Ironman Mont Tremblant

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant 2016 - The Run

Goal:  4:45
Reality:  5:15

The run is where I've always had problems and I think it boils down to nutrition on the bike and lack of nutrition on the run.  Doing some quick math, during the swim I burned about 1,500 calories and 3,400 calories on the bike.  For breakfast I drank two bottles of Boost Plus Calories (360 calories each) and a PBJ (275 calories).  One the bike I drank 4 (out of 6) servings of Infinit (250 calories each) and two gels.  So at the start of the marathon, I had burned 4,900 calories and consumed about 2,200 calories for a deficit of 2,500 calories.  I already threw up on the bike and was starting the marathon with a bloated stomach.

Running out of the change tent and into the pouring rain, I felt a little better than last year where I was able to run to the first aid station (about 500 meters away) when I had to start walking because of the scorching heat.  This year I was able to run to the Old Village of Mont Tremblant (4 km).  I ran with one guy who had done 13 Ironman all over the world.  We were running at a 5:45 min/km pace.  I couldn't keep up and started walking for a bit until I caught my breath.  Once on the trail, I continued  running with a bloated stomach until I decided it was time to throw up.  After that, I felt better and was able to take a gel.  I tried the Cliff gels that they were handing out at the aid stations but they were so thick I was unable to swallow.  I'm glad I packed GU gels in my water belt.

I stumbled along with my walk/run/stagger pace until before I realized I was at the turn around.  I saw Gareth S and Peter A.  Both were running strong.  As Gareth passed me, I yelled at him calling him a bastard and started running again as I didn't want him to lap me again.  At the aid stations I started asking if they had Tums or anything like that to minimizing the bloating.  They didn't have any (something to consider for next year).  Eventually the rain stopped and it was actually nice out.

At special needs, I had packed a garbage bag with holes cut out for the arms and head.  I wasn't sure what the weather was going to be like on the second loop.  If it was raining and and I was on the trail after the sun went down, that was a perfect recipe for hypothermia and a DNF.  I had the garbage rolled up tightly and stuck it in my run belt.

Coming back into the Mont Tremblant, I saw Joe and Susan (our old neighbors from Toronto) and they were with Rebecca and Vanessa.  I didn't see Tammy or Jake.  Rebecca said Tammy had gone looking for Jake.  I started panicking but Joe said run.  All though out the second lap, I was sort of worried about Jake missing.  Turns out Tammy found him playing Pokeman and wandered off a short distance.  Just as she was talking to the police, Jake came back.

The second lap was pretty much a blur.  The bloating in my stomach went down and I was actually able to eat some gels.  Oddly enough, my run time got faster.  I was doing a lot more running as I didn't want Gareth to pass me.  I passed his friend Chris who was doing this 10th and last Ironman. Obviously he planned to walk the second loop as he put a nice warm jacket in his special needs.

Gareth finally passed me as I was near the old village.  Later he told me he was pissed off that I called him a bastard and ran faster to pass me again but to his surprise, I wasn't where he thought he'd pass me again.  That's because I started running.

Once I was off the trail and in the old village (about 6 km to finish), I offered my garbage bag to anyone who was heading onto the trail.  The sun was setting and it would be cold as the temperature would drop.  No one wanted it so I threw it out.  Later, the next morning while standing in the line up for the Ironman tent, I was talking to a girl who mentioned some guy was offering her a garbage bag.  "Ha ha, that was me" I told her.  At the time, she didn't understand what the garbage bag was for.

Running down the finisher chute, I saw Tammy and the kids with Joe and Susan.  They spent the whole day together and really enjoyed being at Ironman.  I think Joe was interested in getting into triathlons as he currently runs marathons.

After Thoughts
I'm disappointed with my time as I didn't beat last year's time and all my times are getting slower. The weather has a big influence on how the race goes.  I probably had the best weather in 2012.  Several friends have already signed up for 2017.

So will I

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant - 2016: The Bike

Goal:  6:15
Reality:  6:33

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.



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant - 2016: The Swim

Goal:  1:10
Reality: 1:17:07

For the last week, everyone was watching the weather forecast for race day.  Accua Weather kept changing their forecast but by early Sunday morning they were calling for cloudy with thunderstorms at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm and 5 pm with about 5 mm of rain.  Not too bad.  On the other hand The Weather Network was calling for solid rain starting from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm with 40 to 60 mm of rain.  I believed Accua Weather to be correct.

I headed out of the room at 5:00 am to transition to get set up.  It was very humid and windy.  The wind was not a good sign for the bike or the swim.  If it did rain, at least it would be warm.  I made some last minute changes to what clothing I was going to wear for the bike and run.  Several friends mentioned it would be best for a complete change of clothes for the run.  Therefore I opted to wear my cycling jersey during the swim (under my wetsuit) and change into my tri top for the run.

I headed to the swim start with Tammy and Vanessa.  Nearing the beach, the race for the men's pro was about to begin when a CF 18 fighter jet did a flyover.  It flew much lower than previous years and was ear splitting.  Nice to see my tax dollars hard at work (it costs about $60,000 per hour of flight).

