It’s hard to believe it’s already been a week since Ironman Mont Tremblant! While on vacation last week post race, I made sure to write down all of my memories right away so I didn’t forget anything. I never want to forget my first Ironman because it was SO amazing, in so many ways. I’m going to start today with the pre race recap, and will continue with the swim, bike, run and post race recaps. We were in Mont Tremblant for a full week, which gave me lots of time pre and post race to enjoy every minute of the experience!
It’s hard to put into words what a PERFECT location Mont Tremblant, Quebec is for an Ironman! Seriously, you cannot get much better than this place! From the beautiful mountains that surround you to the European feel, Mont Tremblant is truly a very special place.
Thursday 8/14: The Journey Begins… with a long car ride.
Todd and I left on Thursday morning for Mont Tremblant. We stuffed my car (small SUV) with my bike and basically everything in my house.. I am not a light packer and just imagine what this looks like for someone packing for an Ironman. I was so afraid of forgetting things that I literally packed everything x 2 (i.e. 2 HR monitors, 2 wetsuits, etc…) And then of course I bought stuff when I got to Tremblant.
The ride was about 7 hours (with a few stops along the way). We live in Massachusetts, so we drove north to New Hampshire and then up through Vermont until we hit the border. I had to drink extra water on Thursday, already getting ready for race day… this did not help with the pee breaks.
I had never been to Canada before, so it was exciting crossing the border! It took us about 4 hours from our house in MA to get to the border, and then an additional 3 hours in Canada. Once we entered Quebec we were greeting with a ‘Bonjour!’ sign. The excitement began…
As we got closer to Tremblant Village, Ironman logos/signs were popping up on the highway and backroads… super exciting!! I was finally here! We drove straight to our Bed and Breakfast, which was about 2 miles from the main village of Tremblant. The plan was to stay at the B&B for two nights (Thursday and Friday) and then move to the Condo for the rest of the week. The weather outlook was not very good for the Thursday and Friday (50’s during the day with rain and 40’s at night… cold!). I was really nervous for Sunday’s forecast since they were calling for a chance of rain. I tried not to think about it… but I seriously checked my Weather Bug App every single hour on the hour.
Our B&B, Auberge du Coq de Montagne was adorable! The cutest little couple greeted us at the door and they were so sweet! Their names were Nino and Kay and they made us feel right at home. At this point it was around dinner time and we were exhausted. We ate at a local restaurant (most of the food in Tremblant was just so-so and really expensive.. actually everything is expensive there). After dinner we got back to the room, and just relaxed. While browsing social media and #immt I got an itch to go to the race village. The village was so close by (under 3 miles) and knew I couldn’t fall asleep without checking things out! At around 10:00 PM we drove over there to see things set up and it was so awesome! Everything was set up for the Expo the next morning, but no one was around. The best part was seeing the finish line at night all lit up, so cool! At that moment things became very real to me. My eyes filled with tears as I got a preview of what my Ironman finish would look like.
Friday 8/15: Bib pick up, carb load, rain, rain go away, training sessions on the course!
Friday we were up bright an early and the carb loading began with French toast, fruit, total deliciousness at our B&B. Bib Pick Up opened at 10:00 in the village and we wanted to get there nice and early! Waiting in line wasn’t too bad and I met some nice people along the way.
One thing I love about these races is the people you meet… especially in my case, other first timers! While I waited in line for my bib, I met a guy in front of me who is 73 years old and has done 12 ironmans (he started doing them when he was 60! So awesome).
Once I got my bib and all my goods, it was time to go back to the B&B and get ready for my pre-race workouts. The plan was to get a 15 minute swim to test out the lake, a 30 min bike ride on the course and then a 15 minute brick run… all done at recovery pace. I wasn’t really looking forward to the bike part because it was 50 degrees and drizzling outside, yuck.
Swim Workout: Testing the waters
Once I got to the lake/swim start area, there were a bunch of other people warming up. There was a cute little boat house where we could change and leave our things while we swam. I put on my wetsuit and got in the water… my first thought was… chilly! The water hit my face and it felt cold, good thing for the wetsuit! Swimming for those 15 minutes was very relaxing and it was nice to just to get a feel for the water. Lac Tremblant is crystal clear and is surrounded by mountains… just beautiful!
Short Bike Ride: Testing the bike and race wheels in the cold mist.
After the swim, went back to our room and I got changed to go for my short ride. I must mention that it was around 50 degrees, cloudy and misting outside. I was not happy about the cold temperatures. I wore long sleeves on the bike and rode for about 25 minutes… just to make sure things were in working order. Some people rode the hilliest part of the course on Friday, I honestly didn’t feel the need (we drove it later instead!). I didn’t see the point in trashing my legs just to check out the hills on the course. I would see the hills plently on Sunday:)
Quick run on the run course
After the ride, Todd came with me on a 15 minute run on part of the run course… it was fun to get a little preview of everything! The place we were staying was on the run course, so that was convenient.
Once all my workouts were done, it was time to relax and do more carb loading.
That evening we attended the Mandatory Athlete meeting (being a first timer and all. I found it helpful, but there was nothing mentioned that wasn’t in the Athlete Guide. After the meeting, Todd and I ate a big pasta dinner while watching a concert in the village.
Saturday: More Carb loading, bike check, gear bag drop off, gondola rides and REST
Saturday was another cold, rainy day in Tremblant. The morning started early with breakfast at 7:30 with my QT2 Team! The team breakfast was just a few blocks away from our B&B at the Hotel Tremblant. It was fun to carb load with pancakes and toast while meeting fellow teammates. I even got to meet some of the QT2 pro’s which was really cool! Like Beth Shutt who placed 3rd PRO during the race and is super down to earth. Go Beth!
After breakfast, it was time to get all of my special needs and gear bags together. Honestly, the whole special needs bag thing was a little stressful. I had no idea what I was supposed to put in these bags (funny thing is, I didn’t even up taking either special needs bag during the race). In the bike bag I put extra chamois butter, shot blocks, sunscreen and in the run bag: extra gu’s, pretzels, tums, body glide. The good thing is, I didn’t have to put the special needs bags in transition until the morning AND I could also get into my bike and run gear… phew!
Once I had everything together, we headed back to the village/transition area (about a 5 minute drive) and dropped my bike and gear bags off. We had until 4:00 PM to drop everything off, but I wanted to just get it over with. At this point it was really raining out, so I put a few trash bags over my saddle and handlebars.
Once everything was dropped off, it was time to just RELAX for the rest of the day and put my feet up. I got to spend some time with my family/cheering quad who stayed at a hotel right in the village. One of our favorite things to do in Tremblant Village was to take the gondola ride from one end of the village to the other. So fun.. I could ride the gondola all day long.
That afternoon we had to move from our B&B to the condo across the street. Thank goodness for Todd and our friend Steve who moved everything while I sat on my bum. Once in the new place I just relaxed, watched TV, carb loaded and painted my lucky (Ironman) toes.
At around 9:30 it was definitely time for bed. The alarm was set for 3:00 AM since we planned on getting to the race site for 4:30 AM. I had to eat my pre race breakfast by 3:30 AM and I didn’t want to be rushed! Surprisingly, I didn’t have too much trouble falling asleep, which is crazy because it felt like Christmas as a kid/my wedding day combined in excitement.
Stay tuned for the swim/bike/run reports!