Ironman Mont Tremblant

Thursday, June 28, 2012

From Slowtwitch.....

Someone's signature line

everytime you start a new lance thread, god kills a kitten

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Can't Because I'm A Triathlete

Stolen from Steve in a Speedo

Its a recovery week for me

Friday, June 22, 2012

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Blogger?  I had most of my blog typed out and somehow it disappeared....twice

Anyways, back to retyping.  Last weekend I headed to Mont Tremblant for a training camp.  I skipped work on Friday and left at 6:00 am.  I called Peter F (a friend who did Ironman with my younger brothers 10 years ago and is still doing them) but he had not left his house in Toronto.  I took an easy and leisure drive and hit a rest stop just before Kingston about two hours later.  I emailed Peter only to find out that he was 15 minutes behind me so I waited for them.  Even though we'd be in separate cars, it was better than driving alone. 

Registration was from 12:00 to 1:00 pm followed by a group ride and I miscalculated on how long it would take us to get there (I didn't believe the arrival time on my GPS) and as a result, when we arrived at the host hotel at Mont Tremblant, the group was already assembled and ready to head out.  By the time we changed, the group had left and we opted to do a shorter ride which was the hardest part of the course.  The 17 km climb to Lac Superior.  This was the nasty climb that everyone feared as according to the Ironman map profile, it showed it as a 12% climb, five kilometres long but I was surprised as it was very similar to Muskoka 70.3. 

There were lots of rollers with some down hills on the assent and climbs on the descent, if that makes sense.  Like Muskoka the rollers felt endless but they were manageable.  We made it to the top and then turned around for the quick descent.  At one point I was going over 70 km/hr. 

 Turn around at top of Lac Superior – A welcome sight

While the main group was still out on the bike course, we checked into our hotel and was supposed to head for a quick swim, but I ran into problems….

Problem One:  Despite using my GPS, I could not find the hotel lobby (or the hotel for that matter).  The GPS took me to a dead end street where I could see a sign for the hotel but couldn’t find it.  I asked one maintenance worker for directions and he sent me off on the wrong direction (surprise…not really, this is Quebec after all).  I returned back to where I was and called the hotel.  The guy on the phone was useless for giving directions and I had no idea if he was speaking broken English.  Finally I asked another maintenance worker and he took me to a place where I was and then we drove back to where I’ve been standing for the last 30 minutes.  He then led me up to the hotel lobby which I was standing in front of 10 feet away but never saw the sign.  Finally I got checked in and parked my car.  I was going to be late for the swim so I just took my bike and gear up to the room.

Problem Two:  I put my bike in the room and then turned around to get my other gear when SLAM.  The door shut on me….with my pass cards on the bed.  I had to go back down to the lobby (400 meters away) and get another pass card.  I also was missing a parking pass so I got that as well.  I went back up to my room and got changed.  I grabbed my wet suit with me and headed down to the parking garage.  That took another 20 minutes.

Problem Three:  I couldn’t find my car.  Later I realized there were two separate parking garages.  After wandering around for another 15 minutes, I finally found my car and headed to the swim.

Problem Four:  When I got to the beach, it was empty.  Far off in the distance, I could see a whole bunch of people swimming back to the shore.  I was at the wrong beach.  It was actually the swim exit of the race.  They were at the beach of the swim start.  I went back to my room for a shower and quick nap.


At dinner, I met up with Peter F and he was sitting with Paula and John.  I know them both as I have swum at John’s parent’s farm.  They also race triathlons with my brothers from ten years ago. 

After dinner, we had a seminar presentation on nutrition – the fourth discipline.  There were about 80 people in the room (most paid about $300 each.  Can you say “cha-ching”?


Now that said, I thought the presentation was very good and there was lots of information that I was not aware of. 

The other thing that struck me was the age of some of the people.  There were some that were at least 55-65 years old.  Good for them!  The other thing that struck me, was while there were some very fit people, there were also some very *ahem* (what I thought) unfit people. 

Saturday morning started with a 45 minute swim which was the first open water swim for me this year.  The water was a little cool but clear, clean and weeds free.  The start would be on a very wide beach with lots of room. 

After the swim, we headed back to our room to change and met up for our long bike ride.  My plan was to ride the full course (two loops) as I wanted to see how hard the climb to Lac Superior was the second time.  We were split up into groups based on our time and I asked for the 10 hour group.  Oddly enough, there was no 10 hour group (that group would have missed the bike cut off).   I rode with about 15 other riders and we stayed fairly close until we got to Hwy 117 where we quickly begin to separate.  The 10 km ride down Mont Ryan to Hwy 117 from the village was nice and smooth with the shoulders about 3-4 feet wide in most parts.  It was a downhill ride with one large hill.  The ride on Hwy 117 was the same as Mont Ryan with one massive hill.


