On Wednesday, Jennie and I dropped off Bailey at my mom’s and headed off. Our plan was to make it to Toronto (roughly the halfway point) and stay there for the night. The drive went great and we made it into Canada without issue. It only took 15 minutes to cross the border and I had a nice chat with the CBP officer. I declared the bottle of scotch (Macallan 12) in the car and the officer jokingly wanted to confiscate it.
We had an awesome place to stay in Toronto thanks to our friend Rebecca who was doing her first IM at IMMT. She had a friend who let us cra
sh in the guest suite of their apartment building for cheap. After battling the traffic in Toronto (8 lanes of traffic and it still comes to a standstill???), we made it. We settled in and then decided to find dinner. After walking around, we ended up at the Monk’s Table. It was a great little pub and the food was absolutely delicious.
We got up first thing in the morning and headed off the rest of the way to Mont-Tremblant. The drive was pretty boring with not much to see and we made it without incident. We actually made great time due to the seemingly lax enforcement of speed limits in Canada. Apparently, “Maximum 100kph” is merely a suggestion because you are bound to get rear ended going that slow.
Along the way, this happened.
Note the speedometer. I pulled over and stopped to take the picture.
One of the reasons we wanted to get to Mont Tremblant on Thursday was so that I could do athlete check-in then. We had plenty of time so we checked into our room and then went to the athlete check-in. I finally got my super cool Ironman backpack! So much better than the cheapo drawstring bags they gave out last year.
After check in we headed straight to the IM store. Like IMWI, I bought all my stuff ahead of time and then put it in the corner until after the race. I ended up buying quite a bit less than IMWI, but made sure to get a new M-dot frisbee for Bailey.
After checking into our hotel, we checked out The Village a bit.
Even our hotel was flying the Ironman flag.
The view from our hotel balcony. We had probably one of the best views in the entire resort. The run course ran right between our hotel and the Marriott through the Merrell banner. The finish line was just behind the trees.
Further up The Village were more rental places, shops, and hotels. You could either walk up the hill or take the free gondola to the top.
After walking around for a bit, we headed back to the hotel. I walked out on the balcony and there was Jon and Beth walking up. It was bizarre because even though we have never met in person, it was like greeting an old friend. Jon was staying in the same hotel as us and Jeff was right across from us in the Marriott. (Note: If you are thinking of doing this race – and I recommend that you do – go with the Marriott. It is the same price as the Country Inn and you get free WiFi. Otherwise, both hotels were great)
The view from the free gondola that takes you from the bottom to top of The Village.
Jennie and I had to do some grocery shopping so we headed into town to shop. What an experience. We knew that the primary language is French but never really fully understood how that would effect us. Ever try shopping where everything is in a different language? It was like being a little kid again when you couldn’t read labels. Thankfully, after lots of guessing, we found the items we needed.
Once everyone was checked in, we decided to meet up do a family style dinner. Jeff and Annie hosted and everyone brought supplies for a pasta dinner. My buddy Steve who was doing his first IM joined as did this crazy girl from Caratunk. So freaking amazing to finally meet Mandy. Beer, pasta, salad, bread, and chocolate desserts – what a great way to kick off the weekend
Friday morning kicked off with a warmup swim. It was my first visit to the lake and WOW! what an amazing swim venue. The lake was gorgeous. Calm, clean, clear water. The water was about 22*C (72*F) which made for a great wetsuit temperature.
Our swim warmup group. Beth is hardcore and still kicks our butts without a wetsuit.
We basically just swam out 10 minutes and then floated around and just talked about how amazing the water was. It was great to to just stretch out and get the muscles moving a bit.
After the swim, I headed back to my room to start to lay out my gear. I used my checklist from IMWI to remember what I needed in each bag. I like getting this step out of the way so that I am not rushed on Saturday when we have to drop off the bags.
