyone else went to mush, while McLeod leveraged his 3rd fastest bike split into a provincial bronze medal in 2:08:22.

OBright Finishing Strong

O’Bright would cruise the last run in 24:36 to win the provincial title in 2:27:59, recording top women’s splits across all three legs, with Richardson second in 2:33:40 and Hartford 3rd in 2:37:08. The masters athletes dominated, as the overall podium in both races would also serve as the masters podium. Perhaps the performance of the day goes to Grahame Rivers who, after storming through the field on the bike, hung onto 4th for dear life (by a scant 1.2 seconds, 2:10:12.8 to 2:10:14) to a hard charging Darren Cooney, who would cap a breakout season with a top 5 finish in Lakeside.

Lakeside Results

1. Scott Finch (M40-49) 2:04:24
2. Daryl Flacks (M40-49) 2:07:01
3. Andrew McLeod (M40-49) 2:08:22
4. Grahame Rivers (M30-39) 2:10:13
5. Darren Cooney (M30-39) 2:10:14

1. Shelley O’Bright (F40-49) 2:27:59
2. Christine Richardson (F40-49) 2:33:40
3. Renee Hartford (F50-59) 2:37:08
4. Wendy Holyday (F40-49) 2:43:14
5. Alexandra Bade (F30-39) 2:46:28

Lakeside Podium

Luckily for Sunday racers, the really bad weather got itself out of the way on Saturday at the expense of the sprint distance racers. Steady rain all morning made a soupy mess of the gravel run course, causing duathletes to come back into transition looking like high school cross country runners. The men’s field was highlighted by Jesse Bauer, Spencer Summerfield and defending champion Aaron Putman, while a solid women’s field including Paula Lockyer and Michelle Sheehy was made one better on race day with the appearance of National bronze medalist Isabelle Sauve.

Saturday Sprint

Bauer led the way in 17:23 over 5km of muddy roads, joined temporarily by U19’s Chris Marentette and Joseph Hunter with Putman and Summerfield further back in 4th and 6th respectively. Sauve led the women in 20:50, with Lockyer 41 seconds back and Sheehy 2:31 off the pace. Summerfield would storm through the whole field except Bauer with a race fastest 32:59 bike split, though Bauer’s quick run/T1 and solid bike resulted in him being first off the bike before cruising home in 9:07 for his 4th win of the season in 1:01:46. Summerfield ended up 2nd in 1:03:13, with Putman 3rd in 1:03:38. Sauve and Lockyer hung on for a 1-2 finish in 1:11:45 and 1:13:37 respectively, while Sheehy stormed through the field with a race-fastest 37:50 bike and held on for 3rd place. 85 athletes braved the cold and rain to compete in the sprint duathlon on Saturday.

Men’s Overall Winner: Jesse Bauer
Men’s Masters Winner: Scott Campbell
Women’s Overall Winner: Isabelle Sauve
Women’s Masters Winner: Paula Lockyer

Bob Wild

The race on Sunday also served as the final qualifier for the 2015 World Duathlon Championships in Adelaide, Australia. All of the top finishers in each 5 year age group earned a spot on Team Canada in Adelaide. Many of the top 60+ Ontario duathlon competitors in particular made the trip to Lakeside, and it was great to see athletes like Bill Horwich, Ron VanKoughnett, Ted Seyler, David Shulman, Janis Milliken, Lynda Lemon and 82-year old Bob Wild out battling the cold and wind on Sunday. Fantastic work!

The bulk of the season comes to a close with Lakeside, though many athletes still have races on tap at the Barrelman Bike/Run and the Tillsonburg Charity Duathlon. We will still have previews coming out for both weekends!

