Elk Lake Triathlon - Race Guide

About The Elk Lake Triathlon

The Elk Lake Triathlon is organized by Dynamic Race Events and is an exciting triathlon event held annually in Victoria, British Columbia. This triathlon is known for its beautiful course that takes participants through the scenic landscape of Elk and Beaver Lakes. I have personally raced this event many times over the years, also trained athletes of all fitness levels and coached local triathlon teams. I have been a proud sponsor to this race and really enjoy support this amazing local event. It has become a premier triathlon event in Western Canada, attracting athletes from all over Canada.

The race offers different categories for participants of all levels, including Sprint, Standard, and Elite, and a unique relay option for teams. The Sprint distance includes a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, and a 5-kilometer run. The Standard distance consists of a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike, and a 10-kilometer run. The Elite category is reserved for professional triathletes and includes a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike, and a 10-kilometer run.

One of the unique features of the Elk Lake Triathlon is its relay option, which allows teams of two or three to participate. In this category, each team member completes one of the three race segments, making it a great option for beginners or those who want to compete as a team.

The event offers a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for participants and their families. Spectators are encouraged to cheer for their favorite athletes and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Elk Lake area.

Race pick up is scheduled for the day before the event at the race site. You will sign in with race organizers and receive your race information pack. There is also a few race sponsor tents offering free samples for example the Stratos Performance Nutrition tent where you can taste and buy supplements, electrolytes for your training and race.

Elk Lake Swim Course

On race day the swim takes place in Elk Lake, which is a clear freshwater lake surrounded by forests and hills. It features a 1.5 km and 750m open water swim in Elk Lake. The average water temperature in Elk Lake during race time is around 19-21°C (66-70°F), which is generally considered comfortable for swimming without a wetsuit.

The swim course begins with a beach start, where athletes enter the water and swim 750 meters straight out into the lake. At the first buoy, swimmers make a right turn and swim parallel to the shore for another 750 meters before turning right again towards the swim exit.

The course is well marked with buoys every 200 meters, and there are plenty of safety kayakers on the water to ensure the safety of all participants. The swim is a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Elk Lake and the surrounding mountains, and the calm, clear waters make for a pleasant swim experience.

Elk Lake Bike Course

The bike course starts with a climb on the west side of the lake before continuing on the rolling hills of the nearby countryside. The Elk Lake Triathlon bike course starts and finishes at Hamsterly Beach which is located on the northern end of Elk Lake in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The bike course covers a distance of 40 kilometers, an out and back course with some challenging areas due to hills and technical turns. The sprint distance race covers a distance of 20 kilometres where the turn around point is located at the roundabout in Brentwood Bay.

The first section of the bike course follows a relatively flat route along Elk Lake Drive, with beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. Athletes will then turn onto Oldfield road then Old West Saanich and West Saanich Road, which is also relatively flat and fast.

After about 4km, athletes will face more challenging terrain as they turn onto Old West Saanich Road, which features a series of rolling hills and several technical turns. The course then turns right onto West Saanich Road which is a main road with a few winding road sections that includes a few steep hills. The turn around point is at the airport and then back the same route. The bike course is course is a challenging and scenic route that requires athletes to be skilled in navigating technical turns and steep hills.

Elk Lake Run Course

Finally, the run course takes participants on a scenic route around the lake, where they can enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding nature. The course is flat and fast with a mix of terrain, including gravel roads, wide trails, and some pavement. Runners will encounter some small hills along on the back end of the run, adding to the challenge of the race. The sprint distance race takes a left turn out of transition and is a super fast flat out and back run course.

The average temperature for the run can vary depending on the time of day and weather conditions. Generally, the temperature can range from the mid-60s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit (18-24°C), making it a comfortable temperature range for running. However, it's always a good idea to prepare for any potential weather changes by bringing appropriate clothing and gear.

