Riding with the wind. When I'm sad, she comes to me.
With the thousand smiles, she gives to me...

Fly on my little wing.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mt. Tremblant: 70.3 World Championship

Earlier this summer I qualified for the 70.3 Championships after my result at Muncie 70.3. I've never been to Quebec before but the course promised to have plenty of hills as well as cooler weather. Luckily my mom loves using my races as an excuse for FFF (Forced Family Fun), so it turned into a family affair. Dave and his wife as well as our friends Rob and Dani made up the rest of our motley crew (Great band!). 

Run Course Hill
I must say that getting to Mt. Tremblant was a long trip for us Michiganders so I'm not sure how those athletes from around the world (i.e. Australia, Europe...) manage. The area is beautiful and very French, which made navigating difficult, however almost everyone also spoke English. We arrived Friday at 3:15pm, managing to check in by the mandatory 4pm time. We noticed a few late athletes getting turned away and also saw Jan Frodeno walk by. It's cool that an Olympic Gold Medalist and race favorite just cruises around like an average dude.

On Saturday we previewed the bike course, which offered plenty of hills, generally longer in length than back home but nothing that I didn't feel prepared for. The run course was a two loop, with some gradual hills and one steep hill through the Tremblant village, complete with cobblestones! The run course promised to be challenging. I was pretty clueless how competitive the field would be here compared to Kona. I figured if I had a very stellar day I could maybe crack top 10 for my AG. That night I watched Talledega Nights to get some Ricky Bobby inspiration before hitting the hay.

I show off my Ironman strength. Dave isn't amused.
Swim Start

The forecast called for upper 40s race morning, with a high in the 60s. There were rumors of athlete whining about the cold, but it sounded perfect for me! I had my standard breakfast of Ensure Plus. There were wave starts with pros going off at 8am. Dave's wave was 8:12 and I was 8:40. The family stayed out of town, but Rob and Dani had a hotel right in the village, which was a perfect spot to chill out and stay out of the pre-race hoopla. Plus I didn't have to wait in a porta potty line!
I wandered to the swim start and got my self together. After receiving good lucks from my family I performed my warm up and then entered the cattle corral full of 25-29 year old bulls emasculated in their pink swim caps. In sticking with my classy facial hair theme from Muncie I had decided to sport some sexy chops for this race. Which made for a great pre race picture, with the rolling hills and fog in the background.

It was a beach start and I lined up second row, far right, hoping to grab some feet and get the swim done with. It was a pretty standard start and I tagged feet for the draft and swam comfortably. I exited in 29:33, my best swim to date. Which put me in good spirits as I ran past my cheering siblings. I made sure to give them a high five since they always give me crap how I "ignore" them when I'm racing. It is simply a focus thing. I'm not good at multitasking. Must be a Y chromosome thing.

T1 was efficient and uneventful. The bike course was heavier on the hills the last 10 miles, so my plan was to ride conservatively at 230W and push more at the end. They completely close off almost all of the bike course which was fantastic. One out on HWY 117 I noticed a few huge draft packs and really hoped the marshals would enforce the drafting rules on them. As I passed the first drafting tent and saw one athlete in it, I knew that wouldn't be happening. This was a big disappointment for me, but I can only control my race, not how others choose to. I won't waste more space on the matter.
Entering T2

I continued to ride within my ability, knowing a challenging run course was ahead. As I entered the last hilly section I noted my split and concluded that I should have pushed the bike harder. I finished off the last of my 700 calorie bottle and prepared for a solid run after splitting a 2:24 (226AP, 237NP).

I'll pretend this is a photo bomb.

T2 was uneventful and I set off on the run course to find my rhythm and run down as many people as I could. Since everything was in kilometers it required a little more thinking to convert my splits, but I managed to hold around 6:00 pace fairly comfortably. The two loop course was very crowded since our run lane was only about two people wide. I saw my family at some point and heard a comment about my, "Nice chops." I may have cracked a smile. As I entered town for the first jaunt up the cobblestone hill there were hundreds of people lining the street. It was awesome energy. I floated up the hill and tried to limit the quad damage on the steep downhill on to the second loop.

At this point I was feeling better than I should have at this point in the race, only having 10K to go. So I pushed a bit harder, having no idea where I stood in the field. I was very thankful for all the hill running I have to do around Northern Michigan. I mean the hill in front of my house is one of the steepest around.

With 2K to go I was set to leave it all on the final climb. I entered the village, made the turn and felt like it was the second lap of my 800m. I got caught up in the speed and continued gettin' it through the line. Which made for a better finish photo. I split 1:20:51 for a finish time of 4:20:46, 38th in my AG and 174th Overall.

"Air Guitar" Finish Photo

I got in the refueling buffet line to get some pasta, poutine and beer. For those who don't know poutine is a Canadian dish of fries, gravy and cheese curds. Very tasty. This was the first triathlon I completed that offered beer, so that's a gold star for the Canadians. However it just so happens that Sleeman Clear 2.0 lives up to his name. 4%ABV, 3g carbs and 83 calories. They should have served it on course.

We extended our FFF for a few days and did some hiking to waterfalls (a Canadian staple) as well as visited Montreal before dropping my sister off at the Ottawa airport and continuing our journey home. A trip that would not be complete without getting stuck in traffic.

Muscle Beach
As I reflect on my performance, I find myself breaking my always lofty goals down into two categories. On one hand goals are measured against the results of others and how you stack up. In that regard, for various reasons, I fell short. On the other hand part of a goal is performing your best and learning something in that process, in which case I was very successful. Every race experience gives you more tools to utilize for future races.

Family +1

I want to thank my parents and sisters for being part of my support crew as well as my special friend Brittany for continuing to put up with my moodiness and eccentricities. Rob and Dani for traveling a long way to cheer us on as well as the hospitality of their hotel pre and post race. Dave Smith for having a training partner and elevating my performances. Some special neighbors for supporting me monetarily as well others via speed cookies.

Rob, Dani and B-Nuts Shirts!

Also my main sponsor B-Nuts Trail Mix, which helps fund everything from entry fees and replacement tubes to property taxes and septic tank pumping bills. A special shout out to Laughing Clown Malt Liquor and my newest sponsor Julio's Thongs for Men. Top performance wear for all your racing needs.

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