“Battle In My Backyard” – A Race Report from 2014 Provincial Duathlon Champion, Scott Finch

It’s amazing how time flies. This year marked the 10 year anniversary of my first duathlon at Lakeside, and the 12 year anniversary of my first multisport competition at this beautiful venue. Yes, that’s right…the first two years I competed there as a (gasp) triathlete. Coming from what can best be described as an anti-athletic background simply finishing those early races was a huge accomplishment, and is part of the reason I still have so much respect for those farther back in the pack. For those interested the chart below illustrates the progress over the past 12 years. I missed 2007 (post concussion syndrome) and 2012 (osteitis pubis).

Scott Finch Lakeside Progression

So what would possess anyone to do the same race, over and over, year after year? While I love the course, the answer is simply that the start line is exactly 8km from my front door. I train here year round. How cool is that?

Race Lead up
The week leading into the race was a mixed bag of fortunes. I was still feeling pretty good about my Wasaga Beach win the week before, my strongest duathlon since 2011, and enjoying an easy training week. However, our basement flooded that week leaving us sleeping on random mattresses and couches, and living out of boxes (“Where is my foam roller…WHERE IS MY FOAM ROLLER?? AAAAHHHH”). Luckily for me, my wife is supportive of my racing endeavors, taking my oldest daughter away on the Friday night (and buying me a new foam roller) and ensuring one decent night’s sleep that week. I arrived at the race site with lots of time and was amazed at the number of familiar friendly faces. Scoping the competition, I saw the pre-race favourite Larry Bradley (2nd at International Nationals, 1st Belwood, 1st Binbrook), Daryl Flacks (1st Leamington, 2nd Sprint Nationals, 2nd Tecumseh), Shayne Dumouchelle (1st Guelph II, 1st Orillia, 2nd Niagara), über cyclist Grahame Rivers (1st Milton, 1st Guelph Lake 1), and several other very strong competitors. Notably absent was National champ David Frake, spry young lad Jesse Bauer (four MSC wins this year), and winner of both Tecumseh and Chatham Ryan Allison.

Two weeks prior I had done a Lakeside Mega Day with veteran triathlete Steve Whitmore and duathlete James Delodder. The workout consisted of riding the 40km course, running the 5K loop three times, and biking the 20km sprint course. In contrast to that hot windy day, Sunday was cold with only a slight breeze. Though I had mentally checked off road bumps to avoid on the run, the heavy rains in the past couple of weeks had really taken a toll on the gravel.

1st run (10K – 38:13, 160m elevation gain)
Shoes – Saucony Grid Type A5

One of the greatest things about duathlon is the camaraderie amongst the core competitors. In a sport like road cycling people are more apt to glare at you than strike up a conversation or share a joke, we duathletes have no problem sharing some laughs. I felt relaxed and ready to race. The gun went off and everyone was off like this was a flat sprintcourse! I was quickly back in about 6th place, but felt no need to panic. Half a km in people started coming back to me as I passed the first km in 3:33.

Mass Start

I used the downhill and eased into 2nd place before the turnaround. Larry was ahead at this point and I was just cruising keeping an eye on the gap. I felt light on my feet, relaxed and having fun…always a good sign. Coming back into town I gave the thumbs up to Jesse Bauer and…was Larry coming back to me? Sure enough a short while after I pulled up behind Larry and could hear his ragged breath. Asking him if it was allergies, he responded he had been sick the past week. Ahhh kids, just back to school and already spreading viruses around. I was pleased to pull into the lead but also felt bad for Larry, as he is definitely one of the good guys in the sport.  I still was not counting him or anyone else out and tapping out a nice relaxed pace. One thing with this course is that working on even splits is useless, consistent RPE is far better. My opening and 2nd 5Ks were only 11 seconds different. For transition I had trimmed the extra strap off of my helmet that interfered at Wasaga, but it still did not go on an nicely as my old Bell Meteor. Due to the duathletes coming out of transition in the thick of the triathlon I decided against a flying mount. There was simply too great a risk of accident and it would be difficult to strap my feet in with weaving riders all about me. The run out was short but my transition was slower than other years.

