Category Archives: Recaps

Recaps of races from around Ontario

“MoSports Madness” – Overdrive Race/Triathlon Ontario Championship Recap

The moment you’ve been waiting for! It was such an interesting day, that we had to take some time to digest it. But with the results now offical, it’s time to recap! We planned to do a group-by-group analysis similar to what we did for Boucherville, but only finishing times are available from the timing company. No matter, because the day turned out to be a spectacular one (ie. of or like a spectacle).

Mens sprint duathlon start at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville ON

A post shared by Derrick Mckay (@overdriveraceandrelayseries) on

FIRST, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE RACE COURSE
Picture an auto racing track. Then throw everything that you (probably) thought out the window, and instead picture a silky smooth road surface (probably from years of embedded motor oil and tire rubber) that winds through 8 corners down ~60 metres to a tight hairpin, and then climbs all the way back up. Now picture having to ride a road bike around that course 5 (for the sprint) or 10 times (for the standard distance race). Add to your mental picture a tough, undulating run course full of twists and turns, slick pavement and loose wet gravel, that is circumnavigated 3 times in each race.

Had enough? Because just when you thought that was it, the standard distance athletes also had to run the bike course twice before they even got onto their bikes! Add in steady rain and temperatures that dropped into the low single digits and you have yourself one difficult day, especially for athletes nearing the end of a long(er) season. We would be surprised if very many left Bowmanville without an experience they would never forget!

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE RACE – FIRST UP, THE SPRINT!
Garrick Loewen got a chance to show everyone just how much he loves duathlon-ing, as he took the sprint duathlon win in a tactical see-saw battle. Loewen used his cycling prowess to close an early deficit on the difficult parcours, before going straight on past in an effort to enter T2 alone. When that failed to materialize, he put the pedal to the metal and ran his way to a negative split second run on the deceptively difficult run loop to stamp his name on the championship trophy.

Peter Schindler added another line to his stellar season by claiming 3rd (2nd Ontarian). Peter was exceptionally consistent all year, and is hands down our Rookie of the Year for his impressive string of results. Cameron Mitchell held on for a strong 3rd Ontarian after a solid first run to build on his success of the past two years.

1. Garrick Loewen – 58:48
2. Jesse Bauer – 59:14
3. Peter Schindler – 1:05:38 (2nd TriOntario athlete)
4. Cameron Mitchell – 1:05:50 (3rd TriOntario athlete)

Jennifer Schindler capped off a strong year with a provincial championship. Executing on her game plan to “run hard and bike conservatively”, she opened up a lead on the first run that she never relinquished. As far as we can tell this is her first foray into duathlon, with this the best of a trio of strong results (4th OA female at MSC Gravenhurst and 3rd OA female at MSC Bracebridge, both sprints). That intriguing potential has us eagerly looking forward to what is to come as we follow her progress in 2018!

Conservative cycling was the name of the game on a course that claimed three athletes to crashes, and Karri Beck, despite being out of her preferred element, continued a strong season by securing the silver. Soo Owens grabbed a surprise bronze (the best kind of medal) to punch her ticket to the World Championships in Fyn, Denmark a year earlier than planned.

1. Jennifer Schindler – 1:17:02
2. Karri Beck – 1:21:58
3. Soo Owens – 1:22:32

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE DEFINITION OF “TOUGH”
Matt Straatman capped off a fairy tale season (that also featured a 3rd overall finish at the ITU Age Group World Duathlon Championships) by taking his first Triathlon Ontario championships over the Standard Distance. There really never was any doubt, as Straatman took the lead from the start, lapped nearly all of his competitors on the bike and brought it home for a comfortable win in tough conditions. The temperatures dropped precipitously during the race, and athletes were pulled off the course at around the 1:40 mark of the race. Straatman was one of 4 athletes to finish the whole course, while several athlete succumbed to hypothermia and were unfortunately unable to finish the race.

Chris Schindler once again impressed on the bike course, riding his way from 7th after the first run to 2nd at the finish line (side note: what an outstanding year from the Schindler brothers!). Andrew McLeod followed up his M40-44 bronze medal from Worlds with a bronze medal here as well and a special shoutout to Jeff Haig, the 4th and final athlete able to finish the whole course.

1. Matt Straatman – 2:06:24
2. Chris Schindler – 2:08:37
3. Andrew McLeod – 2:10:09

A small group of determined women took to the start line for the standard distance race, which was a fun back-and-forth battle despite the confusion of the shortened bike portion. Miriam Young took the early lead on the first run, but Tara Lapstra steadily reeled her in until she was leading heading out onto the bike course. Young’s bike prowess quickly shone through, however, as she powered around the course and through the corners. She quickly overcame her deficit and began extending her lead before being pulled from the course after 8 laps.

Lapstra was on the run course first despite finishing one less laps of the bike course, due to relative positioning when the decision was made. Lapstra was initially declared the winner after a strong final run, but helped ensure that Young’s exceptional performance was properly recognized for what was truly a unique and exciting day of Canadian duathlon racing. Eventual bronze medalist Sue Lin Holt was steady all day to wrap up the final podium position, and the chance to represent Canada in Denmark that goes with it.

1. Miriam Young – 2:20:06 (8 laps completed)
2. Tara Lapstra – 2:14:12 (7 laps completed)
3. Sue Lin Holt – 2:20:32 (7 laps completed)

So what can we say about this one that we haven’t already said? Not much. Everyone who made the trip to Clarington deserves kudos for doing their part to support this great sport. The weather wasn’t great and the forecast sure didn’t hide the possibility, but you showed up anyways. This sport doesn’t continue to grow without steadfast support from athletes like yourselves!

