Getting To Know Evan Bayer, Recently Crowned Canadian Duathlon Champion

Evan Bayer is just coming off winning the Canadian Standard Distance Duathlon Championships, where his 1:49:36 clocking placed him firmly in the lore of duathlon in Canada and gave him a 1:32 margin of victory on the most competitive field assembled at a duathlon in recent memory. He took some time to answer a few questions about his race and the future for him.

You had an incredible race to easily handle a stacked field at the Canadian Duathlon Championships, winning in an amazing 1:49:36. Tell us about it…what were your keys to victory?

It didn’t feel easy, I felt like it was under pressure the entire way. I knew I needed to take time in the bike but knew it wouldn’t matter if I couldn’t minimize losses on the run. I’ve done a lot of quality run sets in the last 3-4 weeks and I think that helped keep me in contention on Wednesday.

Putting yourself in the shoes of an outsider watching the race…what did you think of the field that turned out, and how the race played out?

It was the strongest field I’ve seen in a duathlon to date which was great. Strong competition beings the best out of everyone.

The two sports are an interesting contrast because one isn’t necessarily beneficial to the other as many people seem to think. As an outsider I’m sure one would expect a large lead to do nothing but grow so it likely came as a surprise to some to see the race shuffle the way it did as it flipped through the two sports.

Your cycling talents are well apparent, considering we have seen 58:00 and 56:34 splits out of you so far this year. Your run today, however, was unlike anything we’ve ever seen from you. What prompted you to stick in the main chase all the way into T1?

To be honest I was racing sick in July. I was fighting a virus of some kind that completely sapped my energy for weeks. Although I was falling short in both disciplines the run was obviously harder to perform as it requires your entire body to be in sync. In hindsight this may have been a blessing in disguise as nobody expected any sort of showing from me on the run.

That being said, I spent the first 28 years of my life running and still run close to a dozen races a year. Early in the season I did the Adrenaline Rush Duathlon in High River and opened with a 34:02 10km and came home in 17:56 5km. Wednesday was all about running to my potential.

We hear you had a little bit of trouble with your chain coming out of T1? What happened? How were you able to recover?

As I was running through the transition my bike rolled over a sprinkler or tree root that popped the bike causing the chain to fall off. Unfortunately I didn’t notice until I tried to mount. I quickly tried to throw it back on but rushed it so it came off a second time when I went to spin the crank. The second attempt to put it on was successful and I was on my way. At this point I was panicked because I knew I had just lost 20-30 seconds and I didn’t have any time to spare given the strong field. It took a couple kilometers for me to settle down and remind myself that there was still 75 minutes of racing left and to continue riding my race rather than trying to immediately pull back the time I lost.

What did you think of the course? Is there anything the particularly suited you, and is there anything you would change?

I really enjoyed the course but would say it definitely favors runners as the run course is very selective and the bike course is neither technical or difficult.

The run course was a difficult but nice loop of downtown Penticton. Going in I thought the hill would be helpful because I consider myself a strong runner but not especially fast. In the end it didn’t really seem to help or hinder me. I did think it was great to see an event not afraid to put something that selective in a course though.

The bike course being so flat makes it very straight forward and safe but a bit harder to capitalize if you favor the bike. I think it’s more difficult to take significant time on such a flat course. My ideal bike course probably has a bit more climbing in it.

What’s next for you? We know you primarily race bikes, but will duathlons play a part in your future at all? Are you planning to race at the Worlds in 2017?

I’ll be heading to Edmonton this weekend for the Alberta Individual Time Trial Championships then changing gears to get ready for my first marathon in Toronto this October. Beyond that I’ll do some cross country running races this winter before preparing for next season.

Right now there are a few things on my radar for next year (gravel and road racing on the bike, road and trail running races and duathlon). I find the variety keeps training fresh but also difficult to balance so I’ll see what I’m most motivated to chase this winter and go from there. Right now the plan is to be back in Penticton next August.

So…where do we place our bet on Evan Bayer to be the fastest finisher at Worlds next year in Penticton?

Evan Bayer
(Photo: Ken Anderson Photography)

“What. A. Race.” – Canadian Duathlon Championships Race Recap

Dislaimer: I (Jesse) raced in this race, finishing 4th overall. It’s a tribute to the race quality that this will be one of the most impartial race reports I’ve ever written, despite being in the race and experiencing it firsthand.

