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