Training For Elk Lake Triathlon

Training for the Dynamic Race Events Elk Lake Triathlon should be comprehensive, incorporating swimming, cycling, running and strength training. Here are some tips to help you prepare for each discipline:

 Person swimming in the Elk Lake Triathlon



  • Practice open water swimming if possible, as it can differ significantly from pool swimming. You can still break your swim into sets for example 3 x 250m for sprint distance race. Rest either treading water or back on the beach.

  • Incorporate drills that focus on technique and form, such as sculling, kick drills, and bilateral breathing.

  • Include interval training to build endurance and speed. Think about maintaining shorter recovery rest between intervals.

 Nick Patenaude Preparing his bike for the ElkLake Triathlon



  • Train on hills and include hill repeats to build strength and endurance. Target a climb between 200m-500m for 6-10 sets.
  • Work on your bike handling skills, such as cornering, braking, and shifting gears. 
  • Include interval training and longer endurance rides to build both speed and endurance. Focus on your cadence targeting between 85-95 rpm.




  • Incorporate speed workouts such as intervals and tempo runs to build speed.
  • Train on hills to build strength and endurance.
  • Focus on proper form, including a quick cadence targeting between 170-180 strides per minute and relax your upper body.


Strength Training:


  • Preventing injuries by improving joint stability and muscular endurance, which can help you maintain proper form throughout the race.
  • You can generate more power and speed during your bike and run portions of the race. Exercises that target your legs, such as squats and lunges, can help improve your cycling and running performance.
  • Improve your endurance by building up your muscular endurance and improving your ability to maintain good form and technique throughout the race. This can help you maintain your pace and energy levels throughout the race, leading to a better overall performance.


In addition to training for each discipline, it's important to practice brick workouts, which involve combining two or more disciplines in a single workout, such as a bike/run or swim/bike. This will help your body adapt to the transitions between each discipline on race day. Also set up and practice your transitions, understanding what order you need to place your gear and where.


Lastly, make sure to prioritize rest and recovery to avoid overtraining and injury. Incorporate rest days and active recovery, such as foam rolling or yoga, into your training plan.

Stratos Performance Nutrition Stand at the Elk Lake Triathlon


Nutrition For Training And Race Day


Nutrition is an essential component of any triathlon training program, as it provides the necessary fuel and nutrients for your body to perform at its best. Proper nutrition is particularly important for race day, as it can help you sustain your energy levels throughout the event and improve your overall performance.

Here are some key nutrition tips for training and race day:

Hydration: Staying hydrated is crucial for any athlete, especially during endurance events like a triathlon. Make sure you are drinking enough fluids throughout your training and on race day. Aim to drink at least 8-10 cups (64-80 ounces) of water per day and consider using a sports drink like Stratos Endurance Fuel during your workouts to replenish electrolytes.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for endurance athletes, and are particularly important for longer events like a triathlon. Aim to consume 3-5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight each day during your training, and increase your intake in the days leading up to the race. On race day, aim to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of exercise.

Protein: Protein is important for muscle recovery and repair, especially during high-intensity training. Aim to consume 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day during your training, and consider consuming a protein-rich snack or meal within 30 minutes of completing a workout.

Fat: While carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for endurance events, fat can also be used as a fuel source during longer workouts. Aim to consume healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, as part of a balanced diet

Timing: The timing of your meals and snacks is also important for optimal performance. This is something I am always reminding my clients about. Aim to consume a balanced meal containing carbohydrates, protein, and fat 2-3 hours before a workout or race, and consider consuming a smaller snack 30 minutes to 1 hour before starting.

Remember, everyone's nutritional needs are unique, so it's important to experiment and find what works best for you. Consider working with a sports nutritionist or feel free to reach out to me to develop a personalized nutrition plan for your triathlon training and race day.

The Elk Lake Triathlon is a well-organized and popular event that attracts triathletes from all over Canada. Its stunning scenery, challenging course, and supportive atmosphere make it a must-attend event for any triathlete looking for an unforgettable experience. If you haven’t added this to your race schedule sign up now below.


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