Nationals Start Line
A stellar field setting off on a long, hard day of racing (Photo: Jesse Bauer)
This sport has come so far since we started doing this, and today was another step in that direction as one of the most competitive fields in a duathlon in the last 5 years (at least) toed the lined and 100% delivered on the hype. Let’s talk quickly about the course first, just to frame this fantastic race.

We posted a preview leading up to this race based on some Mapmyrun simulations and a brief run-(walk) through a couple of days before the race. The course was going to be a difficult one for the run at least, running up the steep grades of Vancouver Ave six times in total. The bike course in between was a flat but exposed 20km loop done twice. In reality, the bike course rode FAST, thanks to the slingshot effect from traffic on either side going by, even at a reduced speed. But for much of the field, the toll had been paid and then some on the first 10k run, with some more to pay on the last 5k. The course distances were true to advertised, and going in we anticipated a fast bike to be buttressed by some relatively slow runs (~35:00 for the first) due to the difficulty of the run course.


We were wrong. 35:00? Pffffft. With the strong running chops of Alexandre Lavigne, our defending champion, and Kelowna Apple Triathlon winner Shawn Wilyman, that prediction crashed and burned into an epic firestorm right away. 2.5k was hit by the leaders in 8:13 (32:52 pace) and the pace didn’t relent from there, Vancouver Ave steeps be darned. Lavigne took the lead and made his move for glory going up the hill the second time around and didn’t let up, ending up leading the way into T1 in 33:32. Wilyman and Jesse Bauer following in 34:11, with Canada’s #1 ranked duathlete lurking dangerously in 4th at 34:25.

Bayer and Bauer
Lurking…(Photo: Jesse Bauer)
From there, the race for the gold was a mere formality. Evan Bayer is a former Alberta time trial champion, and he showed it by first blowing by Bauer 7k into the bike and riding the freight train to the lead shortly thereafter. Bayer would end up recording a 55:41 40k bike followed up with a 17:42 5k run, resulting in a final time of 1:49:36 that would rival some of the best performances in Canadian duathlon history. The bike split is going to be the headline, but the race was won by being in the main chase pack after 10km of hard running in the Penticton valley.

Key to victory? That 34:25 10k split.

Wilyman would claim the silver medal by executing a tactically perfect race, running with the lead group but obviously well within himself, because his 57:56 bike and 17:32 5k run are right in line. Lavigne was the warrior of the day, dictating the race with his fearless first run and then following it up with a sub-1:00 bike and the fastest run of the day as he tried to chase down a silver medal. And if he wasn’t the warrior of the day it was Moritz Haager, last year’s bronze medallist who double flatted on the bike course. He lost 15 minutes with neutral service and STILL soldiered on to finish 25th in 2:12. All in all, 8 men went under 2:00 on one day in a year where only 3 men had previously done it (Evan Bayer, Shawn Wilyman, Alexandre Lavigne, Jesse Bauer, Mark Sherman, Jeremy Hopwood, Dallas Cain and Mike Fertuck). What. A. Day.

Warriors, Shawn Wilyman and Alex Lavigne (Photo: Jesse Bauer)

As compelling as the men’s race was, the women nearly matched it. The men’s race can often be predictable as race tactics play out at the front of the race between a generally known group of contenders. The women, however, flit in and out almost at a whim, making for some incredibly dynamic races. We knew coming in that 2014 Canadian Champion Sara Massie would be racing, and that BC provincial champion Morgan Cabot would also be present. We had no idea that the rest of the top 5 would be racing…that’s just the nature of women’s duathlon in Canada!

Jen Moroz zipped out to a big lead on the 10k run, besting the other women by over 4 minutes with her 37:55 first run. Massie and Kim McMullen were the closest followers, with Hillie Van’t klooster another 2 minutes back. But Van’t klooster would pretty much seal the race with her other-worldly 1:04:22 bike split…except for the fact that McMullen stuck right there and rode 1:07:47 to stay within striking distance. All through the first lap, BC time trial champion Cabot was lurking (she’s ridden 30:25 for 20k in a duathlon this year) but unfortunately an accidental early turn on the first lap resulted in her DQ, changing the face of the race.

