#MSCLakeside: Like Wildfire

The Season in a Nutshell

It seems like the start of this year’s Sketcher’s Performance MultiSport Canada Triathlon Series was only yesterday. I still remember, quite vividly, the level of anticipation that I had in the beginning of the season prior to racing my first duathlon this year in Welland. Faced with a jam-packed summer of duathlons as a first year MultiSport Canada Ambassador, I felt a different kind of motivation and drive that I’ve never felt before. I felt stronger, prouder, and certainly more ambitious as I prepared to compete in multiple back-to-back races, tackling new distances, and gearing up my mental game to prime my body for the onslaught that it’s about to go through.

More than anything however, I felt a certain level of urgency for this sport. As much as this season was all about reaching new heights in my athletic journey, it’s also more importantly about the impact that I can make as an ambassador for other people. I hosted a running clinic with the Running Room as part of my ambassadorship, got involved as a volunteer in several races (my experience in Gravenhurst being my most memorable one), connected with Try-A-Tri athletes about their first MultiSport experience, and “pulling in” a committed group of friends into the sport that keeps me going. Everyone, meet the “Empire”.


Back to front: Jordan, Kari, Jazz, Trevor, Kevin, Dempsey

You may recognize them as the loudest and the most entertaining group of spectators at MultiSport races. Since the beginning of my duathlon career, they’ve cheered me on at every one of my race including the ITU MultiSport World Championships in Penticton, BC. In fact, they have become EVERYONE’s biggest supporters. They’ve cheered on every athlete wherever they go, providing them with much needed energy, positivity, and encouragement. I am extremely grateful and proud to have a loving group of friends who has provided me with unwavering support throughout my athletic journey.

The First of Many Firsts


This past weekend was MultiSport Canada’s last race of the series. As expected, it proved to be a very memorable one. Lakeside as a venue was scenic, intimate, and charming. It also happened to be the site of Kevin’s and Jazz’s very first duathlon! To make it even more special, two more of our friends, Ari and Kirill, participated in their first duathlons as well! Jordan, Trevor and myself, as current MultiSport athletes, really made sure that our four friends are well-supported (from nutrition to transition tips) for their first MultiSport race.

Indeed, the tables have turned. This time, we were their loudest cheerleaders.

We were all there on Saturday for the sprint duathlon to see the four of them race. Naturally, there were nervous moments but surely, there were plenty of excitement from our first timers. Prior to the start of their race, we walked them through setting up their transition areas and helped them through the registration steps. May I mention that there were many laughs as they were being body-marked for the first time!

Moments before the race start, we reviewed the race rules and I took them through a gentle warm up. Before we knew it, they were off!

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We cheered so much that we forgot to take more pictures of their race! It’s a great thing that MultiSport Canada provides race pictures for free to commemorate every athlete’s race experience. Our first timers were all smiles at the end of their races and as someone who has had a positive influence on their experience, I felt a great sense of pride in their accomplishment.

Ari shared his thoughts on his first duathlon experience with MultiSport Canada:


“I am a long time road cyclist and quite comfortable with riding long distances. However, there is something about doing a run before and after a bike ride that creates a physical challenge far greater than doing any one activity on its own. On top of the physical challenge, there are the transitions from running to cycling, and then from cycling to running. Based on these challenges, I was a little nervous going into my first event. Fortunately, I received amazing support from my participant friends and experienced duathletes who calmed my nerves and made my experience fun and exciting. Thanks to positive encouragement and coaching from Dempsey, I was inspired to take part in this event and challenge myself in a way I never would have. This experience has motivated me to add running to my exercise mix so that I can excel at both activities. Based on this memorable experience, I look forward to doing my next duathlon.”

Kirill was thrilled after having completed his race and shared these very genuine words with me:


“My MultiSport race experience was amazing! It had a community feel, staff and volunteers made me feel very welcomed. It was very well organized and email instructions were super clear. My personal MultiSport ambassador, Dempsey, shared a lot useful tips on pre and post race nutrition and hydration. He lead a pre race warm up and advised on how to set up my equipment in the transition zone in the most efficient way. All of his advise lead to a very successful race for me. Dempsey and his cheer squad supported me all throughout the race, and gave that much needed moral support.”


Kevin also shared his great race experience on social media despite having a challenging bike. I truly believe we will see more of him in the future races!


