Clemence Trudel might not have “started in sports until she was 25,” but it didn’t take long for her to excel in multisport racing. Two weekends ago, she took the overall women’s age group title at the ITU S3 Winter World Cup in Quebec.
Trudel, 33, from Sherbrooke, Quebec, started racing triathlon events at 25 and quickly became an accomplished elite competitor. (Growing up she had been a lifeguard and ran cross country in high school.) In 2008 she represented Canada at the FISU Games (world university championships) and would compete in the elite ranks throughout Quebec for the next five or so years.
She cruised through the S3 (snowshoe, skate, ski) event in Quebec, finishing the 5 km snowshoe leg in second place, then quickly moving in front during the 11 km skate portion of the event before solidifying her top position during the 9.5 km ski, leading all the age group women across the line in 1:40:41. All the while her three-year-old and 18-month-old sons were watching her dominate.
“I wasn’t expecting that (the win) – I thought I was second or third,” the modest physical education teacher from the Sherbrook Cegep said after the race. “I started winter triathlon three or four years ago, but I have been pregnant the last few years, so I competed here in Quebec City for the first time last year. I was in the elite group, and that was too hard for me.”
Like her late start to triathlon, Trudel didn’t start skiing until four years ago. She took on the winter sport to “help (her) bike training,” and has come to love the winter version of the sport.
“I really like it – all the different sports are short. You do each sport for about 30 minutes, so there are lots of changes, which makes it fun.”
During her elite racing career Trudel focused on sprint and Olympic distance races, but since she’s started a family she’s moved to longer races – now her focus is on Olympic and half-Ironman events. This season, in addition to the S3 World Cup event in Quebec, she’ll head to Ottawa for the half marathon in May, and is also registered for Ironman 70.3 Tremblant in June. She’ll also likely compete in her “hometown” race in Magog, competing in the half-Ironman race, where she finished second overall last year.
“With the boys I don’t compete so much,” she says. “I focus on two or three races in the winter and two or three more in the summer.”
It might be a limited schedule, but its one that seems to work just fine. The busy “super-mom” proved that she can snowshoe, skate and ski amongst the best in the country, and will likely do more of the same this summer.