Vegan triathlete at the World Championships
Canadian Triathlete Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches has now been competing for two years as a Pro and had always hoped to qualify for the World Championships.
The tenacious vegan lined up against thousands of athletes (2380 competed in the men’s event) as one of less than 35 classed as Pro. The 70.3 or ‘Half Ironman’ consists of a 1.9 km (1.2 mile) swim, 90 km (56mile) cycling before finishing with a 13.1 mile (21.1 km) half marathon run.
“The race didn’t actually go as I wanted” Antoine said shortly afterwards. “I knew that I wasn’t gonna be in optimal shape heading into this event since I raced a full Ironman 3 weeks prior and actually collapsed on the run in the Ironman.”
Just being there was a massive achievement for Antoine, who had long aimed for this highlight of the triathlon calendar, as he explained.
“There are many Ironman throughout the year in many countries, so we don’t often get the opportunity to toe the line against the best of the World” he explained. “However, for the World Championships all the best triathletes from the World are there and are in their best shape of the year. It was also special to race against legends of the sport. I’ve watched these guys race on TV when I was much younger and to get the opportunity to race against them is truly special. Obviously I would have wanted to be in better shape and to be more competitive, but that was still amazing.”
A determined race
“For the swim, I came out of the water in around 10th position, which is a bit farther than I usually do. On the bike, I could see that I wasn’t having a great day because I was not able to go at the speed I usually go during races and I lost a lot of positions on the bike. I also had some technical difficulties; my derailleur was rubbing on my disk wheels when I was going up hills, which was really annoying. I actually felt quite good on the run and was feeling better toward the end of the run.”
The placing fulfilled an ambition for Antoine. However, the timing and his feeling that he didn’t perform to his potential left him feeling that there is plenty more to aim for. His time of 4 hour 15 minutes and 23 seconds is significantly slower than his personal best, and had he matched his best time he may have scraped into the top ten.
“Even though I didn’t have the performance I was hoping, I’m still really happy to have been able to qualify for the World Championships. When I became a professional triathlete, the objective was to one day compete in the World Championship in half Ironman and full Ironman distances, so I’m stoked to have reached this step but I won’t be fully satisfied until I can reach the top 10 in the World Championship.”
Which means there is little time to rest.
“My body has recovered very well and I’m already training hard and getting ready for the last two races of my season. After a disappointing race I’m usually super motivated to train harder than before and to improve.”
Antoine has been vegan since 2015. Having previously stopped eating meat for ethical reasons he took the next step as he became aware of the environmental impact of industries such as dairy. As someone who has studied nutrition at degree level, Antoine is someone who supports his body with a good diet and draws additional motivation from his veganism.
“Every time I race I want to perform well because I want to show the World that you can compete at the highest level on a plant based diet; and that you can perform even better! I’m truly honoured to have the support of the vegan community and it’s always great to meet other vegan triathletes when I travel around the World to race.”
He also invites you to follow him and participate in his journey. “If you want to connect and maybe meet at one of those races, follow me at @antoinejdtri on Instagram and Twitter and Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches – triathlete on Facebook. I also have a new English website where I plan to share about my vegan diet and lifestyle and give tips and advice: https://antoinejd.com“.
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