                                                 The big hill on Hwy 117 coming back from turn around

Coming down the hill I hit over 70 km/hr and your momentum carried you a long way.  The highway was nice and smooth but the best thing was the shoulder of the highway which was 6-8 feet wide.  You could ride three abreast but not advisable as cars whipped by doing 100 km/hr.  I hit the turnaround point where NRG had a car stationed in between the highway.  They had water, gels etc so we could reload.  So far, so good.  Now for the hard part, the return leg.  The ride from the turnaround point to the hill was flat as a pancake but climbing the hill was a slow long grind.  The hill isn’t that steep but it’s about 1.5 km long. 

After the big hill, I rode by myself back to Mont Ryan where I turned off the highway and down a street when CLANK, CLANK, CLANK, CLANK!!  WTF????  I stopped and looked at my rear tire (it’s always the rear tire).  I had run over a two inch nail that had pierced the tire and came out the side wall.  It was hitting the frame.  This was trouble as although I carry spare inner tubes, I don’t have an extra tire and this was a brand new tire I put on just before I left.  I had the bike flipped over and the tire taken off when one of the coaches rode up.  I wasn’t sure if I could even repair the tire given the damage to the side of the tire.  He offered to fix the flat (I told him I could fix it myself, but he insisted-uhh ok).  He stuck an empty GU gel pack in between the tire and inner tube to keep the inner tube from seeping out through the hole in the tire.  It seemed to work as the tire pressure held.  That was good as it would have been bad having the tire blow out as I came tearing down the hill at 70 km/hr. 

The climb to Lac Superior was tough but the compact crank made it that much easier and I was interested in to seeing how I would feel after the second loop.  I took a short rest and refueled at the village where NRG had another car set up.  I was trying to drink one bottle of mixture per hour but the rest stop screwed up my time.  As a result, I tried to make up time and gulped down a bottle before the fourth hour was up.  That was a mistake as although the ride on the second loop to the turnaround was uneventful my stomach felt full and hard.  It started to gurgle and I thought I needed solid food so I ate some chomps.  The more I rode, the worse my stomach felt until I decided to stop.  I leaned over the bike and threw up for a couple of minutes.  I could only taste the Hammer Perpetrum as I threw up.  I felt better but my stomach was still sore.  Lesson learnt.  Don’t try and catch up on your nutrition.

The climb up Lac Superior the second time was tough but manageable.  As I approached a steep climb, I passed a woman and mentioned how this climb was going to hurt.  She turned to me and said, “you can do it.”  I was surprised to see she was at least 65 years old.  All of a sudden, the climb didn’t feel that difficult.

I was glad to be finished the bike course but wasn’t sure how I was going to run/walk a marathon.  My foot was a little sore but ok.  Looking back, the course isn’t easy but at least it was very smooth with some wicked descents.  I felt much better riding the course and I know I can do it.  Many people were saying that this course is going to be faster than Ironman Lake Placid and Canada.  I rode with one guy (not part of our training camp) who did IMLP last year and found this course to be much easier.  Interesting.

That night, we had another seminar about race day execution.  Again it was good information for a newbie but I was surprised that there were several people attending the presentation even though they were multiple Ironman finishers. 

Sunday was a long run but I skipped it because of my foot and rode the Mont Ryan and Lac Superior part again.  I did a short run off the bike and everything seemed ok.  After that we met for open water swim and then it was check out time.

All in all, I give the training camp a 10 out of 10 (keeping in mind, I’ve never done one of these before).  I thought it was well organized, executed, and had good content.  All the coaches were enthusiastic and encouraging.  Just what a newbie needs

The one downside to this training camp?  I missed Vanessa’s graduation from Senior Kindergarten.  My little girl is going into grade one in September.



         Looking down the village to the finish line

                         Not sure what this is

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This afternoon I went for an unscheduled run.  The horrors!!  Shame on me for not following the schedule.

I ran for 40 minutes in 40 degree Celsius (104 F) temperature and found $40

My foot felt ok and we'll see how if feels tomorrow.  My overall pace was something like 5:43 min/km but I know I was running faster than that pace.  Most of the time, I was running around 5:00 min/km but I stopped and picked up a whole bunch of papers and notebooks on 16th Avenue.  Looks like someone left it on the roof of their car and it blew all over the road.  I picked up as much as I could and then ran back home.

