Friday, 28 June 2013

2013 Mont Tremblant 70.3 Race Report

My first 70.3
This past Sunday, I raced my first Ironman 70.3 in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. Though my race did not go as I wanted, it was by all other accounts a great race.
The race weekend began on Friday, with athlete check-in (also available Saturday) taking place in the main Mont-Tremblant village, which is in itself a picturesque vacation village. The resort village looks somewhat what I would expect of an old town in Switzerland, with colourful roofs and quaint storefronts.
Check-in was quick and painless. All I had to do was bring a piece of ID, find my bib number from a wall of athlete names. From there I was given some consent and emergency contact forms (OK, maybe a bit overboard here, I felt like I was getting a mortgage) which didn’t take too long to get through. Next, everyone had to get weighed. I’m assuming this is for medical purposes, such as if a participant passes out during the race, it would be important to know their original body weight to determine how much fluid loss occurred. After that, I just simply moved down a line to pick up my goodie bag,  swimcap, race chip, free t-shirt, merrel headband-y thing, identifying wristband, and that’s it.  The goodie bag is actually a pretty nice version of your typical 2-string backpack. Inside was just some local flyers, a 2-pack of deodorant (like it would help over the course of a 70.3).
Bike check-in was on Saturday, which again was simple and clean. The transition area was easily navigated, with signposts and name markers for each spot. Later in the afternoon was a mandatory athlete briefing, where various speakers went over some rules (such as not needing to wear a number bib on the bike) and some course details. Really most of the course specifics was redundant to anyone who had read the athelete guide, which I’d be surprised if anyone had not at that point.
Race Morning (Sunday)
Transition and body marking began around 5am lasting until 6:20. Since I was in the last starting wave at 8:05 (IM has recently introduced wave starts instead of mass starts for safety reasons), I went towards the end of the allowed time, quickly set up my transition, got marked, then headed back to my hotel room. Unfortunately my stomach was feeling a little off, which I attributed to pre-race jitters. Though I would normally stay for a quick warm up swim, I didn’t feel like “hanging out” for 2 hours, not to mention that warm-up swims would not be allowed once the first wave started.
By my fault alone I got to my wave corral pretty late because I was unsure of where it was, and I was doing some last minute packing Sunday morning. With maybe 5 minutes to spare, I quickly slipped into my wetsuit (more like squeezed into), and ran to my corral. Shortly after I was lining up and then with a bang was running towards the water. Immediately the cold water caused my chest to contract making it hard to breathe properly. Also not helping was that my brand new goggles (no choice, lost my regular pair) did not fit properly and my right goggle kept filling with water. Within a few minutes I started to breathe more or less normally but I was pretty far at the back of the pack. A slow swim for me, and with the aid of a couple of cayaks guiding me, I got through the swim in 58 minutes.
Coming out of the water, I realized my stomach was giving me serious issues, so my T1 took a little longer than it should have for a potty break. After that I was on the bike. Being in the last wave and one of the last out of the water at that meant that most of my ride was alone, mostly seeing athletes coming the other way.

For most of the bike, I was actually surprised that the elevation profile wasnt as bad as it had seemed when I looked it up earlier. In the first 70km, there were maybe 2 or 3 big hills, but aside from that fairly flat/rolling terrain. Looking at my watch, I seemed to be on a pretty good pace. The big challenge came in the last 10km or so, going up Montee Ryan. What a bitch! I was forced to get off my bike and walk a few times, again not helped along by my cramping stomach. By the time I pulled into T2, I been biking for 4:10, and missed the bike cut-off by maybe 5 mins.

A quick transition later I was on the run. Leaving the village was a little hilly, and my overall fatigue had me walking up some of the larger hills. at about 5km I met up with a nice couple from Ottawa who were doing a 1 minute walk, 15 second run pattern, so joined them for a bit until about 9km, at which point that I might be pushing the course cutoff once again, so tried to do more running. Still having stomach issues, I had to stop again for some potty time. From aroun 15-19 began walk/running with a former TeaminTraining participant from NY, and then pulled ahead, sensing the finish line.

The last kilometre was great, the last 500M even better, as I began running into the Tremblant village, and down the finishers shute. I finished my first 70.3 Ironman at 8:10:00 , and though not happy with my results, am still happy to say that I did it.

For after the race is a nice lineup of typical post-event food for participants, bagel, fruit, yogurt, chocolate milk and so on. Bike pickup was painless with just a flash of the wristband to match with your bike number and the day was over.

I highly recommend this race to anyone who dares take on a few challenging hills amidst beutiful scenery. My race could have gone better, but after taking a month and a half off due to injury (and getting engaged), and a less than 100% race day, I still feel like I got my full IM experience.

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