Ironman Mont Tremblant

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ironman Mont Tremblant...Part Duh - The Bike

Bike (6:35:15 including a 4 minute “phantom” penalty / Goal 6:10)

“It’s all about the bike”

Prior to leaving for Mont Tremblant, I had a conversation with my coach.  I expressed concerns about my biking.  During the winter, many of the bike workouts were zone two with not many tough intervals.  My previous coach had integrated several tough teeth gritting intervals that left me almost puking.  None of that this year and I think that had an impact on the summer riding.   I was unable to keep up with the group on most rides and looking at the power files, I seemed to be riding 1-2 km/hr slower than the last year.  At IMMT 2012 my bike time was 6:19 (including a 4 minute penalty).  Coach said he thought I could ride 6:10.  I thought a 6:30 bike split would be more accurate.

Leaving the resort, the roads are narrow and lots of people are cranking it up on the bike.  I unscrewed my Garmin and put it the correct way and then noticed it was asking if I wanted to calibrate.  I pushed yes and it said “Garmin Calibrated” but I didn’t know how to switch screens to race mode.  I fiddled with in for about 10 km until I got to the highway before I figured it out.  What was the saying about “not buying new things before your race?”   

The temperature was quite cool, overcast and a slight breeze.  I had debated about arm warmers (socks with the end cut off) or a riding jacket.  I opted for neither and it was chilly on the bike.  According to my Garmin, it was only 12 degrees.  I was hoping for the sun to come out and warm up a little bit.  The headwind wasn’t bad but was noticeable.  I was riding alongside a girl wearing a Boston Tri Club kit (there were quite a few of them) and she was fiddling around with a Cliff Bar.  I mentioned a massive downhill was coming up and it might not be a good idea to be eating while going down that hill.  In 2013 I hit 72.2 km/hr going down and in 2012 75.6 km/hr.  I was a disappointed as with the headwind I only hit around 66 km/hr.  

The first loop was unremarkable other than the fact that it was overcast and chilly.  I regretted not having worn my riding jacket and my toes were cold.  I didn't see any large draft packs and after the turn around rode back to Montee Ryan and St Jovite.  This part of Highway 117 is narrow as its open to oncoming traffic.  Riding through the town of St Jovite was nice but once again, the crowds were not packed like in previous years.  Thankfully they took out the stupid climb at the end of St Jovite Street. 

The climb to back up Montee Ryan was slow going.  All the riders were bunching up as it was a grind.  I could hear a motorcycle sitting about 10 meters behind me.  It was too dangerous to look back.  I thought it was odd that he'd be sitting there for so long (maybe five minutes).  I looked up and saw that the girl in front of me was about 10 feet.  Sort of outside the draft zone.  The motorcycle pulled up beside me and the marshal said something to me gesturing with a red card in hand.  I couldn't hear what he was saying and he zoomed off.  Did I get a drafting penalty?  Crap I wasn't sure.  If you get a penalty and you don't serve it, that is a DQ.  The penalty tent is at the bottom of the climb to Lake Superior.

The grind up the hill to Lake Superior continued.  Every time I saw it spike above 250 watts, I geared down and spun my way up the hills.  Even though it wasn't hot, I kept maintaining the salt pills every 30 minutes and took in a gel every 30 minutes on top of a bottle of Infinite every hour.  But by the third hour, I was falling behind on drinking my calories.  

The descent down Lake Superior is fast and smooth even though there are two hill climbs on the way down.  Checking my Garmin, I hit 72 km/hr which is a little scary as the road is narrow, twisty and turning but nothing sharp enough to force you to hit the brakes.  This part of the course is cutting though the forest so if you run off the road you'll be hitting a tree, rock or off the side of the cliff.  Returning back down, I stopped at the penalty tent to plead my case.  The lady was unsympathetic as neither one of us knew for sure whether or not I got a penalty.  I sat there for the required four minutes and ate a cliff bar with another rider.  I didn't see anyone from the Markham Tri Club until Hong blew by me.  I considered for a brief second of catching him but he’s way too fast.  Roger also passed me a couple of minutes later.  I rolled into special needs to exchange my bottles, pick up more gels and salt pills.  I glanced at my Garmin and I was about 3:10ish for the first loop. Not bad. I could live with that. 

Zipping down Montee Ryan again for the second loop, I turned onto Highway 177 when Lindsay rode by.  I asked where Rom was and she said he’s behind her.  I thought for sure Rom would have passed me by now.  I actually began to wonder if something happened to him in the swim like Lisa last year during MT 70.3.  I yelled “I’m going to catch you” as Lindsay pulled away.  This section of the highway is moderately hilly and I am a terrible hill climber.  At the first aid station, I decided to stop and take a leak.  Just as I headed into the porta potty, Lindsay came out.  Ah, "now’s my chance" I yelled at her.  I never saw her again until the turn around about 20 km away.  

Heading to the turnaround point on the highway was not fun as the winds had picked up considerably.  From Montee Ryan to the turnaround, it was about 23 km straight into the wind.  Going down the big hill on the highway, I only got up to about 56 km/hr.  At several points along the way, I was riding in the small chain ring in order to keep the watts down and cadence up.  Finally I reached the turn around and zipped back down the highway with a nice tailwind but the damage was done as I felt tired.

Riding down one hill, I passed a rider standing one his pedals.  That was odd, I thought until I noticed a stream of liquid coming out of his shorts.  "Well done," I said as I passed him and he smiled.  Note:  In case some readers can't figure out the significance, the athlete was peeing while riding so he wouldn't waste time stopping at the porta potty like me.  Its not as easy as it sounds.

As I headed back down the highway towards the town of St Jovite, I noticed a large rider.  He was about 220 pounds and a pretty good rider.  I was unable to out ride him as we rode through the town together.  It was only by the time we started climbing back up to Lake Superior that I was able to leave him.  By now the sun had come out and it was getting much warmer.  The second climb up Lake Superior was brutal.  My breathing was much more labored and at one point I had to pull over to catch my breath.  The marathon was going to be a death march.  I had burned way too much energy on the bike and was unable to drink enough calories.  I had almost one full bottle of nutrition left meaning I was short over 350 calories.

Still no sign of Rom but someone did yell at me on the way down Lake Superior

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