Mont Tremblant, in Canada, hosted this year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship. It was the first time this race was hosted outside the U.S. and they really couldn’t have chosen a better venue. The town of Mont Tremblant is a ski resort in winter and triathlon heaven in summer. It is beautiful, with great paths for running, roads for cycling and lakes for swimming.
The days leading up to the race involved the usual taper niggles – my legs felt sore and I was completely paranoid about getting sick after having to DNF at Ironman Canada the year before (tip: Robs told me about Linctagon earlier in the year and I now swear by it – thanks Robs!). To make matters worse the weather was predicted to be cold on the day of the race, with a forecast of about 8 degrees at about the time I was due to start the swim.
On the morning of the race I felt good. I will always remember the excitement of standing on the beach prior to the start as an F15 (Canadian fighter jet) flew overhead and listening to the cannon as the pros lead off first, knowing that I was soon going to be in the same race as Gomez, Frodeno and many other great triathletes.
The start of the swim was pretty calm. Over time I have learned to keep away from the packs (in this case I kept left) and finding my own space so that I could set my own pace. Once in space I moved back towards the pack but on my terms. I exited the water after about 27 mins having felt comfortable the whole way and started the rather long run to T1.
I had decided not to wear a shirt under my wetsuit as I didn’t want to start the ride in the cold wearing a wet shirt. Big mistake. Putting on a cycling jersey while wet is not easy, so my T1 took a bit longer than planned. Eventually I managed to get the shirt on and headed out on the bike. The first 30k’s of the bike was a real draft fest with packs forming making it difficult to keep a legal distance from those around you.
The roads in Mont Tremblant are the stuff dreams are made of – they’re silky smooth and really comfortable to ride on. This meant that I could actually get in the zone and not have to worry about being bounced off my bike (unlike PE :-)). From 30 – 70k was great fun. I usually train to power but didn’t actually race to power I just tried to ride comfortably. The final 20k of the bike was pretty hilly with some rather steep gradients but nothing too bad. I finished the bike in 2:24 a bit ahead of my planned pace of 2:30 so I was pretty chuffed with that.
T2 was pretty uneventful and over with pretty quickly.
Shortly after leaving T2 I saw Xavier Gomez going the other way nearing the end of his race, it was pretty awesome to be out there on the same course as the best in the world – an experience which is unique to triathlon.
A highlight of the run for my was running past my Canadian family with my nieces and nephew (2, 3 and 4 years old) cheering go-G-go!! as I approached and for minutes after I left, all of them waving flags and ringing cow bells!
The run was 2 loops with a pretty insane hill towards the end of each loop (shorter but steeper than Bunkers in East London). While my swim and bike preparation for this race had been good my run had not as I had problems with my Achilles. This meant that I ended up walking some of the aid stations but still managed an ok run time for me of 1:45.
My total time was 4:44 which was a PB by a long way. I really want to thank my coaches and all those at MTD for all your support, but mostly I want to thank my triathlete wife Cindy, for putting up with my OCD and eventually deciding, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!