The CanadaMan triathlon is known as a challenge for only the toughest. The ironman distance is 3800 metres of swimming, 180 km cycling and a standard marathon running.
Add in 2500 metres of height gain on the cycle route and 1500 metres on the run, and it’s even tougher. Vegan triathlete Antoine Jolicouer Desroches was well aware when he took on the race.
“The Canadaman is unlike any other triathlon because it’s considered as an extreme triathlon and as hardest Ironman triathlon in Canada” he says. “The swim is really early in the morning (4:30 am) so we swam in the dark with little red lights on our swimming cap. The cycling course is really hard because it is super hilly and I think it was the hardest part of the race for me. The run was also super hilly and it finished with a long and hilly trail running section. But I actually really enjoyed that part and I felt really good during the run.”
Antoine’s race was exceptional. At the end of the swim he was leading a group that included the Ultraman World Champion. He completed the cycle section in 5:05:24, which Triathlon Magazine Canada described as “incredible”. Amazingly this included stopping for 12 minutes after being stopped by a train, but by then he was so far ahead nobody caught him up!
Antoine completed the marathon leg in 3:42:57 as he challenged for the all-time course record. This stood at three seconds under 11 hours. Antoine finished in 9:40:01.
Triathlon Magazine also noted that Antoine was racing like nobody expected.
“Jolicoeur Desroches was so dominant on the day that the only question throughout the day was how much he would set a new course record by. He was going so fast through the course that officials were scrambling to keep up as he kept hitting the various check points over an hour faster than they had anticipated.”
Their headline mused over how the vegan made Canada’s toughest race look “not so tough”!
Antoine has been vegan for seven years. “I stopped eating meat for animal ethical reasons but my reasons for going vegan were mostly environmental. I watched the Cowspiracy movie and I immediately decided to become vegan.”
So does the secret lie in his food?
“During training I’ve been eating mostly real food such as bananas, dates, apple sauce, as well as Krono Nutrition bars” Antoine told Great Vegan Athletes. Antoine is director of research and development for Krono and helps to ensure the nutrition is spot-on.
“The night before the race I ate rice with vegetables and Asian tofu. It has become a classic before every race. Rice is great source of carbohydrates and it is super easy to digest.
“However, during the race I ate mostly gels and sport drinks. The key was to eat early during the race and really often.”
This performance makes us wonder whether the benefits to his performance are enough of a reason to go vegan as anything.