“Multisport event”, “Duathlete”, “transition area setup” are all words and concepts that seemed so foreign to someone who never saw himself as anything but a spectator. Fast forward to this past weekend and I’m staring the start line down thinking, “what did I do?!” and before I can answer that question we’re all off, racing ourselves to the finish line with encouraging voices cheering me on from the sidelines. The same voices that cheered on my registration and then my training.  One of the loudest voices came from a Multisport Ambassador, Dempsey Cruz, whose wise words of advice were always well timed (so as not to overwhelm me) and much needed. Having a friendly face with a passion for the event encourage me along the way made the whole experience less intimidating. Now it’s done. And on to the next duathlon!”

Last but certainly not least, our friend Jazz promises that he’ll be back with vengeance next year:



“So today marks another first for me. Today I took part in my first sprint duathlon; 5k run 20k bike 2.5k run. What an amazing experience! Set the bar to beat for next year and my 5k was a PB! Shout outs to @kev_ponte who also ran his first dü, @cruzdemp for amazing coaching and inspiring to try the sport, and @jordytown @karigbell @hoppystar for spectator duty!”

It was truly humbling to read their kind words and see how grateful they all were for the support they received during their first duathlon. MultiSport Canada Race Series always seem to have this effect on first time participants. It is a true testament to all the hard work and commitment that John Salt, Jason Vurma, the MultiSport Canada team, and the volunteers put out to create a welcoming, positive race experience for both first- time and returning athletes. I’m overwhelmed with so much joy that our friends experienced first hand the reasons why I keep racing with MultiSport Canada, and that they will all likely be back to race next season!

Mind Over Matter

The next day, the gang was back to cheer me on for my race. This was my last duathlon of the season before I compete next week at Barrelman in Niagara Falls, my final A-race of the year. Since returning from Penticton, I’ve found it challenging to get back to training and find my stride. I head into this race feeling pretty anxious, unprepared, and untrained. Thankfully, I had the best supporters to negate any form of self-doubt that I had on my mind. As suspected, the competition was fierce but I gave it my all.

The first run was fast and furious. I tried to keep up with the lead group of runners but I could only keep up a sub-4:00 pace for a few kilometres until my fatigue got the better of me. I was the 4th duathlete into T1 after three fierce athletes, Garvin, Scott and Ricardo. The bike course was scenic with rolling hills. Despite losing two places on the 40km course, I maintained composure, stay focused, and just enjoyed the sights. I made sure to hydrate and re-fuel with my F2C Glyco-Durance on the bike. This set me up nicely for the last 5km of the race. I managed to hold my place on the last run, finishing 7th overall and 1st in my age group. Special thanks to Ryan Dockman and Darren Cooney, fellow ambassadors, who volunteered this weekend in Lakeside despite not racing.


My trusted BLADE Carbon Wheels!

2017-09-10 | 2017 MultiSport Lakeside Triathlon (Sun)

Two thumbs up!

2017-09-10 | 2017 MultiSport Lakeside Triathlon (Sun)

Being silly on the podium 🙂

Many thanks to my supporters this season:

  • MultiSport Canada Triathlon Race Series for the Ambassador opportunity. I hope to be back next year to bring on more first time multisport athletes!
  • BLADE Carbon Wheels for giving me some serious fighting power this season. I’m proud to be an ambassador and on the BLADE race team. I can’t stop talking about how PERFECT my wheels are!
  • F2C Nutrition for truly revitalizing my training and race day nutrition. I’m thankful to see your tent at every race!
  • My blog readers and followers. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share my race experiences with me on my blog site.
  • My friends and family. You all keep me going. Thank you for the ongoing love and support.

Next stop: Barrelman!




#MSCBracebridge: Something Bigger Than Myself

The Journey Continues

This race season has been quite the whirlwind! Rewinding a few paces back, in the still- wintry month of March when I was just starting to plan my race calendar, many would agree that I was pretty ambitious then. My partner, Jordan and I naturally have ongoing discussions about our life choices (mainly pertaining to training and racing) and always arrive at the same familiar, great big question: why do we keep doing this?

It’s hard to believe that this is only my second season of racing and I know that I still have a long way to go to reach my peak. I’ve decided on three “A races” this season:

  1. Ironman 70.3 Muskoka
  2. ITU Standard Duathlon MultiSport World Championships
  3. Niagara Falls Barrelman Bike/Run.

Keeping these three at the forefront of my training, I’ve added “B races” where I could practice “the essentials” (i.e. pacing, transition, and nutrition) to prepare for my A races.