McMullen staying within striking distance on the bike paid off, as she ran a women’s 2nd fastest 20:48 5k to claim the Canadian championship. Van’t klooster held on for 2nd, while Moroz nearly took the silver (coming 2 seconds short) with a race best 19:40 5k. While the women didn’t QUITE match the depth of the men’s race, it was still impressive. 3 women under 2:15 is phenomenal, and 5 under 2:20 is just as good.


This was just an incredible day. There are 900 words above about how amazing it was, and we didn’t even talk about the most stirring image of the day: 86 year old Sister Madonna Buder (the Iron Nun) crossing the line, side-by-side with our own incredible veteran, 82 year old Bruce Butcher. Words couldn’t describe the atmosphere at the finish as they crossed the line. Sister Madonna was injured earlier this year, switched from Ironmans to duathlons, almost didn’t get across the border as she didn’t have her passport AND her car broke down, and she STILL crosses the line at our National Championships. What an inspiring performance. If you don’t know her story, check out this video.

The Challenge Penticton organizers did an incredible job of putting this together. An entire day completely catered to duathletes, and it was pulled off nearly flawlessly. The course was hard and many will be grumbling, but it was a perfect championship course. The hill broke the race up and kept it honest, exactly what you want from a championship race…drag races are no fun to watch or participate in. The atmosphere was unmatched, as the incredibly spectator friendly course (plus Steve King‘s on-point commentary) kept everyone enthralled in what was going on out on course.

We think the best thing about this race was that the multisport festival format drew triathletes to try a duathlon while they were in town for other events. The women’s winner and the men’s runner-up were both in town for other races and decided to hop into the duathlon to see how their bike/run strength played. This is a crucial part of the future of duathlon…just look how the landscape of the Elite Men’s race at Worlds in Aviles was transformed when South Africa’s Richard Murray decided to race. The more bodies we can get racing, at all ends of the sport, the better it is for duathlon. These standalone events are great for enlightening the rest of the multisport world of the great challenge that our sport represents.

It was truly a celebration of duathlon. Momentum has been building since 2011, when there was no national championship for duathlon, and this year represents the best event since then in performance, representation, and atmosphere (Ontario, we missed ya!). We couldn’t ask for a better event to be the Canadian Duathlon Championships. Edmonton is going to have a tough act to follow next week at the sprint championships! Congratulations to our new Canadian champions, Evan Bayer and Kim McMullen!.

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

Sister Madonna, the Iron Nun
The Iron Nun! So inspiring! Seriously, keep Du-ing it…she’s 86 and still is!(Photo: Jesse Bauer)

“You’re Saying We Have To Run Up That?!” – Challenge Penticton/Canadian Duathlon Championships Course Preview

Challenge Penticton Hill

I think my face in this picture says it all. A course that looks innocuous on paper and when looked at with each leg in isolation looks a WHOLE lot different when you take into account that this sport is run THEN bike THEN run! Is the bike course relatively flat? Yes. Is that fact going to matter if there is a north wind and after running up and down that beast 4 times? Probably not.

Let’s start with this, because it seems to be what is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. The course is a super spectator friendly 2.5km loop that weaves in and out of some quaint downtown Penticton streets. Oh yes, then it goes up and down a big hill. The folks enjoying a coffee on the patio of The Bench are surely going to enjoy a bunch of duathletes slogging their way up and down that hill. Or be super perplexed…or both. Who knows? Check out the map below:

Challenge Penticton Run Course

As you can see not only does the course have a pretty significant hill at the east end, but is also quite technical with six 90 degree (or more) turns packed into the 2.5km loop. The hill itself is a tricky one as well, starting off quite steep (~7-8%) then levelling off in the middle (~2-3%) before kicking up again the last 150m (~9-10%). Running down it after the 180 degree turn is also no picnic, as the steep grades will do a number on your legs. Following 4 laps of that, you bear right at the lap turn and head into transition in Rotary Park.

