Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Mont Tremblant 70.3 Pre-Race (1)

*** This is a companion piece to the Mont Tremblant Ironman 70.3 Race report published previously.  it seemed more important to write first about the race itself, since it would be several weeks until I got this posted. ***

With my dependents in the van, our gear in the overhead carrier, and my racing bike on the back, we headed out before dawn Thursday morning.  The weather that week had been very hot and humid.  We ran the air conditioning on full for most of the trip.  Everyone was advised that this was to be a low-expenditure trip, so they shouldn't expect to see us pull into a plaza of fast-food restaurants and have everyone stick out their hand to dad for funding.  It was Tim Hortons bagels for lunch.  The big expense was for the lodging, so everything else would be done on the cheap.  The drive went smoothly, with a range of music, and a couple driver changes.  My squire Jennifer happily got a long turn at the wheel.  
Bike in back


Jennifer was driving the leg from Ottawa to Mont Tremblant.  We were headed off the edge of my Ontario map, but the highways shown made it seem that route 315 would be the most direct.  What a nightmare.  It turned into a twisty gravel road through the hills.  For many kilometers it went on with steep drop-offs to one side or the other of the road, and hills and turns obscuring the way ahead.  She wasn't impressed with my navigating.  It was like one of those Google Maps blunders that gets the family stranded in the woods and eaten by the mutants.  Except that the occasional farm was well-kept and presentable.  And there were routine signs indicate school-bus stops.  It must take the kids hours every day to ride this road.  The gravel put a heavy layer of dust all over the bike.
Gravel road to nowhere

It's hilly around here

We arrived at the check-in center around 2pm and got our condo assignment.  Official check-in is at 5, so on a busy day we might have had to wait.  Stepping out of the car was into the oppressive heat.  The unit was basic quality, so it was not equipped with air conditioning.  Perhaps you normally don't need that around here, but today, as with the week preceding, was over the edge.  I got the code for the WiFi.  Maybe some internet would take their minds off the heat.  We doubled back up Mont Ryan road to the supermarket at St Jovite for supplies.  The unit is over $200 a night, but doing your own cooking makes up for that compared to restaurants.  Also, it was important to me to keep tight control over what I ate, so I would be in peak readiness for the race on Sunday.  The condo was gorgeous, with a high vaulted ceiling in the living room, a good-sized TV, and clean bathrooms. It didn't have the two single beds I signed up for, so the girls would be sharing the king.  A king is huge, so they wouldn't be near each other.  All of the condos were set up with the balcony facing downhill toward the lake and the ski hill.  It was about a 10-minute walk to the resort village.  We did a quick reconnoiter that night.  They were still doing construction.  The new pavement for the bike course is going to be sweet!
Construction Thursday

Bike racks

Friday morning, the alarm rang for me at 5.  The early mornings were a part of race prep.  With my dependents all still asleep, I headed out to hike up the ski hill.  Initially, the trail was shallow enough for an easy jogging pace.  Trying to maintain that was unreasonable, and by the time I got to half-way I was vomiting into the grass.  Then came the steep part.  It seemed like a slow plod up the top half of the hill, but my heart rate was nevertheless maxed out.  These were diamond ski runs, steep enough to require occasional hands-and-knees scrambling.  It was a marked trail, intended for this purpose, but the warnings to bring plenty of water were correct.  It was quite a workout.  There was hardly a breeze at the foot of the hill, but up here, a cool wind served to dry the sweat.  
The resort's pedestrian village from above

Climbing day

Almost to the top

For someone accustomed to the flatlands of Upper Canada, this view was tremendous.  The gondala wouldn't start operation for a few more hours, so the trip downhill was also by foot.  
The dreaded Lac Superieur


Enjoying the view

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