An additional congratulations to everyone who punched their ticket to Denmark this past season. As a reminder, the window to claim your spot ends this Tuesday, November 14. Follow the link in the email you received to claim your spot, and do it before general registration commences on November 15! Any additional entries for other events can be secured during general registration as well.

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

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An In-Depth Analysis of Age Group Draft Legal Racing in Canada

ITU Draft Legal Racing
(Photo Credit: Bradley Reiter)

UPDATE: Registration for Overdrive has been extended until this Wednesday October 25 at 6pm ET. There will be no race day registration. Don’t miss out on your last chance to qualify for a fantastic experience on Fyn, Denmark!!

Many of us know the story draft legal racing from seeing it on TV or on TriathlonLive: swim (or run) your butt off on the first leg to get yourself into the best group possible, fly through transition so as not to lose said group while you’re switching into bike mode, and then respond to the bike/run portion of the race as necessary while doing your best to stay sheltered in the pack on the bike. Obviously, some adjustments are made for the relative strengths and weaknesses of athletes in a particular group (or in the case of the Brownlees, the sad realization that unless it’s 40C outside then you are kind of hooped), but in general the basic principles remain.

However, starting last year the ITU threw us a curveball: Age Group draft legal racing. The specifics have been discussed at length on this site, but we haven’t had a chance to look at the dynamics of a draft legal race featuring age groupers. One of the defining characteristics of elite draft legal racing is the razor-thin differences in ability between athletes in the race (as well as separate races for men and women). This is made possible by the limited field size of elite ITU racing. But with age group racing the numbers are simply too large for separate races to be feasible, and the wide range of ability levels further compound the structure of the race.

ITU Draft Legal Racing Again
(Photo Credit: Bradley Reiter)

Races try several strategies to combat this. Since the institution of AG draft legal racing, Canadian athletes have had access to 6 races with drafting. Two races stuck with what they had and offered non-draft races as well, which kept registration down (Esprit 2016 and Boucherville 2017), two used difficult bike courses to break up the packs (Penticton 2017 and Overdrive 2017), and two used long laps with technical portions or hills (Aviles 2016 and Edmonton 2016) to keep the groups separated. These races were all characterized by closed roads to increase space on the course, and wave starts. Let’s take a look at each of them:

2016 ITU World Championships (Aviles, Spain)
This was the first chance for Canadian athletes to experience draft legal racing. The sprint course took place on 1.5 laps of a pretty technical course, with a few ups and downs but no big climbs. In true Canadian fashion, many athletes reported wanting to work with other athletes, only to be blocked by the larger team tactics of the more experienced European athletes waiting for the run (especially closer to the front of the race). Karri Beck of Ontario reported the most positive experience in Aviles, working cohesively with a group of 6 other women (including 3 passengers) on her way to a strong result. In the absence out big hills to separate groups, the single lap course kept overlapping to a minimum.

WTS Edmonton AG Duathlon (2016)
The AG duathlon portion of the popular WTS Edmonton triathlon weekend also doubled as the sprint duathlon Canadian Championships. Over 70 athletes traveled in to take on a challenging 10km bike course including a steep test up past Emily Murphy Park, a climb popularized in this year’s edition of WTS Edmonton.

WTS Edmonton
WTS Edmonton

Carrie Allen of B.C. had some excellent thoughts from the second wave of the race, as she used the tough first half of the course to overcome a poor first transition in frigid conditions and ride up to Erin Linton and Lisa Evered. The trio linked up with two athletes from the previous wave completing their second lap to pick up time on athletes further back in their wave, and lost Evered during the back half of the first lap. The gap they gained on the second lap enabled Linton (who transitioned well to the run) and Allen to hold off Evered in the Masters race.

Montreal Esprit Sprint Duathlon (2016)
Just 6 days after Edmonton, Triathlon Canada’s second draft legal qualifier for Worlds in Penticton took place on Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal. The race took place on the existing course, a wide but flat 4.5km circuit.

Montreal Esprit Duathlon
Montreal Esprit Duathlon (http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19913-110-27917646/1/)

The flat nature of the course exposed riders who found themselves isolated, and Karri Beck once again provided some excellent insight on the race. Finding herself solo after dispatching a slightly weaker rider early on, she latched on to a freight train containing Natalie Wright and Sylvie Charest, using her run to then move up a couple spots further than she would have finished had she not latched on to that small but cohesive group on the bike.

2017 ITU World Multisport Championships (Penticton, B.C.)
The next opportunity for draft legal racing didn’t come until August 2017, at the very event that Edmonton and Esprit were qualifiers for. The course was more along the lines of Edmonton than Esprit, with a short but very steep climb followed by a rolling 10km lap and a screaming descent back to transition. Our editor got a first-hand look at elite draft legal racing (link above), and the age-groupers faced a stiff test as well.

The front groups were able to work well together, though Jeremy Hopwood‘s account described a course that was either too demanding or too flat to really break up similar athletes. The front groups maintained some pretty strong packs, while further back the groups got smaller. The gradients of Vancouver Avenue (not to mention the descent just 8km later) was just too demanding and divisive to allow MOPers to form cohesive groups so soon after a hard 5.2km run.

Duathlon de Boucherville
Chase Pack at Duathlon de Boucherville

Duathlon de Boucherville (2017)
Which brings us to our most recent event, Duathlon de Boucherville. Our last article was a detailed account of this race, which was the culmination of all of the learning athletes have been able to avail themselves of during the four races above. It was a thrilling watch, and was the race that most closely resembled the races we mentioned in the first paragraph. This all occurred despite a tight course with little challenge to break up the pack. It was a great sign for draft legal racing in Canada, as were the smiles all over the course!