Bike (40K – 1:03:43, 37.7kph, 237m elevation gain)
Bike – Cannondale Slice, Hed Stinger 90s w/disc cover. One gel flask of water mounted on top tube. No, no power meter. Maybe someday…

Scott On The Bike

Getting down into my aero tuck I immediately felt good. All the work I have done off the bike to keep psoas and back problems at bay despite my deep position has paid off. That, and the long run/bike/run/bike/run/bike brick I do weekly. Turning right and going over the out and back on the rollers I gave triathletes a wide berth and made sure I kept my “on your left’s” loud. I was rolling nice and smooth until my calves started cramping. Riding these roads a lot, I appreciated both the lower than usual winds and being able to roll through the intersections. Turning north on Cobble Hills I passed my Lakeside Mega Day buddy Steve Whitmore and gave him the thumbs up. Steve has been doing triathlons in Ontario since I have been riding a tricycle! Still feeling good I noted my speed passing the 60kph sign in Harrington at 58.9kph. Damn, I always want to speed going through there…so close! Grahame had still not blown by me by the right turn onto Hwy 6. Once the hills started I became dimly aware that in addition to my calves, my quads were also in a state of spasmy cramp pain. I tried to keep the cadence up and the effort smooth through the final section, just hoping that the legs would still function once the run started. One thing I really like about my Slice is that the top tube is lower than many other tri bikes, which allows for me to dismount by swinging my leg over the top tube. I find I can hold more speed and consequently have a faster T2. I know…it’s “wrong”, but as a former punker I like to maintain a modicum of non-comformity. With no duathletes in sight, I headed out for the death march, err second run.

2nd run (5K – ouch ouch ouch get this over with)
Receiving some good cheers from my wife, youngest daughter Kennedy and parents, I started out trying to just keep tall and keep the cadence up.  Howie Walker and Alex Vanderlinden gave some encouragement as well, and did I ever need it. Everything from the waist down was a hot, steamy pot of cramp soup. Ignore it…”not today”…keep the turnover high…”don’t do this to me”. I tried to stretch out some but eventually everything went BOOM. I walked a bit and it settled down enough that I could plod along with tiny steps. The end could not come soon enough! I have never put my arms up crossing the line as I feel it should be reserved for winners of big races, but I think Provincials qualify as just that!

Provincial Champion

Final result – 1st O/A, 2:04:24

If you had asked me 20 years ago if I would ever finish a race like an International Distance Duathlon I would have laughed and called you crazy. If you told me I’d be Provincial Champ I’d have checked you in for an evaluation. While I am fully aware I had luck on my side, I’ve had my share of bad race luck so I will take it! Missing the spring season and adjusting my training for a single peak likely helped. Next year I want to find a faster course to set a faster time as this one is a deceptively challenging one, but will definitely be back for one of the races at Lakeside!

Big thanks to my wife Sarah for everything, Village Cycle London for continued support, 3sixty5 Cycling for providing my everyday 60mm carbon clinchers. Thanks also to everyone out cheering, Multisport Canada for hosting this race over the past 12 years and everyone I train with.

Lakeside Podium

Ontario Duathlon Championships Preview

On Wednesday we previewed the race course for the upcoming weekend’s Ontario Duathlon Championships at the Lakeside Resort, hosted by Multisport Canada. There has been a buzz about the participant list over the past several weeks, which you can check out here (2 weeks ago) and here (last week). Names have continued to trickle in as the field has solidified, confirming what has been rumoured for weeks…the best duathletes in Ontario will be converging on Lakeside this weekend.

Here’s a brief look at who to watch out for in the men’s international distance championship race:

David Frake – Will he even show up? Who knows. There have been whispers that the National Champion was interested in racing. However, he missed the Ontario TT Championships this past weekend, so his presence is by no means anything close to a sure thing. If he is, he is our slam dunk favourite for a decisive win.

