After leaving a painfully slow transition, I headed out to find my bike. I had put one of my arm coolers on while carried the other in my hand (not sure why I didn't stop and put the other side on). The weather was humid and cloudy but no sign of rain. Heading down Montee Ryan, I struggled to put my other arm cooler on and not plow into a barrier or run off the road. Already people were hammering it by me but I opted to noodle along the mostly downhill route to Hwy 117. After climbing up the on ramp to the highway, I passed a guy who had four water bottles on his bike and two bottles of Gatorade in the back of his jersey. I guess no one told him they were serving Gatorade at the aid stations....or there were aid stations on the course. I never saw him again.
Just as I approached the massive downhill on Hwy 117, it started to rain. Big fat rain drops. I rode hard down the hill knowing full well I would never ride as fast down this hill on the second loop. I hit 73 km/hr (fastest I've ever gone down this hill is 75.9 km/hr). I absolutely love flying down this hill as the road is so smooth and the momentum carries you for at least half a kilometer. The further I rode, the heavier it rained until it was almost impossible to see with my sunglasses on. The volunteers were amazing, standing in the pouring rain dancing to the music. Everyone was so enthusiastic.
The turn around point on Hwy 117 is roughly 30 km from Montee Ryan and usually there are headwinds heading back but the winds were blowing every which way, it was impossible to know if we had side winds, tail winds or head winds. The rain continued hour after hour. I think it was pretty safe to say that Accua Weather was a bit off with their prediction of rain at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm. It was raining constant.
Its all down hill heading along Hwy 117 pass Montee Ryan towards the small town of St Jovite. Despite the rain, everyone was flying along at over 50 km/hr. Once in the town I couldn't help but notice the sparse crowd and what a difference it was than in 2012, but then again in 2012, it wasn't pounding rain for hours on end.
It was long and tortuous climb back up Montee Ryan and the village of Mont Tremblant. There were a surprisingly large number of spectators and I hoped Tammy and the kids weren't standing in the rain waiting for me.
By the top of Lac Superior, my quads were fried as I turned around and started heading down. It takes about 25 minutes to climb up to the turn around but less than 15 minutes to descend even though there are three climbs on the descent. On the last big descent I can easily get above 70 km/hr but in this rain I only hit 67 km/hr. As I was half way down coming around a corner, there was an athlete standing in the middle of the road directing people coming down to stay to the right. I only had a fraction of second to glance to my left where I saw people lying on the side of the road and others had stopped to help. I wasn't sure what happened but as I kept going, EMT vehicles came whipping up the hill. Lots of them.
I later found out there was a bad crash. An athlete coming down the hill had lost control and slammed into the riders heading up the hill. There were several athletes hurt bad but the worst was the guy coming down as on Slowtwitch someone posted he had a fractured spine, broken ribs and shoulder. He was rushed to local hospital and was in intensive care.
Stopping at special needs to pick up my second bottle of nutrition, there were several high school kids helping out. I asked them if they were having fun in the pouring rain. They said, yes and I replied "Good, I'm glad someone is having fun."
The ride down highway 117 was with a tailwind. Despite the pounding rain (by now it had been raining for more than four hours), I hit 67 km/hr going down the big hill. That meant we had a tailwind heading to the turn around and we would have a wicked headwind riding from the turnaround to St Jovite (about 40 km). In fact, for most of that part, I was riding in the small chain rain. The only good part was that most of that part was down hill other than climbing that massive hill.
Climbing back up Montee Ryan, I stopped to puke. My stomach had become bloated and I was not absorbing any liquids or nutrition. This is the third race where that's happened. Clearly I need a new nutrition strategy.
The climb up to Lac Superior was as brutal. There were no signs of the crash but coming back down, the race director Dominique was standing in the pouring rain at the top of the last descent, yelling at athletes to slow down. I squeezed my brakes and only hit 53 km/hr. The brakes were pretty useless for stopping.
After handing my bike to a volunteer in transition, I walked passed a lady and said "well that was fun." She said I looked better than most.
I saw Tammy and the kids just before I headed into the transition tent. "Finally" Tammy yelled. Earlier I told her my bike time would be 6:15 to 6:30. I was 6:33. What was she complaining about?
Transition Two: 6:29
I did a complete changes of clothes. I used Body Glide everywhere. As I headed out, I looked at my watch. God, I lost so much time in transitions. As we ran out of the change area, there were volunteers cheering us and we ran out of the tent and into the rain.