So What’s Next? Overdrive Duathlon in Ontario
Ontario hosts its first ever draft legal duathlon this coming weekend, on the Canadian Tire Motorsports Track. The course features a difficult elevation profile and technical elements as well as a closed course on an excellent surface, combining the best features of all of the courses above. Racers sort themselves out over the first two corners, before diving down a fast descent to the bottom of the track into a tight hairpin. The “slower half” of the course rises at an average 2% grade, but contains sections with much steeper pitches. The tree-lined course also offers terrific shelter from the elements. The community seems to be rallying behind the event, causing registration numbers to double within 5 days last week.

Overdrive Duathlon
Looks fun…doesn’t it?!

The race promises to be fast and furious fun, as a strong age group contingent will likely be joined by several elites in the draft legal event. The standard distance will also see a return to racing by AG World Champion Matt Straatman as he looks for a provincial title over the longer distance. It all adds up to an exciting day of racing, one that you won’t want to miss. The registration deadline was extended to Monday, October 23rd Wednesday, October 25 at 6:00pm ET, so get online and get your registration in before it’s too late!

We’ll have more on the race after it’s run, in the same fashion as our Boucherville report. We’ll see you at the races, so until next time…keep Du’ing it!

Catching Up With 2017

So, some stuff happened in 2017…let’s recap! All results can be found on our 2017 Results tab above.

ITU WORLD DUATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS
The biggest news that swept across many duathletes’ minds in 2017 was the looming spectre of the 2017 ITU World Duathlon Champinoships, hosted right here at home in spectacular Penticton, British Columbia. Sprint distance athletes took on a difficult and technical bike course, consisting of two trips up the steep slope of Vancouver Avenue, while standard distance athletes contested a picturesque but wind-battered highway course along the shores of Lake Okanagan. Canadian athletes took home 27 medals in the duathlon competition, including 12 golds! Desirae Ridenour (2nd Overall, Junior Women), Melissa Paauwe (1st F30-34 in 2:04:47, 2nd Overall), Matt Straatman (1st M20-24 in 1:52:54, 3rd Overall) and Jeremy Hopwood (1st M35-39 in 1:53:48, 4th Overall) led the charge of for Canada (as follows):

Laurence St-Cyr (3rd F20-24 Sprint)

Jennifer Souter (3rd F30-34 Sprint)

Dennis Colburn (3rd M50-54 Sprint & 2nd M50-54)

Diane Eller (2nd F70-74 Sprint)

Maureen Teixeira (1st F75-79 Sprint)

Brian Parkinson (1st M75-79 Sprint)

Bob Wild (1st M85-89 Sprint & 1st M85-89)

Samuel Seshadri (3rd M18-19)

Jasmin Aggarwal (1st F20-24)

Morgan Cabot (3rd F25-29)

Lynda Gingras (3rd F35-39)

Andrew McLeod (3rd M40-44)

Kim McMullen (2nd F45-49)

Martin Vaillancourt (3rd M45-49)

Paul Huyer (1st M55-59)

Sean O’Mahony (2nd M55-59)

David Field (1st M60-64)

Allan Mccallister (1st M65-69)

Murray Macpherson (2nd M65-69)

Sharryn Oleskiw (1st F70-74)

Bruce Butcher (3rd M80-84)

CANADIAN DUATHLON CHAMPIONSHIP DRAMA IN MAGOG

This year’s Canadian Championships for the standard distance were hosted in Magog, QC on July 15. With no sprint distance championships on the schedule this year, this one took on special significance as it was the only chance to secure a Canadian championship. The men’s race came down to the wire, as Reinier Paauwe‘s storming bike on the difficult course (500m+ of climbing over 40k) came up 7.5 seconds short of overhauling Mathieu Paquet‘s strong running, as Paquet secured that elusive title.

That 7.5 seconds was the only thing stopping a power couple championship sweep, as Melissa Paauwe‘s stunning course record allowed her to run away with the women’s race. It would be a sign of things to come as Worlds approached (see above). Josiane Daigneault once again made her way into an article, crossing the line as the fastest 40+.

WIDE OPEN COUPE DU QUEBEC IMPRESSES ONCE AGAIN

We shouldn’t speak to soon, with one leg of the series still to come, but we’ve enjoyed following the Quebec Cup so far this year. Mathieu Paquet has been enjoying a stellar season, wrapping up maximum points at 3 other series races on top of his win in Magog. Adding a 2nd place at the season opener at Valcartier, and a 4th place at the uber-competitive Drummondville race has him sitting comfortably on top of the rankings. However, Serge LaForge is ready to pounce during the 1200 point season finale in Boucherville.

The women’s classification has been equally fun, with consistent performance from the top 2 currently outpacing defending champion Sandrine Veillette‘s top performances in Valcartier, Nicolet and Drummondville. Alana Bonner leads the classification narrowly over Sonia Larche, with the outcome likely to be decided by the extra points on offer in Boucherville.

TRIATHLON ONTARIO DU THE DOUBLE CHALLENGE

Triathlon Ontario’s Du the Double Challenge celebrated another year, this year held separately from the Provincial Championships (which will be held at the Overdrive Race in October). We love this move because it created not one but TWO weekends aimed at duathletes. We also love the selection of Bracebridge as the host, because although it created a conflict with Worlds, the alternative would have created a conflict with Nationals…an open race that does not require qualification. It also helped avoid conflicting qualifying events, which is a situation where nobody wins.