In isolation, the bike course looks nice and flat. However, some potential pitfalls lie with the wind, as well as with the unknown of what an athlete’s legs will feel like after 4 trips around that run course. It is a relatively simple two-lap bike course, out and back along Highway 97 to the north towards Summerland. Competitors will head west out of transition along Lakeshore Road, where the pavement is generally good with a few trouble patches and brick crosswalks, and following the road as it bends south. When the road bends south before the turn onto the highway the pavement does get pretty chippy, but once out on the highway it’s about what you can expect from a highway. From there it’s straight shot to the turnaround, as shown in the map below:

Challenge Penticton Bike Course

The wind is quite often from the north, coming off Lake Okanagan at a pretty steady rate. A north wind would put the out stretches of the bike from 0-10km and 20-30km into the wind, but with a tailwind coming on the slightly net downhill back portions of the bike. Any wind from the NW is going to be partially blocked bythe cliff face that runs along the length of the the course. We’re told the winds usually wait until later in the day to kick up, and indeed the forecast calls for just 4-5kph winds from 7-9am. The other unknown, the reaction to the run course of the knowledge of two more trips around that loop, are completely up to the athlete :).

The course for the year’s Canadian Duathlon Championships presents some unique challenges. Compared to the last two editions in 2014 (Toronto) and 2015 (Montreal), the course is likely to be more challenging due to the Vancouver Ave hill on the run course. The bike course looks comparable, but as we’ve mentioned it’s pretty foolish to simply look at each aspect of the course in isolation and form a race plan. This year’s course will challenge athletes to have a plan and execute it effectively to have their best day. The course has the chance to blow athletes to smithereens if they don’t give this daunting distance the respect it truly deserves! Cheers athletes…enjoy your day! For Wednesday is the day when duathletes take centre stage of the entire event, having the whole course and all of the spotlight square on us!

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

“It’s Playoff Time” – Regular Season Wrap-Up

National championship season is upon us, as we are days away from the Canadian Multisport Festival in Penticton, BC. The Standard Distance championships kicks off this upcoming Wednesday, with the draft legal sprint distance race to follow 10 days later (September 4) in Edmonton, AB. Just 6 days after that is the de facto Eastern Canadian Championships, where many of the Eastern athletes who do not already have a qualifier sewn up for Worlds in Penticton next year will head to secure their spot. These races will be part of the Esprit Triathlon/Duathlon weekend, and will consist of non-drafting standard AND sprint distance races, and a draft legal sprint. Welcome to “the playoffs”.

A preview will come out preceding all of these races. Jesse is racing in Penticton, Edmonton and the draft legal sprint at Esprit, so those posts will just be course previews so those racing might know what to expect from the course. In the case of Esprit, we will actually roll that into a race preview for the standard distance race only, if we can get ahold of a participant list in time to truly do it justice. But before we get excited about the postseason, we think it would be appropriate to relive the highlights of the regular season.

Some quick links:

Professional cyclist Morgan Cabot left the rest of the podium, Jen Moroz and 2014 National Champion Sara Massie, 3.5 and 4 minutes back respectively thanks to the 2nd fastest bike split overall (30:25 for 20k) at the Point Grey Duathlon. Being a top level endurance athlete requires high end general aerobic ability, but it helps to have a weapon like that in your back pocket. We hope to see her at Nationals in B.C. this week.

Point Grey Duathlon
Morgan Cabot at the finish (Photo: Reed Eaglesham/Point Grey Triathlon)

Last year this race was the host of two of the fastest duathlon races in the country. This year Evan Bayer IMPROVED on his 1:56:05 clocking from Great White North just 6 days before, going 1:53:48. The men’s sprint race was won in 56:06, setting the benchmark for the shorter distance, while Suzie Poirier nearly matched her stellar sub-1:10 clocking from 2015. Alberta may not have the duathlon depth of Ontario and Quebec, but they have some top athletes.

Comfortec Red Deer Duathlon
Start of the sprint at the Comfortec Red Deer Duathlon (Photo: Jesse Bauer)

The depth of MSC in Ontario has been on display so far this year, as a wide array of athletes have taken victories so far on the series. Ontario seems to be a tad behind when it comes to top contenders, but the depth is unprecedented. Names like Delanghe, Straatman, Aggarwal and Moore are ones to watch. Let’s run them down:

Brian Moore
(Photo: Multisport Canada/Mike Cheliak)

Brian Moore and Jasmin Aggarwal returned to defend their Du the Double Challenge Provincial titles, with the former coming up shorter while the latter was wildly successful. Aggarwal swept the two races after finishing 1st and 3rd last year, while Moore came in at not quite 100% which opened the door for Sean Delanghe (winner of the standard, 2nd in the sprint) and Matt Straatman (winner of the sprint, 2nd in the standard) to split the $500 prize.

