Thursday, June 28, 2012

Race Report: Mont-Tremblant 70.3

And so, the big dance - my first Half-Iron and my biggest race of the year - has come and gone. I signed up for this race late last year to be my first long-distance triathlon, and I am sure glad I did! It was an AMAZING day - the event was impeccibly run and the show Marc Roy, Dominique Piché and all the other organizers and volunteers were able to put together was simply outstanding - simply put, this event was world-class and will surely put Mont-Tremblant on the triathlon map in a big way. I am actually a little bit envious I won't be there August 19th for the Ironman, despite the inevitable suffering that would incur.  

Anyway, so here is the short version: 

And the long one:

After the drive up from Ottawa, on Friday afternoon we checked into our hotel and I checked in at race rego, picking up my race kit and swag, about 60m from our hotel room. Saturday was spent doing a quick jog, quick bike warm-up to make sure it was all working (after the Oly, I was a bit paranoid) and relaxing around the Station - including taking a trip up the Panoramic Gondola to check out the view. 
Steed is ready
Time for a quick spin

Pre-Race: Up at 4am. I rolled out of bed, already wide awake having slept pretty restlessly. I quickly went to the stove and turned on the element to heat up the steel cut oats I had soaked overnight. Race kit on, tracksuit on - it was a chilly morning! Ate my breakfast with some fresh Québec strawberries and a coffee. This warmed up my body enough to get through the most important pre-race ritual(s). Audrey and I literally walked out the door of our room and not 10m away were volunteers doing body marking - too awesome! I got into transition and began unpacking. 

Swim: 30:45. I pushed this swim more than a few weeks ago. There were eight waves and I was in the second, leaving 5 minutes after the pro wave. As a result, we never encountered any problems with regards to drowning/trampling slower swimmers in front of us, and enjoyed clean and easily navigable water the entire way. I led a pack of 5 or 6 swimmers as I was unable to latch on to the group in front. I finished comfortably though found it a little hairy swimming in over the submerged rocks inches from the surface.
Snowbirds flying over for the Pro wave - too cool. 
A few minutes before our start
Coming in - that's me at the front with the white cap.
T1: 3:50. This included something like a 700m run. The awesome crowds lining the barricades on the way made this bearable, but a 3 minute run in your wetsuit is never too much fun. Admittedly, my transition needs a bit of refining. I threw on my race belt and watch, sunnies and lastly, my helmet before heading out. 
Man, this is a long transition run!
On the way out. 
Hammering up St-Jovite
Bike: 2:31:41. Pleased with this split. It wasn't an easy course in terms of topography however it was amazing to ride given the scenery, amazing surface and volunteer support. Not having a powermeter, I had to gauge my effort on feel, which I think I did well and avoiding any major spikes and keeping the effort consistent. I rode almost entirely alone having missed the studs of my AG who were riding a few minutes down the road. On Chemin Duplessis, however, the gun athletes from M30-34 who had started 5 minutes behind in the third swim wave caught up to me at the last turn around and we'd all caught up to the tail of the women's pro wave. As a result, we had an OK group riding down to the transition over the last 10 or so km's. 

Technical stuff: 
Bike: 51cm P3, 2011 vintage.
Wheels: Hed Jet 6/9
Tubes: Bonty Latex
Tyres: Conti Attack FR 21mm, Conti Force RR 24mm
Tyre Pressure: ~92psi
Hydration: Arundel aero bottle w/E-Load, Regular 21oz bottle on horizontal mount w/E-Load (replaced with Perform)
Storage: Dark Speed Works Bento holding tube, tyre levers and Co2 chuck, and 5 Powerbar gels

T2: 1:04. Better but I could still lose a few seconds here. 

Run: 1:34:41. I headed out in sub-1:30 pace hoping to nail a ~1:27 run (which I knew I had the fitness for). I was holding pace comfortably and had another gear for the first 5kms or so. After taking on some Ironman Perform at the first aid station, things went downhill. I headed onto the Petit train du Nord and shortly after my stomach felt as though somebody had shoved their hand into my guts and wrenched my stomach into a knot. I slowed down and tried to massage the cramps. No go. I had to stop and walk - twice - to get rid of them and was reduced to a meandering pace until the 10km turn-around where I grabbed some coke at the aid station. Things began to pick up slowly thereafter. I ran for a while with Erin Spitler who was also struggling a bit.  I dropped Erin after a few km's, gradually picking up the pace a little heading back into town, sinking coke the whole way. I'm not sure, but I think I lacked a few calories or electrolytes as I felt pretty lethargic. 

Check out my epic meltdown (FWIW it only says 20.88km given I didn't hit start until 100m or so after leaving transition):

My guess is, that whilst my guts were retaliating for those twenty minutes I didn't absorb much - or anything - at all. I managed to pass a few guys who had passed me during my bad spell, which made me happy. Coming down the finished chute was amazing - hi-fiving everyone and really soaking it up. 

Other stuff: I am pretty pleased with this, my first HIM. I learned a lot and still have a way to go. The most positive thing is knowing that I can drop minutes off my run should I nail nutrition. I think I can take minutes of the bike as well, particularly if I were to begin using a powermeter or at least nailing more consistent long rides. 

There is no way I could have done this without the support of family - a huge thanks to my parents, my parents-in-law and my beautiful wife Audrey - who puts up with me in a way which out endures any Ironman. 

Next up: Triathlon de Saguenay, where I hope to improve on 4th overall from last year. 

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