I wanted to do some course recon so Jon took me out on a preview of the Lac Superior loop of the course. He had done the 70.3 race in June so I figured I could learn from him. This loop is about 22k and is arguably the hardest part of the course. Lots of short steep climbs that you have to do at the halfway point of the race and then again at the end.
Beth brought her bike along as well and joined us for the ride. We took it pretty easy on the ride just getting a feel for the course. I’m glad that I did the preride because my bike was making some funny noises. I adjusted the wheels a bit and got it all taken care of. We got to the turn around and chatted a bit before heading back. Along the way, it started to rain and we got dumped on. The ride back was a lot easier than the ride out. Less climbs and lots of screaming downhills.
After riding it, I was really comfortable with the course and feeling confident. While I knew the hills were going to hurt – especially on the second loop – they weren’t much different than the climbs I am used to. For any locals out there, it wasn’t much different than riding Egypt Valley from Pettis to Cannonsburg.
After lunch, Jeff and I met up for a quick run. We just did an easy 10 minutes out and back. We actually spent more time exploring a waterfall than running. The waterfall may or may not have been on private property but neither of us knew how to translate privé into English.
Post run, it was finally time to kick up the feet a bit and spend some time around the pool with Jennie.
The athlete dinner is one of those things that every Ironman athlete should experience at least once. I went at IMWI and toyed with skipping this time. However, Jeff and Annie were going with Dave and his wife Jenn because it was his first Ironman. Steve and Rebecca were also going to be there so I figured that at the very least it would be fun to hang out with everyone.
They opened the dinner with this crazy drum procession. These musicians were amazing. They played for about 10 minutes and the crowd was going wild.
The food was the standard athlete dinner fare. Nothing too fancy. The actual presentation they did seemed to take forever though because everything was done twice – once in English and once in French.
After dinner, we met back up with Jon and Beth. There was going to be a fireworks show so we headed over to balcony to watch them. Again, our hotel room and view was amazing! This race certainly pulled out all the stops to make it an event to remember.
Saturday morning kicked off with a short run with Jennie to wake up the legs. We ran out on the run course a bit before turning around and heading back.
We ended up back at the waterfall that Jeff and I had discovered the previous day during our
After the run, it was time to go check the Black Rock into transition and drop off gear bags.
For some reason (they claimed security purposes), they took a picture of everyone’s bike as we entered transition. I suspect that there is some sort of marketing angle here and that they will go through and count how many Cervelo’s there were, or how many people had Zipp wheels, etc.
Somewhat ironically, they also had a booth to get your M-Dot or Ironman tattoo photographed as well. I guess that solves the debate over whether or not the WTC condones the use of their logo as a tattoo.
The racers and the spectators. Bonjour!
Ok, now this is random. Over the course of the weekend, there was a group of street performers making their way around The Village. This guy, a mounty, was walking around with his “horse” that would “neigh”. He would stop and salute people in the Village. He was pretty hilarious.
After lunch, we met up with everyone for a trip to the top of Mont Tremblant. Our hotel reservation included tickets on the gondola to the top so we couldn’t pass it up. It was about a 10 minute ride up in an enclosed gondola.
Probably my favorite picture from the mountain. I am really not trying to rip Jennie’s head off, I was just trying to keep her hair from blowing in my face and making a frustrated cry as it blew back in my face.
Being 2,871’ above the village wasn’t quite enough so we headed up to the observation deck for an even better view.
From the top we could see everything. The lake below is where the swim would take place. We started at the top left, swam to the right, across, and then back left going around the peninsula. The Village is located at the bottom of the picture (the colorful roofs).
One thing that was cool to see was the shadows of the clouds on the mountains. It almost looked like the trees were just a darker color of green until you looked closely and noticed the shadow moving.
After our trip down the mountain, Jennie and I headed back to the hotel to cook our pre-race dinner. We brought some pasta from home so all we needed was some lettuce and a fresh baguette.
Fresh baguette. Check!
After dinner, it was time to hit the hay. There was a little race to do in the morning.
Stay tuned for the swim report!