Gravenhurst Du the Double
(Photo: Multisport Canada/

Last year, Ontario’s other series (Subaru Triathlon Series) was dominated by Jeremy Carter. This year a new contender (Chris Howe) has emerged to tie Carter with two wins apiece on the circuit. Jeremy is currently a tad banged up, and Howe hasn’t resurfaced since his win at the Niagara Duathlon. We look forward to a potential final clash between these two at the second Guelph Lake stop of the series next month.

In the long course world, Daryl Flacks took the win at the inaugural Muskoka 70.3 duathlon, though newcomer Michael Emke sure gave him a run for his hard-earned (on this brutal course at least) money. This event is an intriguing entry to the Ontario schedule and hopefully sticks around for 2017 despite the small turnout. There simply wasn’t enough time for athletes to fit this one in around an already-planned schedule after its announcement.

We’ve said it before, but the Coupe du Quebec really is the ideal towards which everything else should strive for. Despite a few hitches throughout the year, this series consistently rolls out the blue carpet for strong fields and the best athletes on fast and/or brutally tough courses (looking at you, Magog). The races are organized so that triathletes may choose to compete on both the triathlon and duathlon circuits, making the races that much deeper.

This year’s CQ was won by Alexandre Lavigne and Peggy LaBonte. Both athletes posted perfect scores, taking the win in each of their three scoring events. This is more of a testament to how good these two really are than the rest of the competitors, because there were some big names queuing up behind them. The series wrapped up with one of the most thrilling races of the year in Verdun.

Verdun Podium
(Photo: Alexandre Lavigne)

Lavigne was particularly impressive, scoring what may have been the performance of the year in Magog before wrapping up his year by controlling Verdun wire-to-wire to sweep the provincial championships, while Labonte did her thing as usual. However, Peggy did face a small challenge from a young up-and-comer (Sandrine Veillette), a name to remember as she currently stacks up as a top favourite for the Edmonton race.

The first two draft legal sprint stops on the multisport qualifying series were…disappointing. Both were added very late to the schedule. There was about a week’s notice for the addition of the DL sprint at the Triple Threat Triathlon in June, and we didn’t even notice the addition of a DL duathlon to the TriLobster event in PEI in July until a week later. The fields were both <10 deep…fields which would have been much larger with more notice.

So there you have it; some disappointing, but mostly good news. Hopefully the upward momentum will continue at the National Championships and Esprit. I CAN say that three top-ranked men mentioned in this post WILL be in attendance in Penticton, so that should be a dandy. Time will tell!

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

Jesse and the Giant Peach
See you in Penticton!

Recapping Verdun: Canada, Meet You New Duathlon Superstars, Alexandre Lavigne and Sandrine Veillette

The Quebec sprint duathlon championships in Verdun is probably best described as a coming out party for two young up-and-comers in the Canadian duathlon world. Once again, the Coupe du Quebec circuit has created incredibly compelling storylines and seen incredible athletes emerge, and has been amazing to follow all year.

Verdun Podium
(Photo: Alexandre Lavigne)

Races like this one are the reason we love this sport. We like to delude myself about knowing a thing or two about duathlon in Canada and there is a lot of enjoyment in writing these little previews for races, like our post last Wednesday. That being said, for this men’s race that post was dead wrong. Normally, picking Francois Marceau to take the win based on track record would have been the safe choice, even without many races under his belt because he proved last year at Esprit that he doesn’t need them to win big races. But what we didn’t count on was how much of a talent Alexandre Lavigne is.

