*** many thanks to Mike Bermingham for this race report ***
Ok its almost two week since Ironman and my race report is overdue.
What a difference a year makes, Last year I scheduled my work around training and had an Amazing inaugural race at Tremblant achieving a PB by almost 30 minutes (11:07) and this year had almost no time for training in the first part of the year, then a move 1/2 around the world to Dubai which had its own training challenges.The focus became on having "FUN" and enjoying the day. I even broke my usual "no or wine or alcohol 2 weeks before the race" rule.
Arriving in Mont Tremblant the Thursday before the race the town was already buzzing with the excitement of the race. The registration volunteers were great and the process went quickly. Went for short ride Friday morning ( 2nd time on my tri bike since leaving Canada in May) and had my first hill climb in as long. Saturday morning went for a short swim, which my first swim in my wetsuit this year. On the way in from the swim stopped at the swim up cafe and had a FREE Espresso and Snack while treading water. Followed the swim with a short run and finished up feeling really good. Maybe the race was going to be better than expected.
It was time to rack the bikes and drop off our transition bags. On the way, my back tire blows splitting the tire itself. I did not have spare tires this year, so I went to the bike shop at the Expo and decided to have them switch the front and back tubes and tires to be safe. They were busy and getting it done before shutting down the bike drop off was going to be tight, but they did it.
My brother Jim Bermingham cooked us up a great pre-race dinner of BBQ salmon with red wine sauce with brown rice and veggies. We were set and had a good night sleep.
Next morning we walked the 1.5 K down to the bikes, dropped off our nutrition. After pumping up my tires I checked them and the bike shop had not put them back on correctly. The front was only 1/2 into the drops and the back tire was rubbing on the frame as it was a higher profile tire than the previous one. Quickly back over the the bike shop, luckily our volunteer friend Carrie was there and got me to the head of the line to get it adjusted.
We walked backed the 1.5 K to the swim start and got our wetsuits on. We were ready. This year they tested a wave start, being 50 I was in the last wave of men with the two waves of women behind me. I don't know if it was the possibility of having some young women swimming over top of me if I was slow, but my swim was much slower than expected. It had been my best part of my training and I had set new PBs throughout my training. Oh well, slower than last year but it was a beautiful swim, but nobody swam over me.
Out the water and to the wetsuit strippers then I was on my way along the red carpet through a tunnel of screaming supporters. Felt like a rock star! Into the tent, handed my bag and headed over to the chair changed and the volunteer packed up my wet suit and I was off on the bike.
The course has about 1700 meters of climbing but the flow from the downhills to the uphills made it seem much less. It is a two loop course, part highway, a section through town with more screaming supporters, back towards the transition area and then an out and back climb and descend. I felt pretty good after the first loop. On the second loop the wind really picked up on the highway section. I was looking forward to having that wind at my back after the turnaround, BUT, the wind shifted and we were into the wind on the way back. At one point a helicopter essentially pulled up beside us and even made it windier, but it was a cool experience. I tried to pass on an uphill and got caught in the wind and a referee gave me a yellow card for blocking. It was supposed to be a two minute penalty, but he came back once and said just stop sign in and go, then he came back again and said "forget the whole thing" The second time through the major hill climb was tough. By the time I finished the bike I was a little light headed and my legs were heavy.
I started the run and it took me about 6K to get my legs, much longer than last year. On the run it was nice to see so many of the first time Ironman that I knew and followed their training from the IronCanucks. I started to feel better and the decision to fuel the entire race with Hammer Perpetuem was paying off. Coming down the chute to start the second loop through another a tunnel of screaming supporters really energized me. I did the math I would would really have to pick up the pace and have a negative split to come in at twelve hours. As I was coming up the first hill I was surprised to see my wife Diane running up the hill. Diane had even more training challenges than I had and was only going to do the swim. I had seen her on the bike, but never expected to see her on the run. We did the usual hug and kiss ( we have done all 4 Ironman's together) and I was off determined to come in at 12 hrs. I felt good , energized and picked up the pace. I spoke to a few runners a long the way, thanked the volunteers and had a fun run. Passed Diane on the return, hugged and kissed again, and off to the finish. Coming down the shoot I was hooting and hollering and the supporters were responding. It was amazing! Crossed the finish line at 12:00:07 feeling great. Two volunteers chased me down and brought me to the med tent to be verified "OK" and I was off to get some food and BEER. My brother Jim who has been to all of my Ironmans was there with my change bag. My neighbours, Kathleen and Richard who had to come to cheer were there too with their two kids and my son Brad. A great greeting! In the end I had no stomach for the food or the Beer so I handed it off to Jim. We walked back to the condo, I showered, had a bit to eat, some wine and returned to watch Diane in come in. Diane came in at 16:44 smiling as always.
I really recommend Ironman Mont Tremblant to anyone who wants to have an AMAZING Ironman experience. Some of the pros have blogged that it is the best event they have been to. I think I will be taking a break for at least a year from the Iron distance. The focus for next year will be the Boston Marathon ( as long as I get in as I think registration is going to be crazy this year).