The proximity to Worlds did mean that attendance suffered, but the top end brought their A game anyways. Sean Delanghe took the double outright despite strong challenges from young gun Sam Bell, newcomer to duathlon Peter Schindler, and former Double winner Brian Moore, while Gillian Willard kept it in the H&P family by claiming the women’s prize. Keep it up, Triathlon Ontario! We hope to see Sean and Gillian out at Overdrive in October, to try to back up their Doubles with Provincial Championships.

PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP

The four provinces to host provincial championships this year all do so in unique and creative ways to drive participation:

  • British Columbia held their championship at the Bares Bones Duathlon this May. BC holds their championship over a single distance, an intermediate 5k-32k-5k distance that splits the sprint and standard. It’s also held in May (“shoulder” season), which leads to some pretty stellar fields of two- and three-sport stars. This year, local stud Dallas Cain took the race overall, holding off women’s champ Jen Annett.
  • Likewise, Alberta hosted their championship at a duathlon-only event, held over 2 distances at the Comfortec Red Deer Duathlon. Unlike the other three, this race is held in July and competes directly with mid-summer triathlons. Rio silver medalist Stefan Daniel made a surprise appearance to take the standard distance title, joining Kristen Spady on top of the podium. Ted Girouard and Alexandra McGowan took the honours in the sprint distance race.
  • Ontario took another step in really creating a great space for duathletes, by splitting their Du the Double Challenge (recap above) from the provincial championships. Triathlon Ontario has made a very real effort to create a great space for duathletes, and the move of the provincials to shoulder season is another great idea to draw more athletes. The choice of race (held on the Canadian Tire MoSports Track) is another great step!
  • Quebec also held separate provincial championships, and aligned them with their already separate Quebec Cup schedule. Triathlon Quebec has created a great atmosphere for triathletes to compete in both series and compete alongside duathletes. This year, provincials were held in conjunction with Nationals (standard distance, recap above) and the draft legal Worlds qualifier (also held in shoulder season, see below).

ESPRIT DUATHLON (MONTREAL)

The final qualifying event for the standard distance was also this past weekend at everyone’s favourite race, the Esprit Duathlon. Conditions looked great, and Dany Malley was able to turn that into Canada’s 10th sub-2:00 performance (after 6 in Penticton and 3 at the Red Deer Duathlon), recording a 1:58:57 clocking. Lynda Gingras was not to be outdone, slashing her way to a 2:06:23 and following up her fantastic Worlds performance with a qualifier for Fyn. Once again, the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve delivers on the hype!

SO WHAT’S NEXT?

With Esprit and the Ontario seasons (MSC and Subaru) wrapped up, the focus shifts to shoulder season and some draft legal action. An intriguing small-town duathlon takes place this weekend in Bragg Creek, AB, an event that features two separate trail runs (7k and 3k) sandwiched around a 20k road bike. The Blitz Duathlon sells out every year, and offers a unique challenge to athletes coming off a tough triathlon season.

After that, we flip over to October – draft legal qualifier month. Previews are to come for both races, but the Boucherville Duathlon starts the month off with a flat and fast course just outside of Montreal before the month wraps up with the Overdrive Duathlon. Boucherville is also the last leg of the Quebec Cup and the provincial championships, so should draw a strong field. Overdrive adds a duathlon day to its unique “multisport” day, with both a standard distance and sprint distance qualifier race on a completely closed course. Hosting the race on a motorsports track adds some ups and downs to the usual flat draft legal offerings, which creates an interesting wrinkle to the race dynamic.

Last season offered us an interesting look at what draft legal has to offer. With many more being exposed to draft legal racing through spectating and general registration at Worlds, we’re looking for another step forward for this exciting format. Keep an eye on this page for more about these two exciting offerings!

Editorial – 2017 ITU World Duathlon Championships (Elite Standard Distance), Penticton BC

First off, I want to thank all our readers for your patience while I took a very selfish year to myself with minimal writing. Secondly, thank you to you all in advance for reading this super long post. I didn’t want to spare a detail, so I included lots of pictures to break everything up!

I’ve just made my way back from Worlds in Penticton, where I raced the Elite Standard Duathlon last Saturday (spoiler – results here)…the reason for my selfish year. It was a roller coaster, and the gathering of duathletes from around Canada gave me a chance to talk to a lot of people that I knew previously to varying degrees. The number one piece of feedback I received from duathletes during my time in Penticton? Was it people asking for advice, training tips or wanting to know more about my journey to my first elite international ITU start? Nope. It was this:

“I love your blog, why don’t you write more/did you stop writing?”

…or something to that effect. Getting to the start line on Saturday entailed a lot of bumps, obstacles and hurdles, and it required 100% of my focus to be on my own personal journey, rather than that of my sport as a whole. There was a lot of introspection and re-vamping of my own brand, and a long to-do list to check off in order to get to the start line. That said, now that I’m safely on the other side of this experience I realize I dropped the ball a bit too much, and gotten a little bit too far away from my brand.

Toe the Line
365+ days to get here (Photo: Liyang Wang)

So let’s fix that. I want this post to take the form of answers to the questions I received, because I think that’s how my experience can generate the most value for my fellow duathletes out there looking to make this leap. So let’s do it!

On why I took this particular journey…
After the question I got above, the next question I got was why I chose to get my elite card for Penticton, rather than racing the Age Group races in pursuit of high placings. To be honest, my original goal set last year was to do just that: race the AG races at my best, see what happened and make a decision on racing elite in Denmark after that. But then I got this idea in my head near the end of last season while talking to Alexandre Lavigne leading up to and after the Canadian Duathlon Championships in Penticton (standard distance) and Edmonton (sprint distance). I finished one spot behind him in both races (4th and 2nd respectively), and we both started dreaming about representing Canadian duathlon on the world’s biggest stage.