He took out the first run, kept his stranglehold on the lead with a stellar ride on a slow course, and then didn’t sit on his laurels on the second run. Just two seconds faster would have given him the unofficial #1 sprint duathlon “ranking” in Canada in 2016. Robin Tetreault once again secured the top bike split to move past Marceau and stay there to place 2nd, and Marceau returned to racing with a very strong result to place 3rd. The top 5 was rounded out by a resurgent Serge LaForge in 4th and the ever-steady Mathieu Paquet in 5th. Alexandre Badeau (winner in Gatineau) didn’t seem to find a groove on the bike after a great run, finishing well back in 8th. With the win, Lavigne also secured a banner season on the Coupe du Quebec circuit, with 4 wins in 5 events (he did not compete in Gatineau).

Verdun Men
(Screenshot from, click to enlarge)

Unlike with the men, we seemed to have a pretty good handle on the women’s race. Or maybe we were just lucky (probably the latter). This one started out with a collegiate runner (Sabrina St-Gelais) setting a strong tempo on the first run (her split was a fast 17:40). Not far back was our pre-race favourite, Sandrine Veillette, coming into T1 in 18:18. From there, she took control of the race with a bike split faster than all but eventual runner-up Josiane Daigneault and kept control of the race until the very end, finishing in a a very strong time of 1:08:31. Daigneault rode that bike split to a 2nd place finish in 1:09:11, and St-Gelais used a stellar second run to move herself back onto the podium.

Sonia Santerre’s excellent 4th place finish secures her 4th in the Coupe du Quebec final classification, behind Peggy Labonte, Veillette and Daigneault (in that order). We’ve said it before, but the CQ circuit is awesome for the sport, creating season-long battles for points that keep the entire season compelling and develop championship racing skills in the process. The rest of the provinces should take notice.

Verdun Women
(Screenshot from, click to enlarge)

The major takeaway from this race is the emergence of Lavigne and Veillette as names to never count out in Canadian duathlon. Both are very young and likely have great potential to be Canada’s next elites in the sport, especially with Worlds being in Canada next year. Names like Marceau, Labonte, Frake, Faraone, Gollish and Tremblay will forever be whispered in hushed tones, and these two are certainly stating their case.

We’re excited to see what they can do in the championship races later in the season. Veillette looks to be the early favourite for the women’s race at Sprint Duathlon Nationals in Edmonton, and hopefully we will see Lavigne in the duathlon this time around at Esprit (where he raced in the triathlon last year), if not before. Either way, the future looks bright for these two budding superstars, and the incredible CQ circuit is just the place for them to hone their skills.

Until next time, keep Du’ing it!

Larry’s World (link to article by TJ Flynn)

Larry Bradley is a great friend to duathlon in Canada, and though an unfortunate injury kept him from that elusive Ontario provincial title for one more year, he is still tirelessly doing whatever he can to promote the sport in Canada. Larry unfortunately will not be toeing the line at Nationals in Penticton or Sprint Nationals in Edmonton, but hopefully he can manage to find his way to Montreal on September 10 to punch his ticket to Penticton 2017. One thing you know with Larry is that if he is on the start line, he is there to win!

Here’s a great piece written by Multisport Canada ambassador TJ Flynn on Larry’s season. Larry is back at it and getting ready to return to racing. The rest of the country is getting faster (prime example occurring this weekend in Verdun, a thrilling race that will be recapped on Wednesday), and I have no doubt Larry will be right there. Cheers, my friend!

READ: Larry’s World, by TJ Flynn

(Photo: MultiSport Canada/
(Photo: MultiSport Canada/

Catching up with Brian Moore (from Triathlon Magazine Canada)

As we head into National Championship season, let’s meet some of the athletes! A few weeks ago, a familiar name popped up on the start list for the Canadian Draft Legal Sprint Duathlon Championships in Edmonton, AB. Brian Moore was the winner of Triathlon Ontario’s “Du the Double” challenge in 2015 and finished 5th at the Canadian Sprint Duathlon Championships at Esprit last year. He showed up at Gravenhurst for his “Du the Double” defense this year a little dinged up and the results suffered, but he proved his form with an impressive win at his hometown Bracebridge sprint duathlon event last weekend to show he is ready to take on Canada in Edmonton.

With his cycling ability, Brian has to be considered a favourite for the gold in Edmonton, and he is even bringing along his brother David, another intriguing prospect in the Canadian duathlon world! This is an old article, but the sentiment remains. Enjoy!

READ: Catching up with Brian Moore

Brian Moore
(Photo: Multisport Canada/Mike Cheliak)