Larry Bradley
Photo Credit Mike Cheliak, My Sports Shooter 2014

Larry Bradley – This year, Larry has finished no worse than 2nd at a duathlon with wins in Binbrook and Belwood, 2nd in Welland and a silver medal at the National Duathlon Championships. In Toronto, Larry unleashed a sub-1:00 40k bike split on his way to a sub-2:00 overall finish…one of only 2 in Ontario. He will be tough to beat.

Scott Finch
Photo Credit Mike Cheliak, My Sports Shooter 2014

Scott Finch – Scott had a late start to the season due to injury and an off day against a solid field in Tecumseh, which shroud the fact that Scott is undefeated in races he has completed this year. Winning Niagara busted the rust, and a win in sub-1:02 in Wasaga last weekend signals that he is peaking at the right time. He also trains on these roads, so can add “home course advantage” to his list.

Grahame Rivers

Grahame Rivers – Grahame returns to duathlon after focusing on his real passion all summer (road cycling). He is fresh off a strong performance on a tough course at the Ontario TT Championships, and Grahame will always bring it on the bike. Lakeside is a course for the pure cyclists like Grahame, with rolling hills and headwinds…as long as he can weather the tough 10km run beforehand.

Daryl Flacks
Photo Credit Thierry Guertin, 2014

Daryl Flacks – Aside from a recent win and 25km TT personal best, Daryl has been laying low since placing 3rd at Tecumseh (likely putting in 5 hour rides in the Essex County crosswinds). Daryl is a grinder, and this course is made for him. Daryl’s endurance and heart could very well keep those legs turning over late in the race after the course has turned everyone else’s to mush.

Shayne Dumouchelle

Shayne Dumouchelle – Shayne burst onto the scene in Belle River at the National Sprint Duathlon Championships, where he placed 5th. He has been steadily improving since then, netting 4 straight podium finishes and 2 straight overall wins. Shayne is strong and confident, but has never raced a field like this so it will be interesting to see how he responds to the dynamics of the race.

There are a host of other strong contenders banging down the door who could surprise with top finishes. Sprint specialists Scott Breen and Garvin Moses will be stepping up to the full distance and will be looking for strong performances, while Darren Cooney and Bracebridge winner Andrew McLeod are experienced hands at the distance who do everything well. Richard Eyram (5th at Nationals) is another who could register on race day and throw a wrench in the plans of the strong cyclists.

With the stronger runners either in the sprint race (Jesse Bauer, Brad Reiter, Chris Marentette) or not competing (Ryan Allison, Matt Despatie), and the first 10km run being so difficult, this race could play out in a conservative first run ending with a group coming into T1 together, before all hell breaks loose on the bike course. Watch for some wicked bike splits followed by a grind to the finish line for provincial glory…and maybe a few sub-2:00’s or a course record.

Sprint Duathlon
Photo Credit Emma Parker 2014

While the main event will take place on Sunday, several high caliber athletes will attempt to put on a stunning pre-show on Saturday morning in the sprint duathlon. With the defending champion, the reigning Ontario AG Male Duathlete of the Year, 4 overall winners and 13 overall podiums in 2014, a top 5 finish at this one will be a good day. Bauer steps down to the sprint distance to take a swing at the Ontario leading AG time of 58:31, though Reiter, Spencer Summerfield and defending champion Aaron Putman will have something to say about that. Dan Rees won earlier this year in Kingston, Mike Gratton has turned his first season of duathlons into 4 overall runner-up finishes, and youngster Marentette looks to continue his upward trajectory.

The women’s sprint duathlon also features the defending champion, as Meaford’s Paula Lockyer looks to take on a stiff challenge from multiple 2014 podium finisher Michelle Sheehy to repeat as race winner. The course is tough, and the weather looks chilly and wet. This one could be a battle against the elements as well as the competition.

The other complete wild card at Sunday’s races is the entire women’s race. The names we have been seeing all year in the results are either racing the sprint distance or not racing. A strong field at Nationals, where 4 of the 5 top finishers in the race were from Ontario, has not transferred to provincials, while World AG medalists Jennifer Faraone, Sasha Gollish and Carolyn Silvey are all busy with other pursuits. The door is wide open for a new contender to step up and win a provincial title. We are excited to see who shows up and grabs the opportunity.