Jesse and Alex Drafting
Duelling in the cold at the 2016 Canadian Sprint Duathlon Championships (Photo: Tammi Bauer)

It kind of took hold of me, and the curious side of me wanted desperately to know how I would fare against the likes of Benoit Nicolas, Emilio Martin, Yohan Le Berre, Benjamin Choquert and Mark Buckingham. Doing it in Penticton would allow me to make my elite debut as one of the youngest competitors and work the kinks out in a familiar location. I could do it in front of a home crowd, and with all of the advantages that come with racing at home instead of in Europe where several additional layers of complexity would have been layered on top. As a stepping stone, I don’t believe it was better or worse than racing AG in Penticton…just a different way of easing myself into elite competition.

Challenge Penticton Hill
This hill was about to take on a whole new meaning…(Photo: Moritz Haager)

On preparing for the race…
Having already lined up for races in Penticton, Edmonton and Montreal Esprit (where I took the sprint distance win in a cagey affair), I added Powerman Michigan to the back end of my season to pad my resume. It was enough to secure my International Competition Card from Triathlon Canada, and from there I embarked upon 2017. You can get all the dirty details on my 2017 races from my #InstaRaceReport’s on Instagram, but I think it’s valuable to go over why I organized my season the way I did.

Elites
Toeing my first elite start line. And I thought I was star-struck THEN (Photo: Brad Reiter).

Duathlon is very much so a niche sport in North America, which makes it very hard to (a) qualify and (b) prepare for an elite draft legal World Championship. I focused my spring on running fast for 10km to pad my selection resume, running a full indoor season of 3000m races before hitting the roads for a 16:10 5k in March and a 33:10 10k in April. May long weekend kicked off a bike focus for me, aimed at preparing the system to ride very, very hard for the first lap of the bike leg and then hanging on. I topped out my 5 minute power at 306W (5.5 W/kg) and my 30 minute power at 265W (4.8 W/kg), and did a bunch of bike racing (mainly criteriums and road races) to work on positioning and tactics in the group.

Jasper
Laying down the watts up to Marmot Basin in Jasper (Photo: Luis Franco)

I had two key non-drafting duathlon tune-up races, a course record at the Footstock Duathlon in June and a runner-up finish to Stefan Daniel at the Provincial Duathlon Championships in Red Deer. Non-draft racing turned out to be a more ideal form of preparation than I thought, as it is a good opportunity to put everything together. I supplemented these with draft legal race simulations with the Edmonton Triathlon Academy, which allowed me to fine-tune skills like transitions, positioning, bridging to and working with a group, and running off the bike. I don’t generally believe in a “sum of all parts” approach to multisport training (piecing together training from the different legs that combine to make a multisport event), but without races to use as training sessions, I was able to make it work. Despite the sometimes bumpy DIY approach to elite duathlon racing, I felt confident I was toeing the line prepared.

Crit Racing
Surviving my first criterium (Photo: Tammi Bauer)

With regards to the atmosphere and support…
This was by far the best part of race weekend, so it deserves a bump over the performance aspect. Canada, you are AMAZING! I’m used to being 100% self-sufficient (ie. I monopolize my parents’ recreation time), but this time around I kept finding that everything was taken care of for me, and that my parents could actually have a vacation to themselves! The LOC did a stellar job blowing everyone’s expectations of “world class event” out of the water. My plan to lay low in a quiet corner at the Team Canada meet and greet was shot to hell, because I had lineups of you wanting to say hi the whole time. Right up until the introductions, I was in awe of the calibre of event I was racing.

Transition
Stoked to represent that flag! (Photo: Cathy Williams)

Then when it came time to step up to the start line, you cranked the level up to 11. I could feel the excitement build as they announced bib 1 through 10. I planned to play the cool dude and jog up to the line like I’d been there before…but then hundreds of Canadians erupted with cheers when they announced my name. I teared up immediately, and couldn’t help but acknowledge you as your support drowned out the introductions of #12 and #13. (In fact, I teared up writing this.) The support continued throughout the race, as I had an army of friends, acquaintances and people I’ve never actually met before cheering for me every step of the way. It was the most inspiring thing I have ever experienced. Thank you again Canada…it was an absolute pleasure representing you!

Introduction
Couldn’t help it…(Photo: Darren Cooney)

With regards to performance…
With the welcome I got, you would think I had the race of my life right? Actually, the performance itself wasn’t my best. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t anticipate the adrenaline rush I would receive from the introductions, and that rush showed in my first lap. I ran it in 7:29 (2:59/km), spiked my heart rate to near-maximum, and put myself in a box that I would regret for the next two hours. After a 33:45 10k, I actually succeeded in reaching my next “end point” where I wanted to be, pushing hard on the first climb of Vancouver Avenue and putting myself into a group with Yennick Wolthuizen (NED), Masaaki Kurihara (JPN) and John Rasmussen (CAN)…exactly where I wanted to be.

Start Line
Star-studded start line! (Photo: Brad Reiter)

Unfortunately, John was still carrying a virus from racing in Yucatan the week before, and Kurihara went off the back with him. I didn’t dig deep enough into my suitcase of courage to get to my third endpoint (with a group after lap 1), and I lost Wolthuizen’s wheel at the top of the climb. From there it was a long lonely 40.5km ride on a grueling 5 lap course. My legs went the 5th time up the hill, and it made for a 5km slog of a second run. Stefan Daniel was just up the road, but I just didn’t have it in my legs anymore and finished 23rd.

Grinding
Long lonely day full of steep gradients and crosswinds (Photo: Brad Reiter)

With regards to what I did well…
So what went right? Quite a bit actually!

