Tremblant had some highs, some lows, and some tough lessons that highlighted a lack of preparation in my training for the race.
- Lisa and I arrived in Tremblant Friday around noon. We wanted to make sure we got there in good time to pre-ride the final climb.
- I still only have 1 chainring gear, and I had switched it to a 50T from 46T. The 50T meant I would have more top end speed, but it would be tougher to climb. I wanted to ensure I’d be able to make it up the climb. The ride went well.
- That afternoon we got in a little swim as well. I was feeling good and ready.
- On Saturday I got up early and watched some of the 5150 race.
- Next was an early lunch of pasta and garlic bread, and then bike check-in.
- My rear derailleur wasn’t shifting the greatest, so a big thanks to Todd for getting me sorted.
- Bikes were checked, we listened to the athlete briefing, and were having another meal of pasta (this time with some lean ground beef) and garlic bread, and in bed around 9:30.
- Saturday afternoon and evening I made sure to drink lots of water and Gatorade.
- Saturday night I got a pretty good night’s sleep and got up around 5:15AM.
- I had a bagel with almond butter and honey for breakfast, and started on some water and Gatorade.
- At about 6:00AM Lisa and I headed down to transition. I pumped up our tires and looked over the bikes before returning to the condo to drop off the pump and tools. The chairlift was running so it was nice to be able to take that up and down the village.
- Transition closed at 7:15AM but my start wasn’t until 9:12AM (Pros went off at 8:00). This meant I had a lot of time to relax before the race start.
- I worked my way through a bottle of Gatorade and ate a honey cruller donut (tradition) as I waited.
- I did a short warmup just before 9:00AM and then got into my coral.
- I lined up in the front row of the swim about 1/3 of the beach over from the buoy line. I had done a lot of work on my swimming and I was excited to see improvements.
- There were no nerves at the start, this could have been because I was waiting so long to start, I was just anxious to finally get started.
- The horn went and I ran into the water. I clearly lack some open water skills because I didn’t have a great start. I seemed to get caught up in the water and the people around me over the first 100m before I was able to really swim.
- My wave was wearing red swim caps and as I progressed towards the turn I noticed that I was beginning to pass red caps.
- When I got to the first turn it was a little congested because there were a couple swimmers from an earlier wave holding onto the buoy.
- I felt like I was swimming relatively straight and was doing a good job navigating around slower swimmers.
- After the turn towards the swim finish I had a little more trouble sighting. I was trying to spot the swim finish, but was never able to see it.
- I exited the water happy with my swim, but not sure of my time.
1.9k Swim – 28:01, 1:28/100m, 5th AG, 63rd OA
- Coming out of the water I made immediate eye contact with a wetsuit stripper and was able to get out of my wetsuit fast.
- As I made the run towards transition I was able to pass a number of people.
- I had decided I wasn’t going to leave my shoes clipped into my bike after doing some practice and having trouble getting my feet into my shoes comfortably. Instead I put on my helmet, grabbed my bike and shoes and ran towards the exit.
- Just after the mount line I leaned my bike against the fence, put on my shoes, and then took off.
T1 – 3:19
- I was in the 20th swim wave of 21 in a race with 2600 people. This meant that there were A LOT of people on the course in front of me. There were going to be a lot of people for me to pass!
- Almost immediately I began to have to caution people “On your left”.
- My goal was to hold 270-280W but very early I knew this was going to be very difficult to do. The course was really congested, riders were all over the road, and the speed discrepancies meant that I was going to have to be careful when making passes.
- For a long stretch on Monte Ryan on the way out to the 117 the road is quite narrow. Once we got out onto the 117 things opened up a bit, but there were still lots of riders across the road. I had to sit up and use my brakes a lot more than I would have liked. To be fair, just because I was travelling faster than them doesn’t mean they didn’t have the right to be on the left, they too could have moved to left to pass a slower cyclist.
- After initially feeling some frustration about this I let it go because getting worked up about it wasn’t going to help, and it was something everyone moving through the field was going to have to deal with.