After my run, I played like a CSI detective and figured out who the owner of the notebook was and called her.  She was extremely happy and we are meeting tomorrow.  This was my good deed for this decade.  Don't expect another one any time soon.

On another note, I've been trying to type up my Ironman Mont-Tremblant training camp report but Blogger decided to delete it twice.  I should get it done for tomorrow.  I hate Blogger and Blogger probably hates me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lances Confess!!!!

  • NBA Draft Combine Gets Awkward After Nobody Makes Any Shots


Lance Armstrong Wants To Tell Nation Something But Nation Has To Promise Not To Get Mad

AUGUST 27, 2010 | ISSUE 46•51 ISSUE 46•34
DALLAS—Saying that it would probably be best if everyone sat down for this, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong informed the U.S. populace Thursday that he wanted to tell it something, but that the nation first had to promise it wouldn't get angry once he did.
"Look, I'm not going to sugarcoat this. It's bad," Armstrong said during the nationally televised press conference. "But you have to swear to God that you won't get mad when I tell you, because if you get upset and yell about how you're really disappointed I'm just going to walk out of here."
"Okay?" Armstrong continued. "You guys promise?"
Armstrong then took a deep breath, massaged his forehead, murmured "Oh boy, here we go," and appeared for several moments to be on the verge of telling the nation his news. He seemed to lose his focus, however, commenting that it wasn't as if anything he was about to say would diminish the fact that he beat cancer or that his foundation has donated more than $250 million to cancer research.
In addition, Armstrong said the American people had to promise that, following his announcement, they would resist the urge to remove their Livestrong bracelets and throw them away or burn them.
"Okay, there's no easy way to put this, but, well, you guys know how I won a record seven consecutive Tours de France between 1999 and 2005?" said Armstrong, who took a sip of water as his hand visibly shook. "Well, this has to do with that. It also has to do with this impending federal investigation of my cycling team. What it absolutely does not have anything to do with is the fact that I am an inspiration to cancer sufferers worldwide—cancer sufferers who could potentially experience serious physical and emotional setbacks if you break your promise and get mad at me."
Throughout the preamble to his announcement, onlookers reported getting the impression that Armstrong felt some need to defend what he was about to tell the country. The world's most successful cyclist spent almost 25 minutes telling the nation that, as a top-level international athlete, one has to do certain things to remain competitive; that he has no regrets; and that, given the chance to live his life again, he would do everything again the same way.
Armstrong also repeatedly mentioned that he had beaten cancer.
"You have to understand—in the high-pressure world of competitive cycling, it's all about getting any advantage you can," Armstrong said. "And if we were being realistic, we'd have to admit that everyone in cycling was trying to get an advantage. So, in a way, if we were all trying to get the same advantage, then the playing field was still completely equal. So I was still the best. It makes sense when you look at it that way. And nothing I am about to tell you changes that. So, when I'm finished saying what I have to say, you all have to promise to still adore me."
"In fact, if you don't still adore me, and you suddenly get all huffy and say that I wasn't really a hero all these years, you are in the wrong here, not me," Armstrong added. "You. Not me."
Armstrong then stood, paced back and forth for a moment, shook his head, and returned to the microphone.
"You guys are not making this easy for me, that's for damn sure," he said. "This really shouldn't be hard. Because it's actually not even really that big of a deal. At all. Frankly, I don't even know why I'm here right now."
Armstrong reiterated for a fifth and sixth time that he had beaten cancer.
"Okay, here goes," Armstrong said. "Um, in the late '90s and early 2000s, I took, um… You see, in order to give myself a better chance of winning, I… Yes, there were instances during the Tour when…"
"You know what? I forgot what I was going to say," Armstrong added. "Sorry. I feel like an idiot. Have a nice afternoon."