  • I got to the start line healthy and in the best shape of my life, which was the number one goal of my 2017 season.
  • I learned valuable lessons and gained valuable experience as to what it takes to be competitive on a World Championship level, which was goal number two.
  • I felt I navigated the pre-race schedule as well as I could. Elite racing involves a lot more than AG racing, with mandatory race briefings, bike compliance and motor checks, wheel pits, blue carpets and constant media presence. There were a few bumps in the road, but I came through it reasonably unscathed.
  • I was successful in bridging to the group I wanted to be in in the first 5 minutes of the bike, after initially missing it on the run.
  • I came across the line totally spent, but bounced back reasonably well. Well enough to go 4th fastest in Strava history up Apex Mountain 4 days later!
First one down, it’s all fast downhills from here…right? (Photo: Brad Reiter)

With regards to lessons learned…
…there was a ton. This race is kind of like your first FTP test on the bike. It’s excruciatingly painful while you do it, and you slide off the bike confident you couldn’t have gone any harder. Then you look at the data and reflect on the effort, re-test a week later, and find another 20 watts. I’m content with my performance, but I came here with lots to learn as well. The lessons I learned are numerous, and I’ll need to adapt quickly if I plan to be right in the thick of things next time around. Good thing I don’t generally make the same mistake more than once!

  • Those pre-race meetings? Yeah. There’s a reason elite race briefings are mandatory if you want to race. Oh, and they clean up the wheel station pretty quickly if you’re the last race of the day. Don’t worry, I got my wheels back eventually!
  • Knowing your competition is an incredibly valuable resource. I went into the race hyper-focused on a plan centered around the other Canadians. When that went off the rails, I didn’t have enough information to adapt and find other wheels to ride with.
  • Adrenaline has a HUGE effect on your performance. It doesn’t take much to build up, but it can make an effort that’s probably too hard seem effortless. Becoming intimately familiar with your limits is an asset, so you can mitigate the effect of adrenaline.
  • The first lap of the bike should be UNcomfortable, but digging deep is how you prove yourself to a pack. I missed my pack and it made for a lonely ride. 10 more minutes of intense suffering might have meant riding in a small group and a faster bike split. The number of times I’ve wasted 10 minutes…
  • It’s worth it. Oh man, is it ever. Never in my life have I ever been so proud to be a Canadian. Y’all are the best!
Finish Line
Proud to be a Canadian (Photo: Moritz Haager)

What’s next for me?
It’s been 10 days since the race, which means it’s been 10 days since qualifying started for the 2018 ITU Multisport Championship Festival in Odense, Denmark. I jumped back in the saddle for a hard climb up Apex Mountain and then another humbling at the Alberta ITT Championships (where just under 44kph was good enough for the 10th best time of the day). I’m planning to mix it up with the local racers at the Edmonton Velothon on September 4 before taking an invite to be on the start line at the Vancouver Eastside 10k on September 16, to chase the 10k PB I wanted in Penticton. From there I’ll toe the line at the Triathlon Canada draft legal duathlon qualifiers, on October 1 in Boucherville QC and October 28 at Overdrive in Bowmanville ON.

Roundabout
New Year, New Start…just like this traffic circle! (Photo: Moritz Haager)

2018 is still up in the air, but I am tentatively planning to do another indoor track season and a short road season before heading to Greenville, S.C. for USAT Duathlon Nationals. USAT’s is about as close as a duathlete can get to elite draft legal experience in North America, so I would like to take advantage of that. The final goal? Racing Elite once again at Worlds in Denmark. I’d love to crack that top 20. Was it hard getting myself to the start line at Worlds? It definitely was. Was it worth all of the work and sacrifice I put in? Absolutely. Would I do it again? I’m planning on it! It’s easy to forget that the podium was made up of men born in 1985, 1982 and 1977…I still have a lot of career left ahead of me. 44 weeks to go!

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

Esprit Worlds Qualifier in Montreal Highlights Final Weekend of Canadian Duathlon Calendar

Everyone’s favourite Formula One drag rac—I mean duathlon went down this past weekend in Montreal. For the weekend, multisport athletes took over the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Île Notre Dame in the St. Lawrence River. This year’s festivities essentially included a full afternoon of duathlon races, as following Saturday morning’s Demi-Esprit were the standard distance duathlon, a non-drafting sprint distance race and a draft legal sprint distance race. We’ll focus on the qualifier races (the standard and the draft legal sprint) here. Special thanks to Zoom Photo and Laurence St-Cyr for the photos!

RACE OVERVIEW
This race is a fun one to compete in, simply because of the venue. The highlight is the bike course, where you complete 4 (sprint) or 9 (standard) laps of the fastest pavement in North America. Sandwiched on either side is a deceptively tough run, starting off with a long 2km stretch of gravel and finishing with the longest straightaway you will even run in a duathlon, over a mile of running towards a red speck in the distance that is the finishing arch. Complicating matters this year was a strong wind gusting from the west, making the outward portions of the run and the bike a tad more difficult that originally thought.

Cameron Mitchell Esprit
Cameron Mitchell killing the bike
(View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19913-110-27916417/1/)

STANDARD DISTANCE – MEN
This one was interesting. Francois Marceau (last year’s sprint distance winner) was in the field, and he paced the first run 10km run. However, he had rookie Cameron Mitchell of Ontario for company as the two of them led the way into T1. However, there was a strong group coming from behind led by Mathieu Paquet and also including Scott Johnson and Serge LaForge.