- My plan for nutrition was to eat ½ (70cal) of a waffle every 15 minutes. I would eat 6 halves, beginning at 0:15 into the bike. Then I’d take a gel (100cal) at 1:45, and that would be the last thing I’d take until I’d get to the run. I also planned on drinking 3 bottles of Gatorade (180cal each). Though I hadn’t really practiced this plan this year it’s what I did last year so I figured it would be good. It wasn’t.
- About 1:00 into the ride my stomach began feeling full. After I ate my last half waffle 1:30 into the bike my stomach was really tight. From that point on I finished the Gatorade I had on my bike but I wasn’t able to even think about stomaching the gel I planned on taking.
- Despite my stomach not feeling great for the final 45 minutes of the ride, my legs still had good energy. I felt like I still had a lot of power in my legs along Monte Ryan as I headed towards the village, and continued to have good power through the toughest part of the course, up Chemin Duplessis. Because of my limited gear range I was forced out of the saddle in this section.
- Throughout the ride I wasn’t watching my power nearly as closely as I normally would. This was mostly due to the amount of passing I was doing, I felt like I needed to be alert and ensure another rider wasn’t moving left as I moved passed them.
87.6k Bike – 2:16:34, 38.7km/h, 1st AG, 17th OA, 256W AP, 270W NP, VI 1.055, Max 20 minute AP 276W. GARMIN FILE
- T2 was uneventful. I was able to smoothly dismount my bike and found my spot on the race. Helmet off, shoes on, and I put on my race belt and watch as I ran out.
T2 – 1:12
- Starting my run I could feel I might be in trouble. The top of my stomach felt like it was in a tight knot. Despite this I did my best to leave transition running hard.
- Last year on a couple of big workout days my stomach wasn’t feeling great for the first 5k, but got better after that. My goal was just to do my best to push through the first 5k and hope I felt better.
- That didn’t turn out to be the case. My stomach only continued to tighten, and it was really hot. At aid stations I would pour water and ice over my head and down my shorts to try to stay cool. I’d also run with ice in my hands. I tried to take in Coke at one aid station, but I quickly realized that was a bad idea and gave up on the idea of take in any more calories for the rest of the race. I tried water at a couple aid stations, but even that didn’t sit well.
- As I continued to run my mindset changed from racing to just making it to the finish. My pace quickly deteriorated, and I wasn’t even looking at my watch anymore.
- Around 11k someone ran past me, who I later learned was in my AG, and ultimately won it. He tried to urge me on to make a race of it, but I had nothing.
- Two more athletes ran past me before I made it to the finish. This was a bit of a blow to my ego. Last year I took pride in solid run splits and always moving up on the run. Perhaps I was a little too confident in my run, overlooking how important nutrition, and specifically proper nutrition testing/preparation is to a good run.
21.1k Run – 1:30:26, 4:17/km, 2nd AG, 20th OA. GARMIN FILE
- After the race the thought of eating or drinking anything still didn’t sound appealing. I found a shaded patch of grass to lay on and poured cold water over myself.
- Eventually I made my way to the massage area. The friendly French-Canadian masseuse let me know “Your calves have very little tension, like you barely ran.” Thanks!
- After my massage I got a plate of food from the tent, but still nothing was appealing to me and I barely picked at it. It wasn’t until a stop at Harvey’s around 7:00PM that evening that I ate (angus burger and frings).
- Overall I’m neutral about my result. I definitely feel I could have done better, but it also could have gone much worse.
- I have some positives to take away. Namely, a 28:01 swim! This is by far my best swim in a triathlon. I’ve been putting a lot of work into my swim this year and it’s great to see it pay off.
- I also rode my fastest 70.3 bike split to date, but with the congestion my power was much lower than I’d hoped for, and I don’t think a good bike split really counts if you don’t back it up with a run.
- Moving forward I know I need to sort out my nutrition. The heat could have played a factor in my nutrition issue, but even at that I need to learn what I need to do to adjust in hot conditions.
- In the next couple weeks I’m thinking of doing either Muskoka 70.3 or a simulation day. Whatever I choose to do I think my first nutrition experiment will involve taking in less calories per hour on the bike. (I expect I am on the high end of calories for triathletes. I always saw this as a positive, because it meant I had more fuel, but if I’ve got too much I’m not able to digest all of it)