Friday, August 26, 2016

Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Recap - Bike Leg

Did you miss the swim leg? Check it out, here!

After running along the red carpet and into the transition area, I grabbed my bag and ran into the women's changing area.

I didn't take too much time getting my stuff on and my stuff from the swim into my gear bag, and I decided to wait until I got to my bike to put on my bike shoes since I hate running in them. As I left the transition area, I heard Mike's parents cheering for me and I got on my bike after the mount line.

Heading out for a 112 mile ride

Admittedly, we did not train much on the bike this time around. Last time we had over 3,000 bike miles before Ironman Louisville and this time we were around 1,600 bike miles. Also, we didn't train on hills as much as the first time around and Mont Tremblant's bike course is pretty hilly. I knew that it was going to be a challenge this time around and I was actually worried about being able to finish the bike leg.

Regardless of my doubts, off I went. The first few miles were uneventful and I even hit over 30 mph one of the miles! Then, maybe 3-6 miles into my bike leg it started to spit rain. We knew that rain could potentially be a factor but I had been hoping that it wasn't going to happen. Unfortunately, it didn't get better for a long time.

As soon as it started raining, I knew that I was going to be more conservative on the downhills. We had never ridden there before and wet tires are no fun! Montée Ryan had some hills, but they were going to be worse on the way back. Since this race was in Canada, we had kilometer markers every kilometer. It was tough to see those, since they happened ALL THE TIME!

Since Mike had a 15 minute head start on me and he is a better cyclist, I didn't know when I would see him. It was pouring already and I tried to keep my sunglasses on, but I was sick of wiping them off and I couldn't see anyway. I put them on my forehead for the rest of the bike leg. At around 20K, I saw Mike! I waved at him, but he didn't see me. I was a little sad, but I kept going.

The bike course is made up of numerous out and backs and I had a little ways to go to the first turnaround. I hate turning around on my bike, but luckily they all went fine!

I eventually turned around on 117 and then made my way back. I could tell I had a headwind, but it wasn't too bad yet. I just focused on moving forward and tried to get up the hills as quickly and easily as possible.

There was a section on the bike course that took us through Mont Tremblant and we rode by where we had dinner the night before! We went through another turnaround section and started to make our way back toward the ski village.  I still felt pretty good, but the rain was getting to me.

Montée Ryan on the way back had some tough hills, but I made it through. I went by the golf course (and must have missed my brother and sister-in-law) and rode by special needs on the other side of the road. After a right hand turn I made my way back to the bike start and kept going on Chemin Duplessis.

I can't quite remember when I saw Mike again (it was either Montée Ryan or Chemin Duplessis) but I did and this time I yelled out his name! He saw me and said, "oh hey" and we kept going. 

At the bridge where a lot of spectators hang out, I started to look for my family and Mike's parents. I hadn't seen anyone yet so I was hoping I would see someone soon. As I made my way past most of the spectators, I saw my mom and dad. They didn't notice me so I had to yell out for them!

As I started the up and down section of the course, things started to get a bit sketchy. Pretty soon cyclists on the other side of the road started to indicate to slow down and then someone said there was a crash. Not too long after an uphill I saw a bunch of people on the ground! I tried to go by them without getting in the way and then right after that I saw some people standing on the side of the road with broken chains.

From then on everyone was told to go slower and there was a lot of communication between other cyclists on both sides of the road. And then again not too long after, there was another cyclist on the ground being held by medical or a race official. Someone near me was looking at them and almost got in my way, so I told him to stop rubber necking and keep going.

I was admittedly a bit shaken up at that point, but I kept going. The hills were unrelenting and my legs were already tired. And I wasn't even halfway done!

Finally, after two really bad hills, I made it to the turn around. If it wasn't raining I could have pushed the pace, but as my luck would have it it started to POUR! I was really concerned since I was getting cold. I just told myself to get to the second loop and reevaluate how I felt then.

The way back, luckily, wasn't as hilly and I rode by my parents again. This time they saw me, but it was brief. After a small out and back with a turn around, I started my second loop.

I was in a dark place at this moment because other than Mike briefly and my parents briefly, I hadn't seen anyone else on the bike course. I was wondering where they were and I was contemplating dropping out since I was cold, tired and my legs hurt. The rain wasn't letting up either.

Mike on Chemin Duplessis

As I rode by special needs (bypassing it), I saw two people on the other side of the road near the golf course. And there they were, my brother and sister-in-law! They cheered for me with the biggest smiles on their faces, even though they had been standing in the rain for a long time, and on I went. I knew I couldn't let them down. I had to at least attempt to finish the bike leg.

I didn't hit over 30mph this time around on the downhills since the roads and my bike were so wet. There was a tailwind on the way out and I tried to use this to my advantage since I knew the way back would be more challenging. Right around the 20K sign, I saw Mike for the third and last time on the bike.

I kept going and made it to the turnaround on 117. I was happy that there were only two more turnarounds left!  The roads were really wet and I was cold and tired, but I kept going. I knew I was going really slow and I just tried to get the bike done.

I did ditch a water bottle at one of the aid stations before the turn around so that I could get more Gatorade. I also was worried about my chain because there were a few sketchy moments when I put my bike back in the big ring, it was crunchy and didn't switch over very quickly one time. Luckily, I never dropped a chain! My bike did not like how wet it was, though.

I rode by my brother and Hanna one more time and then made the turn for Chemin Duplessis. As I rode by my parents again, I told my dad that I was tired. He said he knew, but onward I went. I really did not want to do the hills on Chemin Duplessis again (and Mike later told me he didn't know how he would do the run after that part of the course). The hills killed me this time, but I didn't walk my bike on any of the hills like some other people did. It was still raining, but it seemed like it was going to let up. I worried about my legs, they were starting to lock up and I really didn't know how I would run.

After making the final turnaround (yay), I made my way back to the bike finish. My mom and dad cheered me on as I neared the end and I made my way to the dismount line. I got off my bike and handed it to a volunteer. I also took of my bike shoes and ran into the transition area.

I was worried at how heavy my legs felt, but I had to at least attempt the marathon.

Bike Leg (112 Miles) - Jamie: 7:39:36, Mike: 6:29:52
Transition 2 - Jamie: 4:25, Mike: 4:56


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