On other news, I'm off to Mont Tremblant for a training weekend

Monday, June 11, 2012

An American Century

Coach had scheduled Saturday's ride for a 5-6 hour and Sunday's ride was 4-5 hours.  I've never had back to back long rides like that before but it must have been a result of all the whining I did about how weak my riding is.  However yesterday's weather forecast was rainy with thunderstorms.  Normally I don't mind riding in the rain but my back tire is pretty slick from riding on the trainer for half the winter and I rode during a thunderstorm once....never again.  I was riding when there was a lightening strike about three kilometers away.  It scared the crap out of me and actually struck the roof of a house in a subdivision.  Talk about bad luck as the whole second story was on fire.  I decided to switch the days around as Rom was going out Sunday and there was no way I was doing a six hour ride by myself, so I was prepared to ride the trainer for four hours.  Ugh.  I'm almost finished season one of the TV show 24 and today's ride would been long enough.  I rode for about 80 minutes and then had to take a pee break so I came upstairs and noticed it had stopped raining and was sunny. I decided to ride the rest of the time outside but stayed close to home in case of lightening.  I did hill repeats on the twin hills on Kennedy and re-found a new hill on Mccowan north of Aurora Road.  Going southbound on this hill is a really grind as its steep and long.  According to my Power Tap, on the climbs I was generating over 500 watts.  If the hills in Tremblant are this bad, then its going to be one long day come IMMT.  I was glad I was only riding four hours as it was windy and humid but never rained.

During my last couple of long rides with Rom (+155 kms), I've noticed I start out strong but get dumped on the last stretch home.  I just simply run out of energy and end up struggling really badly.  Coach had given me some guidelines in terms of nutrition to take per hour.  She wants me consuming 75 grams of carbs, 600 mg of sodium and about 750 mls of fluid.  I can't stand the taste of Hammer Perpetrum so I need to mix it with something else to give it flavor.  I've tried mixing it with Amino Vital but that gives me too much calcium which leads to trouble.  I've bought Blueberry eLoad which taste not so great but eLoad doesn't have enough calories by itself so I've been mixing with Perpetrum.  I also bought Ironman Perform lemon lime seeing that it will be offered at the race.  I tried the red flavor of Perform at Muskoka 70.3 but it was disgusting and threw out a full bottle.  I sat down Saturday afternoon and built a spreadsheet with the different mixtures and gel to come up with my nutritional needs.  It turns out, that the mixture I've been using of Perpetrum and eLoad plus one gel does the trick but why I been running of out gas?  Basically I need to be taking in one bottle of this mixture per hour and what I've been doing is skipping the last hour or two of the ride relying only on water and gel.

Sunday morning I left the house at 5:45 am and it was very foggy.  I rode to Rom's house (20 minute ride) and got to one intersection and couldn't see the other side.  This was going to be interesting.  The sun was coming up and by the time we left, the fog had mostly burned off.  There were about 10 people riding but some were going to turn back early.  Rom wanted to ride 162 km (100 miles).  We were going to ride the same route as previously but add some extra out and backs to hit 162 km.  With sun coming up, it was going to be long and hot day.  Not only liquid nutrition was going to be important but I'll probably need to take in extra salt pills.

We hit the little store at Zephyr by 8 am but it was closed and I was already done two bottle of mixture and half a bottle of water.  The water is undrinkable from the hose so I couldn't top up.  We kept riding until we hit Lake Ridge Road.  This was one of the out and backs that Rom added to increase the distance.  The road was busy, had no shoulder to ride on and was bumpy.  On the way back I lost my water bottle and had to turn around.  The guys kept going so I hammered it to catch up to them.  The sun was beating down and I was bagged.  I had only half a bottle left but fortunately, they stopped at a local convenience store a short distance away and we all refueled.  I bought two 1.5 litres of water refill my bottles, M&Ms and a diet coke.  I could feel the caffeine jolt right away.  That was interesting as Coke is offered on the Ironman course.  The next hour was riding along the shores of Lake Simcoe.  The water looked so inviting as we cruised through small towns.  Rom suggested we bring the family up for a play date while we did an open water swim.  Sounds good to me.

We zigged and zagged to avoid the busier roads but we ended up going to far west and that added at least 10 km.  Every hill seemed like a mountain and in my mind, I was praying for a rest stop at the top of every hill but they kept riding so I had no choice but to keep going.  Finally, we worked our way back to Warden Ave just north of Ravenshoe Road.  Now I knew where we were, how far home it was (35 km) and more importantly, how many hills were left!  There were only four of us riding together.  Some of the guys that we started out with had turned off earlier and two guys were so far back I couldn't even see them.  Rom and another girl, Lisa who's did IMLP last year were hammering it home while I stuck with Ed who's done several IMs.  Coming down Warden for the final stretch we hammered it home into a stiff headwind.  I was almost at Elgin Mills when I heard my phone ring.  I didn't want to stop to answer it because I wouldn't be able to maintain this speed on my own.  I knew Ed would turn west to Rom's house while I was going to turn east.  Once we split up, I stopped and phoned Tammy.  She was wondering where I've been as I left the house at 5:45 am and it was almost 1:00 pm.  She asked if we had stopped for coffee.  Coffee???  I looked down at my Power Tap and saw that I've ridden over 175 km with another five or so to get home.  When I finally wheeled down my street, I was glad for the ride to be over.  I sat on the front steps for a couple of minutes thinking "how in the world will I run a marathon after the bike?"