On August 12/13, MultiSport Canada held the 4th race of its series in Bracebridge, Ontario. This was also the weekend of the “Du-The-Double” Duathlon Challenge, and the international distance duathlon qualification race for the 2018 ITU MultiSport World Championships in Denmark. Needless to say, it was a pretty significant race weekend. As tempting as it was for me to race both days with guns blazing (sprint distance on Saturday and international distance on Sunday), my goal was easily not to “go hard or go home”.

The field was decorated with the fastest duathletes in Ontario and it was really hard not to push myself outside of my boundaries. Having cycled from Toronto to Montréal (bikerally.org) the weekend before and doing a back-to-back duathlon race for the first time, I knew that I was going to treat my races this weekend to “tune up” for my upcoming A race in Penticton, which is happening in just a weeks time.

Two races in one weekend; definitely a new challenge for me, but this determined duathlete is ready to go out there, stay focused, and just have fun.


Uplifting, from start to finish

We had arrived in Bracebridge on the Friday and stayed there for the weekend. As Jordan, Trevor, and I were taking our bikes into our hotel, we bumped into two friendly ladies who started asking us about our bikes. We learned that mother and daughter, Debbie and Samantha, were also staying that weekend in Bracebridge to compete in their first triathlon race on Saturday with MultiSport Canada’s Give-It-A-Tri. We would see them again the next day for their big debut!

I participated in the sprint duathlon on Saturday with the intention of practicing my T1 and T2. After chatting with fellow MultiSport Ambassador, Matt Straatman, and saying hello to Rob at the BLADE Carbon Wheels tent, I proceeded to the start line. I had a solid 5km run at 3:53/km and a very smooth transition into the bike, where I biked comfortably at 30.29kph (new bike, new shoes, new race F2C nutrition!). After a very graceful flying dismount (proud moment!), I ran into T2 with a nagging feeling in my calves… both were starting to seize! It took the duration of the second run at 4:25/km to shake off the feeling and the race was over before I could rev up my engine again. I finished 10th OA, and 3rd in M20-29.

After my race, I found Sharon (the amazing volunteer coordinator!) to volunteer for the rest of the day. The skies opened up and it started to pour intermittently as the Give-It-A-Tri athletes were starting their race. All I could think about was how much harder we would need to cheer for the triathletes to brighten up their race experience! I walked up to the bike mount line (Jordan and Trevor also volunteered with me!) where I took my post with the Triathlon Ontario Official to ensure athletes mounted their bikes past the mount line.

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Athletes mount just past the line!

It was incredible to see so many first time triathletes across all age groups participating in this weekend’s Give-It-A-Tri. Many were smiling and all were appreciative of the support the volunteers were providing throughout the race. We saw both Samantha and Debbie prior to the race start and they seemed more excited than nervous for their first race! Samantha mounted her bike with a smiling face and Debbie a few minutes after. Both seemed to be having the time of their lives! After seeing them off on the bike, I ran to the finisher’s chute to provide water to all the finishers and congratulate them all for a great race!

Volunteering for the Give-It-A-Tri event quickly became the highlight of my weekend!

I had the opportunity to catch up with Samantha a few days after her race to ask about her experience.


Debbie [L] and Samantha [R]. They were incredible this weekend!

[D] What was your main reason for participating in the MultiSport Canada Triathlon Series’ Give-It-A-Tri this weekend in Bracebridge?

[S] I love finding new ways to get active outdoors and challenging my fitness. This event was an opportunity for my Mom and myself to do just that, while also enjoying ourselves in Bracebridge for the weekend.

[D] What did you enjoy the most about racing with MultiSport Canada?

[S] We loved the venue and the people! We got to see how beautiful Bracebridge is, and we felt comfortable with the terrain for our first race. The welcoming environment of people made our first race feel like we belonged from the start. We had met three very friendly participants of MultiSport Canada the night before the event, who were staying at our hotel. They helped us decide about wearing our wetsuits, gave us tips and tricks before the race and overall made us feel very welcome to the triathlon community. During the race they stayed onsite cheering on the participants and all three of their smiles truly made us feel supported and confident through our first triathlon experience. We met numerous other MultiSport employees and athletes who were all full of advice before the race, encouragement during the race, and long conversations to follow. Overall, the race day was an uplifting event start to finish.