With that, I said good bye and jumped in the lake for a quick warm up.  The water was really warm with a wet suit on and a little choppy.  Two weeks before, I went swimming with Mike M at Jackson's Point on Lake Simcoe.  It was pretty windy and had stirred the water up pretty good.  I was really glad we did that swim.

Last year I had a really great draft in the swim and was hoping for a repeat.  The guy basically plowed through the swimmers from the earlier waves and I just tagged along for the ride.  I kept hopping from swimmer to swimmer looking for a similar ride.  No such luck.  Around the 400 meter mark, I began to catch the previous wave group.  Was it my imagination or was every single slow swimmer swimming along the buoy line?  I can't believe how many times people were crashing into me (or maybe it was me crashing into them).

As we got further out, the waves began to pick up and I began to wonder what I was doing here.  I was getting bored and started counting the buoys.  I thought there were 19 of them spaced 100 meters apart so I was surprised when I got to the red buoy (turn).  By now the waves were quite choppy.  Several times I turned to take a breath, only to get swamped by a wave.  I definitely wasn't having fun.  By now I had caught the slower swimmers from the three waves ahead but still was constantly running into other swimmers.  Why do people who can't swim or need to do the breast stroke swim along the buoy line?  This was by far, the most contact I've had during the swim.  I wondered how Cathy S was doing?  This was not an easy swim.

I had no idea what my swim time was but was pretty disappointed when I looked at my watch and saw 1:17:00.  This was the slowest of four races.  I ran up to the wet suit strippers and sat down while they ripped off my wet suit.  Just then I was struck with a massive cramp in my left hamstring.  I think people thought I was having a heart attack as the medical staff were there pretty quick.  I tried to get up but someone pushed me back down.  The pain as very sharp and they kept asking if I had trouble breathing.  Last year the same thing happened but it didn't last as long.  The medic grabbed my leg and held it up while pushing down my foot.  Finally the pain subsided enough for me to try and get up.  The medic kept yelling at me to stay down but as I stood up, the right hamstring cramped up.  So back down I went until the pain subsided.

Finally I got up and ran/walked/hobbled to transition.  I saw Tammy and the kids along the way. I got my bike transition bag and went into the change tent and it was packed.  There were no chairs to sit on so I changed on the floor.  I put my bike shorts on and stood up.  Right away something didn't feel right.  I had put my bike shorts on backwards.  Awesome.  After spending half the day in the change tent I ran out to get my bike.  At least it wasn't raining.  All right Accua Weather!

Transition Time:  11:09 (one of my worst times)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant - 2016: Getting There

I decided to change things up for training this year.  In the past, I simply used workouts from previous coaches.  But in November, I bought a Kickr trainer, a fully computerized bike trainer however, to my dismay (and astonishment), it can only be controlled using an iphone, ipad or android phone.  Both Tammy's ipad and iphone were too old to support the app and the only way to use my laptop was to subscribe to a third party software, otherwise I just paid $1,200 for a dumb computerized bike trainer.  After a little research (highly unusual for me), I signed up for Trainerroad.  It had over 800 bike workouts including full training plans ranging from Sprint to Ironman.  I started off with a 8 week base building program and then 6 week build and finally into a 6 week Ironman training program.  Some of the workouts were brutal and almost puke worthy.  In fact, later on in early summer I had to change my workouts to allow for more recovery.  I was hoping these V02 max workouts would translate into a faster bike split.

Heading into the final week before leaving to Mont Tremblant, I needed a bike tune up very badly.  In fact, the last tune up I had was a year ago.  I used Velofix the mobile bike shop.  Mike P gave great service and actually came back a couple of times so I emailed him and I got an "out of office" alert.  He later emailed me and said he would be back on Monday.  No problem, I was leaving on Thursday so plenty of time.  I didn't hear back from him on Monday so I emailed again.  No response.  I started to panic.  It would be almost impossible to get a tune up if I took the bike to a bike shop.  Because Velofix are franchises, I emailed another guy I knew of, Nick D.  At first, he was a little reluctant because I lived in Mike's territory.  I explained I emailed Mike twice and never heard back.  With that Nick came over and after a short 3.5 hours and $400 bill, he had my bike cleaned and ready to go.  I highly recommend Nick.

We arrived in Mont Tremblant on Thursday afternoon and booked the same place as last year.  We enjoyed it so much, we booked before we left, however this year, the room wasn't as great as we were in the basement/ground floor.  It was quite dark and gloomy.  We tried to change but everything was sold out.

One good thing about being on the ground floor is that the deer aren't shy and will come right up to our patio door.


One of the things I like about Ironman Mont Tremblant, is that I usually know a couple of people racing as well.  This year, Scobie, Peter A, Cathy S and Mike M were coming up.  Misery loves company.  And Sunday's weather looks like its going to be miserable.  The weather kept changing but it looked like it was going to rain...lots.

On Saturday, I met up with Mike M and we did a quick 23 minute bike ride up Ch Duplessis to the last big descent from the bottom.  I usually hit over 70 km/hr and did so this time.  I warned Mike to back off on the speed if it was raining.  After that, we did an easy 1,000 meter swim to the Kona Koffee Boat. The water was really chilly at first but after swimming a bit, it felt really warm and we weren't wearing out wetsuits.  I hate coffee but there is something about swimming 500 meters and having a coffee while treading water.