*** many thanks to Kara Moddemann for this race report ***
I arrived into Montreal on the Friday morning at 10am, and to my surprise they had registration closing on Friday at 4pm, even though the race was on Sunday! One of my former roommates and best friends lives in Montreal, so we packed up the car quickly and headed up to Tremblant which is a 1:45h drive from the city. I headed straight to registration as time was running out and picked up the race package. The rest of the day was pretty calm; we were staying in a chalet that was 10min-walking distance from the village so it was quite convenient to check out the action.
The next morning we woke up and it was quite rainy. I did my 45min easy bike and 10min easy run early in the day, and then set up my bike in the transition zone before noon. The bike transition was HUGE! The Athlete’s village was right next to the transition, so it was quite easy to pickup anything you needed (extra gear / bike repair etc). I think set up my run bag and placed it in the run transition which was right next to the bikes.
The morning of the race was quite cold (8 degrees C), I pumped up my tires, re-visited my transition bags to ensure all was there, and then headed down to the swim start which was a good 10min walk (800m) from the bike transition.
The swim start had a wave start every 2 mins for each age group. It was a run-in swim, and my category (W30-34) had approx. 118 competitors, but it didn’t feel too crowded. I found a few girls to pace myself behind and soon enough got into a good rhythm. I exited the swim (29:00mins, best time yet!), got my wetsuit stripped for me at the exit, and started on the 800m run to the bike transition. They had laid out a red carpet so it was nice and easy on the feet, and there were supporters lining the fence cheering you on every step of the way.
Off to the bike transition tent to get my bag, I sat on a chair which they had laid out for us and got out all my bike gear; helmet on first, then shoes, then wetsuit in the bag and finally put on the sunglasses. We threw our bags now with the wetsuit in them in a large pile and ran to our bikes.
Through the large transition with my bike and away we went. The bike course was quite hilly, not sharp hills like Pescara ITA, but more rolling hills with long descents and everlasting climbs. Everything was going smoothly, there were aid stations every 20km with Ironman Perform, water, bananas, gels etc. so I was never out of fuel, even though I dropped my Power Bar (1 of 2) in the first 20min of the race.
After the bike I felt like I had worked hard enough and was quite happy to stop :) They had volunteers to take our bikes from us as we entered transition and rack them for us, which allowed the athletes to go straight to the run transition and again sit down on nice chairs to put on our shoes / race bib etc.
The run course was different than the usual Tremblant course, they removed the 10km flat course and replaced it with a second loop of the village which was quite hilly. I had struggled with running over the last few months, GI and Achilles issues in Calgary. My goal for this race was to run sub 1:50 which is quite generous, and not re-injure my Achilles (big thanks to Jon Abrego at BR Medical Suits for his magic physio which enabled me to run in the first place!)
I started off slowly to get my rhythm going and let my legs adjust after having done 2:50 of a hilly bike course. There were fans ALL along the 10.6km loop course which was extremely motivating. Technically there were supposed to be aid stations every 2km, but I swear someone was offering me water / gel / etc every 500m. I had to stop consuming calories as my GI issues were acting up, but after 5km of running on nothing I started to feel better. By the 15km mark I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and increased my pace. Up a large hill lined by fans I started to close in on a few people in front of me. The last 2km down through the village was so motivating, I sprinted through to the end to finish the run in 1:54, giving me an overall time of 5:22. It wasn’t the sub 1:50 I was hoping for, but my Achilles were fine and overall I felt good. They had pretzels, chocolate milk and beer at the end, and I managed to meet up with my crew shortly after.
The Tremblant 70.3 race was to date one of the best experiences of my life. I proved to myself that we can really do anything, we just need to set a goal and work towards it. It might take a bit longer than hoped, but you adjust and learn as you go to continuously improve. Every swim, every bike ride and every run on the treadmill in the hot gym contributed to that day. Now I realize that it’s all about the journey to get there, the race itself is a fantastic reward, but the real work is in the routine we set out for ourselves months and months beforehand.
I encourage everyone to set the World Championships as a next goal. Tremblant was a fantastic venue; in my home country with close friends cheering me on, I couldn’t have timed it any better.
Now as JAY Z says: on to the next one!