[D] It must have been very cool to race your first triathlon together with your mom! Share some of the main highlights from both your races. Did you learn anything new about yourselves this weekend?

[S] After finishing my own race I joined my Mom to help her through her running portion. Being able to run side-by-side through the finish-line together with both of us smiling ear-to-ear was an amazing feeling. We learnt that we are able to push ourselves on our own to find our edge during the race. However, we also can push each other to succeed.


[D] What was your overall impression of the race experience with MultiSport Canada Triathlon Series?

[S] Overall, we absolutely loved the experience!!!! Both my Mom and I left the event in such a positive mood. The event was extremely organized, all of the staff/volunteers were helpful and friendly. Oh, and my mom is obsessed with her MultiSport Canada hat… Hahahah, she hadn’t taken it off after the race until about 10pm that night 🙂

I couldn’t have said it better myself! Samantha’s words truly capture what it’s like to race with MultiSport Canada. It was truly inspiring to witness their race experience from beginning to end, and to see both of them beaming with pride after their race. I can’t help but return to the question of “why do we keep doing this?” that I had posted in the beginning of my post. It’s because no matter what your reason is for racing, you will always find someone out there whose reasons are far greater than yours.


pictures courtesy of Samantha.

With a brand new perspective


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Trevor, Kirill, me and Jordan

The next day, the three of us returned to the race site with a new friend. Kirill had driven all the way from Toronto to see us race! This would be my second race of the weekend and Jordan and Trevor’s time to shine in the olympic distance triathlon. It was a beautiful, sunny day and all the excitement from Saturday’s events has evidently carried over. It was time for me to practice my nutrition in the international distance duathlon event. F2C nutrition has given me a refreshing way to approach race day nutrition and I am officially in love with their products.


Regardless of all the typical race day logistics that were going through my head, I still remember Samantha and Debbie’s race experiences. They reminded me of the positive impact encouragement can make in someone else’s race. I wish I could give you the run down of the specifics from my race but at that point, while I was racing, none of the specifics mattered to me anymore. I made it my goal to cheer on my fellow athletes during my race and the race was over before I knew it! I surprised myself upon realizing that I finished 14th OA, and 2nd in M20-29.

I proceeded to volunteer both in transition and finisher’s chute with my fellow ambassadors, Daniel Clarke and Ryan Dockman, handing out water and medals to the finishers. I’ve never had so much fun racing and volunteering at any race. It was remarkable to see first hand what great sportsmanship and camaraderie can do and how they can empower athletes to achieve their goals.


As I recover from this weekend and prepare for my race in Penticton, I will take with me the lessons I learned this weekend in Bracebridge. I hope that everyone reading my post will consider signing up for the Toronto Island Race, in support of SickKids, this coming weekend with MultiSport Canada Triathlon Series, either as an athlete or volunteer (or both!), and experience for yourself the fun, safe, and the incredibly supportive atmosphere that John Salt and the MultiSport Canada team provide at every race.

Toronto Island Women’s Triathlon, August 19

Toronto Island Triathlon/Duathlon, August 20

Thank you for sharing my race experiences with me and until next time!

Next stop: 2017 ITU MultiSport World Championships, Penticton, BC.


race pictures courtesy of Jordan and Kirill.

11.29.16: The Gold Medal Mentality

After a week of not training from being sick, I’m finally back at it with Trainer Road. Three sets of 3x3min intervals at 115% FTP: there’s nothing like a tough VO2max repeats spin to get your bike training week started!


It’s tough to get started again after a period of no training. It’s synonymous to the feeling you get before you jump into cold water, or when you hear your alarm at 4:30am.

“The body achieves what the mind believes.”

This is the quote on the medal holder my sister made me. As an endurance athlete, I’ve developed appreciation for motivational quotes.

Having gone through years of training with different coaches and athletes, I’ve learned the importance of training your mind with your body. I’ve come to believe that you need to prime your body to do the work that it needs to. This is exactly what I do before a training or race day. Having a “gold medal mentality” gets me in the right mind frame and stay in “the zone”.

The gold medal mentality is what I call the mindset that we should always strive to do our best and push through the burn especially during the toughest of times. It’s the mental state that will allow our bodies to accomplish things that we didn’t know were possible.

Sport is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. It is, if not more, important to condition the mind than it is to train the body.

How do you stay in “the zone” during your training?