Marceau would take the lead on the bike with the 3rd-fastest bike split as the race shuffled, and the order entering T2 would be Marceau, Johnson (who moved up big on the bike), Paquet, Mitchell, LaForge. It has been a long road back for Marceau, however, and he faded to 8th on the second 5km run as Johnson took charge of the race and held off a late charge from Mitchell to take a 10 second win. LaForge ran through Paquet to grab the final podium spot.

  1. Scott Johnson – 2:00:43
  2. Cameron Mitchell – 2:00:53
  3. Serge LaForge – 2:01:50

Scott Johnson Esprit
Esprit Champion Scott Johnson
(View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19913-110-27924432/1/)

STANDARD DISTANCE – WOMEN
This race was a bit more of a runaway than the men’s race. Defending champion and top 10 finisher (overall) at Worlds, Lynda Gingras, took the race by the scruff of the neck on the first run (40:40) and didn’t really look back. Her run splits were tops in the race and her bike split was second only to eventual runner-up Angela Goran, who took back time on the bike but not nearly enough to overhaul Gingras. Her 2:10:14 is unofficially the best women’s performance in Canada this year, in a year of many excellent ones.

Lynda Gingras Esprit Bike
Lynda Gingras exntending her lead on the bike
(View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19913-110-27916337/1/)

Behind Lynda the race stayed pretty much status quo most of the way, as Goran and eventual 3rd place finisher Josiane Daigneault were the first 3 into T1, T2 and across the line. Edith Bessette made a late bid for the podium, but came up just a touch short and ended up 35 seconds back in 4th.

  1. Lynda Gingras – 2:10:14
  2. Angela Goran – 2:15:11
  3. Josiane Daigneault – 2:23:30

Lynda Gingras Esprit
Nice win Lynda!
(View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19913-110-27925201/1/)

DRAFT LEGAL SPRINT DISTANCE – MEN
Just 6 days after 70 athletes raced a draft legal showdown at the National Championships, Canada’s eastern athletes descended on Esprit to claim their qualifying spots for the draft legal sprint Worlds in Penticton next year. Runner-up in Edmonton Jesse Bauer defaulted into the lead into a steady headwind on the first run, and slowly opened up a small gap (22 seconds) into T1 on a group of pursuers led by Alexandre Badeau and Mathieu Despatie. The group quickly became those two who set off after the sole leader.

Draft Legal Race Start
And they are off for some draft legal action!
Photo: Laurence St-Cyr

Badeau and Despatie slowly closed that gap over the 4 laps and slightly more than 18km of bike course, working well together to make the catch at the very end of the very last headwind section of the bike before initiating a series of attacks designed to dislodge the apparently stronger runner from the group. Bauer held tough, moved past Despatie before the mount line and moved into the lead on the way out of T2. From there it was more of a formality at the end of a long Coupe du Quebec season for the other two, as the gap just grew until the end the race. Bauer wound up with the win by 1:38 over Despatie, with Badeau rounding out the podium.

Draft Legal Dynamics
Draft legal dynamics feat. Alexandre Badeau (right) and Mathieu Despatie (left)
View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19913-110-27917646/1/

  1. Jesse Bauer – 1:07:23
  2. Mathieu Despatie – 1:09:01
  3. Alexandre Badeau – 1:10:08

Jesse Bauer Esprit
Overall draft legal winner, Jesse Bauer
View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19913-110-27929350/1/

DRAFT LEGAL SPRINT DISTANCE – WOMEN
On the women’s side, the race played out similarly to the race in Edmonton. There were some smaller draft packs further back in the field, mostly between athletes who had some draft legal racing (we’ll explore this in a separate post next week), but hopefully the largely solo runs at the front of the race will phase out as registration numbers increase. This was a race between a super-runner (Sabrina St-Gelais) and an uber-biker (Rachel Quirion-Arguin).

St-Gelais took off with the men on the first run, opening up a gap of over a minute on the rest of the women. Quirion-Arguin led the charge and then sling-shotted her way to the front of the race (and more), leaving T2 with a 1:28 lead on St-Gelais. This set up a thrilling footrace, with St-Gelais’ collegiate running chops eventually paying off with a 6 second win at the finish line. While it was an exciting race, one wonders how it would have been different with a few more athletes of similar abilities to athletes who ended up going solo.

  1. Sabrina St-Gelais – 1:16:01
  2. Rachel Quirion-Arguin – 1:16:07
  3. Nathalie Larin – 1:21:20

Sabrina St-Gelais Esprit
Women’s champ Sabrina St-Gelais
View Photo: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/viewphoto/19913-110-27929564/1/

SUMMARY
There was some exciting racing on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve this weekend, though one wonders how different it would have been if there had not been a trio of popular races in Ontario on the same weekend. Aside from the races for the overall titles there were some intriguing battles within the age groups at Esprit, as well as an interesting F40-44 age group in Edmonton. We will be devoting a separate post to these age group battles later this week. With Esprit in the rear-view mirror and all the automatic qualifying opportunities going with it, our attention now turns to the roll-down selections for Penticton 2017. Keep an eye on this page for more!

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

Draft Legal Duathlon Racing Emerges in Canada – Canadian Draft Legal Sprint Duathlon Championships Recap

This past weekend (and only 10 days after the standard distance championships in Penticton) was the Canadian Sprint Duathlon Championships as part of the Edmonton World Triathlon weekend on Labour Day weekend. Admittedly, this isn’t the first draft legal duathlon on Canadian soil since the ITU announced the move to draft legal racing at the Worlds for the sprint distance. But since the combined number of competitors at TriLobster in PEI and Triple Threat in Manitoba was less than 10, this really represents the first real opportunity for the 73 Canadian duathletes registered to experience age group draft legal racing.