I think I've learned several lessons from this ride.

1.  Its extremely important to ride the distance of an Ironman race especially if its your first Ironman
2.  Nutrition is critical as I didn't fade as bad in the last couple of 155 km rides
3.  The nutrition I use is ok but need to supplement with gel and salt depending on the heat.  With the humidity, it was over 35 degrees Celsius (about 95 degrees F)
4.  Don't do hill repeats the day before a big ride.  My legs felt like jello after the first two hours
5.  Stockpile the ice from the freezer as I used up all the ice this weekend with two ice baths
6.  Ice baths...they work
7.  Use Chamois butt cream and take some in a zip lock bag for the half way part

I'm going up to IMMT for a training camp next week and planned to ride the full 180 km course anyways so today was a good dress rehearsal

On another note, I can't walk without limping.  My gout/pseudo gout/big toe capsule has returned and the last couple of nights my foot was swollen and throbbing so bad I had to take anti inflams.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

All Systems Go!

I finally got the clearance from a doctor to start running.  Its been a while (like around six weeks) since I ran as in April I was sick as a dog (I never get sick) and then around the end of April I had a gout, pseduogout, big toe capsule attack or whatever and couldn't walk for a week so I rode more.  The bottom and the top of my left foot started to swell and even my toes were swollen.  Several trips to the sports doctor had left us both baffled.  A bone scan turned up inconclusive so a CT scan was ordered but the wait time was two weeks and another two weeks for the results.  Did I mentioned I have to run a marathon in less than three months and I can barely walk?  My training was going down hill fast.  The sports doctor said I could either water run (gross) or run on an elliptical trainer (god kill me).  I swore I'd never be like those geeks running on one of them but in sheer desperation, I joined a local gym near work that plastered my car with flyers every week.  I did one run and was actually surprised on how much of a workout it was running on an elliptical trainer.  I had no problem getting the heart rate up to 150 beats and my shirt was totally soaked however the 30 minute run felt like eternity.  Partially because the gym was empty and nothing to watch.

Later at Rebecca's soccer game, Tammy was talking to Rebeeca's friend's father about my problem and he mentioned that his friend's brother is an Orthopedic Surgeon.  I called Cliff that night and gave him my contact details Thursday night and Friday morning Dr Lee called me as I was driving into work (I was talking on my hands free headset).  He asked me a ton of questions and then said to get a copy of the bone scan and then meet him at a X-ray clinic that afternoon.  That afternoon, I met up with Dr Lee but we could not find a clinic that could X-ray my foot but he wanted to look at the bone scan (it was on CD) so we went back to my house.  He looked at the CD and said he highly doubted I had a stress fracture but a x-ray would confirm any bone healing.  He looked at my running shoes and riding shoes.  I told him of my theory that the reason my foot was all swollen was because the cleat of my riding shoe was pushing up into my foot.  Kind of like running with a rock in your shoe.  I stopped running because my foot was swollen so I ran more which just made my foot worse.  Dr Lee agreed.  Problem solved.  I can cancel my gym membership and not have to run on an elliptical trainer like a dork.  On Saturday I got the X-ray and met with Dr Lee on Sunday.  He looked at the x-ray and confirmed that I had no break and could resume running outside.  Yeah!  Baby win!

This week's training has been ok and not much to report.  Last Saturday was a recovery ride and it was a crappy day.  Very windy and threatened rain.  For the first time, I did not feel like riding.  On Wednesday, I rode outside for 95 minutes leaving at 5:30 am.  I rode to the twin peaks at Aurora Road and Kennedy which is 46 minutes away.  I did some hill repeats in preparation for IMMT.  There are some stories on Slowtwitch as to how big the hills are and that got me scared.  I'm glad I got a compact crank but I don't think its going to be enough.  Next weekend, I'm going up to Mont Tremblant for a training camp so we'll find out how big those damn hills really are!

I preparation of training camp, I have a 5-6 hour bike on Saturday and a 4-5 hour bike on Sunday.  How sore will I be after this weekend?  However, tomorrow it's suppose to pour with lightening.  I've ridden outside during a lightening storm a couple of summers ago and saw a lightening bolt strike a house three kilometers away.  It scared the crap out of me so no more riding outside during a lightening storm.  I'll switch the days around and that means a four hour trainer ride.  Ugh.  Luckily a guy at work brought in his portable drive and I downloaded 20 movies to my laptop.