Multisport Canada and Duathlon Central will be teaming up to deliver you live coverage of the races on Sunday. We will be live tweeting from our Twitter account (@du_enthusiasts), and you can follow these tweets as well as the rest of the racing at the MSC Lakeside Live Coverage page. The hashtags for the event are #MSCLakeside, #ONDuChamps and #OntarioDu, so if you are tweeting make sure to use those! See everyone at the races!

Ontario Duathlon Championships Course Preview (MSC Lakeside)

Our preview of the 2014 Ontario Duathlon Championships will be in two parts this week. We will start today with a preview of the course to come, and follow it up Friday with a look at the competitors to watch out for. There looks to be some slightly cooler weather on the way on Saturday and Sunday, which could have a marked effect on the races. Check out Cody Beals’ 3 Tips for Chilly Triathlons (and Duathlons) for some good pro tips from the gentleman who just earned his first professional podium finish.

The bike course at Lakeside gets all of the press as being the toughest part of this course, but part of what sets up the tough bike course is the slow and grinding run course that precedes it. All runs consist of a 5km, out-and-back loop on the gravel and stone resort access roads. The surface is quite rough (ie. not smooth crushed gravel) and will definitely affect run times all around. The hills also play a large factor. The run starts by winding south on a gradual incline to the first aid station, then dips down to the turn off of 25th Line onto Road 88, where the shorter but much steeper hill to the turnaround begins. The way back is the reverse, so don’t forget about the climb back up to the aid station.

The international distance race will start with two 5km loops, and finish with one loop. The sprint distance race will start with a full loop and finish with an abbreviated loop with a turnaround near the first aid station (at the top of the first hill). The hills are deceptive, and the key to this race is not to overcook the hills on the first run, leaving your legs with nothing left for the bike. The runs can also be a tad long on occasion, depending on where the turnaround is placed. A full season of racing and then hopping on to a grueling course like Lakeside can lead to slower run times across the board.

The bike course is as advertised at the Lakeside International Duathlon. After you punish your quads and hamstrings for 10km, you make a long run on grass alongside the transition zone then double back to your bike before heading out on this rectangular course where you hammer the hills while the wind hammers you. Lakeside is almost ALWAYS windy from the west (ie. in your face on the first and last ~8km of the course). You start off heading north to Road 92, where you make a right towards a quick turnaround before doubling back and heading west. By the time you get back around the course, everyone should be through this turnaround. The rollers start off gently, and slowly get longer and steeper as you head around the rectangle. The back stretch is a place to pick up a lot of speed, as you generally have a tailwind and the rollers are not yet decisive. The last 10km of the course are the toughest, as you fight the headwind and some nasty rollers on legs that have already been toasted. The north/south road leading in and out of the resort is generally a No Passing Zone, so make sure you make all of your moves prior to this access road.

The sprint course shares its most difficult sections with the international distance race, but otherwise is a totally different out-and-back course starting out east on Road 92 before heading south on 31st Line to the turnaround. The first 5km is on the tough rolling section at the end of the international distance race, though heading the other direction there are more downs than ups. Once you head south, the rollers don’t let up but the difficulty stays steady. Once you are back on the last 5km however, those rollers can be nasty and difficult, especially with a headwind.

The Lakeside course is tough but fair. The key is to maintain a steady output despite the hills on the first run and the bike, and avoid large spikes every hill. Hammering up every hill could leave you with nothing left for the last run. You can check out the course maps here for the international distance and the sprint distance. There is still space for late registration on both days, so if you haven’t signed up already you can do so at the registration page. The field already promises to be impressive competition for that one qualifying spot for AG Worlds in Adelaide, and even the sprint is shaping up to be an unofficial Provincial Championship (part 2). Head over an register before it is too late!