OVERVIEW
We previewed the course for this a few days before the race. It is not an easy course, with each 10km lap taking in one shot but steep hill and another longer but more gradual hill. The run was flat, though the turnaround placements led to the first running measuring closer to 4.2km, and the second run closer to 2.6km. Another important factor in the race is the weather, as Edmonton in September is not often overly warm. This proved true on race day, as athletes bundled up for a 7:15am race start with an air temperature of 6 degrees and threatening rain. In fact, the air was cold enough that the sprint triathletes had their swim cancelled and did a duathlon themselves!

Bike Turnaround
Hawrelak Park

Another intriguing factor was the heat split. Previous age group draft legal races were divided according to male/female waves, because of the ITU rule that men cannot draft off of women and vice versa. However, this race was essentially divided by age group, with both men and women under 39 going off in the first heat and the rest going off 3 minutes later in the second one. It is hard to tell the real effect of this, since the podiums of both races all ended up coming from the first heat with a decent gap to the top finisher of the second heat. However, this most definitely affected the number of people who could work together, because the reality was that the majority of the field ended up riding solo or in pairs.

RESULTS LINK

WOMEN’S RACE
The biggest effect of this was seen in the women’s race. Jennifer Souter of Saskatchewan led the way on the 4.2km run, running a strong 15:15 (3:37/km). Quebec’s sensation Sandrine Veillette was second into T1 in 16:20 with Suzie Poirier rounding out the top 3. A few more ladies were close after T1, and another several were in the ballpark from heat 2, but this would be your podium. The gaps were too big between the 3, however, and they all ended up riding pretty much solo while passing groups of men up the road. Veillette took some time backnon the bike, but not quite enough to move into the lead and definitely not enough to outpace Souter’s 9:40 second run. Her strong overall performance across all three legs of the race was more than enough to crown Jennifer Souter as the Canadian Sprint Duathlon Champion, with Sandrine Veillette of Quebec and Suzie Poirier of Alberta rounding out the podium.

  1. Jennifer Souter – 1:05:03
  2. Sandrine Veillette – 1:06:20
  3. Suzie Poirier – 1:10:25

The Start
Race Start

MEN’S RACE
A slightly different dynamic played out in the men’s race, which actually made for some quite intriguing racing. Unlike the women’s race, the men’s race did feature a medallist from the standard distance championships in Penticton, bronze medallist Alexandre Lavigne of Quebec City. As well, the race would feature the 4th place finisher from that race, Jesse Bauer racing on the very roads he trains on every day. Ivan Kagoro set the early pace but was quickly overhauled by Lavigne, with Bauer right on his shoulder and Ontario teenage sensation Brian Moore right on his. The trio stayed together for a stretch before Lavigne began to make his move off the front. He would lead the way into T1 with a 13:16 4.2km run, followed by Bauer in 13:33 and Moore in 14:00.

Mother Nature would have her say at this point, as Lavigne’s hard earned lead evaporated in T1 as he struggled to put on his helmet with cold hands. Bauer made the junction as they left the park, and it was a two man breakaway on the bike course. Moore left himself a little bit too much work to do and ended up riding solo on this lumpy course. Lavigne and Bauer worked well together and set themselves up for a battle on the second run. Bauer actually kicked off the festivities early, taking a dig at Lavigne on the last stretch of road before the dismount line and grabbing a handful of seconds. Lavigne’s superior running ability made short work of that, however, as he put 20 seconds between himself and Bauer on his way to his first Canadian championship. Moore would hold on for 3rd.

  1. Alexandre Lavigne – 55:40
  2. Jesse Bauer – 55:56
  3. Brian Moore – 58:40

Jesse and Alex Drafting
Duelling in the cold

OBSERVATIONS
The men’s race in Edmonton created some intrigue, and announced the official arrival of a new star in Canadian duathlon. Alex Lavigne completed his season that consisted of a clean sweep of the Coupe du Quebec series (missing only Gatineau), a bronze medal in the standard distance championships followed by his first Canadian title in Edmonton. This is simply a stellar season and establishes Alex (alongside Evan Bayer) as THE athlete to beat when he lines up.

We would be remiss not to mention another young athlete here. Jennifer Souter is an incredible athlete and pretty much became the overwhelming favourite as soon as she signed up for this race. But what we’re alluding to here is the continuing emergence of Sandrine Veillette. Another absolutely stellar performance to take the overall silver medal here. If it wasn’t for two of the top age group athletes in the country, she would be the undefeated National Champion.

Alex Lavigne
A Deserving Champion

One last word: for a first shot at a draft legal national championship, this was probably a success. A race in Edmonton on Labour Day weekend was never going to be an easy sell, especially in a sport that is slightly more popular in Eastern Canada than it is in the West. 70+ athletes is a pretty decent turnout for a duathlon based on past history, and with a slightly different heat split the racing could have been even more exciting. We saw two very diverse podiums, with medallists from 4 provinces. The men’s race featured an exciting duel, while the women’s race saw an emerging star try to take on one of the best in the sport, signalling great things for the future.

The drafting generally tended to take place between (a) competitors at the pointy end and (b) those who raced the draft legal event in Spain. As athletes become more familiar with the format, we’re confident that this will improve. Quick conversations with athletes after the race revealed just how apparent it became during the race that finding someone to draft off of is a HUGE advantage. The next big test will be next weekend’s Esprit draft legal duathlon, as Esprit is generally the best-attended duathlon of the year and this race is the qualifier for Worlds in Penticton next year. Jesse heads to Montreal for the race on Thursday, so keep an eye out for a report!

Until next time…keep Du’ing it!

Camaraderie
This kind of camaraderie is why we love this sport

“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.

MEN’S RACE

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

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.

SUMMARY

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)