Canada Man/Woman delivers super-tough race to live up to Xtri billing

Sylvain Lafrance led off the bike and dominated the run to take the men's race at the Canada Man/Woman Xtri event. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Typically held in July, this year’s Canada Man/Woman Xtri event had to be postponed to October, which made for some very cold water and a shortened run course, but the end result was the same – an extremely challenging race.

Thanks to the 12.5 C water temperature, organizers shortened the swim to three, 500 m loops for a 1,500 m swim in Lac Megantic. The competitors came out of the cold water to take on an extremely challenging 179 km bike with 2,500 m of climbing. Then there was a shortened run – the course had to be modified this year because of the date, so organizers found a 38 km course and stuck with it. Since the run course finishes at the top of Mont Megantic and features 1,200 m of climbing and some very tricky trails, it was more than tough enough to feel like a marathon.

After leading the women out of the water, Canada’s Florence Lavoie-Deraspe managed to move herself from third off the bike to first at the finish line in 11:36:59. Leading off the bike was former Olympic cyclist Lyne Bessette (CAN), but she went off course on the run and lost more than half an hour. She was able to catch one of the athletes – American Alysha Krall, who also passed her while she was off course- finishing in second in 11:53:07, while Krall rounded out the podium in 12:00:51.

Sylvain Lafrance became a local hero in the men’s race, finally taking the title that had eluded him after finishing fifth in the first edition, and second in the 2018 and 2019 races. Canadian Christian Vachon ran his way to second, while Pascal Coude rounded out the podium in 11:26:41.

Stay tuned for photos and more details from today’s race.