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Ironman Mont Tremblant: Pre-Race

I have finally collected my thoughts about my experience at Ironman Mont Tremblant and I am able to write a bit about it.  I decided to break the post up into separate ones ( not sure how many it will be yet) because I don’t want it to be too long, but mainly because I damaged the ulnar nerve in both hands from gripping so hard on the bike and it really hurts to type right now!!

(One of the many signs my kid’s made for the race)

We arrived in Mont Tremblant early Thursday evening after a much longer drive than planned due to traffic in Montreal. My family immediately fell in love with the area as it is absolutely beautiful there. We stayed in the Village at Hilton Homewood Suites, which I highly recommend. Our room was much like a condo with a full kitchen, living room, bedroom & loft with a bed. There was plenty of room for me to spread out all of my gear and organize everything. We took it easy that evening, walked around and went to check out the Ironman Village that was set up and in full swing! It was a short 7 minute walk from our hotel.

(Mont Tremblant Village, on the left is the IM  Finsher’s Chute)

(My daughter & bike in our spacious room)

On Friday, I went to the athlete check-in. I was surprised at how long the line was, but it moved quickly and efficiently. There were several stations where they checked my ID, gathered insurance information, recorded my weight, gave me all my gear & special needs bags, & checked my timing chip. This process was a bit anxiety provoking as there were so many excited & nervous athletes crammed into a large room checking in at the same time. I chatted with several ladies that were doing their first Ironman, which made me feel a bit better.

After that process, I met my family and we went for a drive to checkout the bike course. The course is two 56 mile loops, so it took a little over an hour to drive. I am glad we did it, so I had some sense of what it all looked like before Sunday. When we got back, we went to the Athlete’s Dinner where Mike Reilly (the infamous voice of Ironman) was the MC and got everyone revved up for the race!

(Ironman Treats)

It was a good experience and it was fun for me to watch my kids take in the entire event. Next, we went to an outdoor concert and elaborate fireworks display put on for the Ironman participants and their families.  It was such a fun night and I was so happy that my husband and children were there taking in every moment of the experience with me!

On Saturday, I met up with a good friend who was there with her family as her husband was doing the event. She brought her wetsuit so we could go for a swim, which was such a nice way to alleviate any anxiety I was having about the event! She has been so supportive of my endeavor and has been a good listening ear when I needed to ventilate about my bike accident and injuries, so to have my final swim with her meant so much to me!  The lake is beautiful and was very calm that day, not to mention warm for Canada…71 degrees! I was glad that I had to wear a sleeveless wetsuit for the swim.

(Post Bike Smile)

(Tremblant Lake)

After the swim, I decided to go for a very short test ride on my bike. I was reluctant to do this as there was so much traffic and I didn’t know the area, not to mention that there is no bike lane and dozens of other people on bikes crowding the roads. However, I headed out and I am so glad I did because as I headed up a hill, I noticed a horrendous “metal on metal’ screeching sound from the race wheels that a friend had lent me.  The sound was so disturbing that it caused people to stop and glare at me!  That was it, I took my bike back up to our room and asked my husband to get my other wheels out of the car.  At first, he tried to talk me into getting them checked out, but I had to check in my bike by 4pm…it was 12:30 and I was stressed out to the max at this point. I ended up putting my stock wheels on my bike and going back for the same ride and everything was perfect!

(Have I mentioned how awesome my husband was during this process yet?  Totally Awesome!! I know Ironman training has damaged & even ruined some marriages, but oddly enough, I think it has strengthened ours to some degree. I could write an entire post about Ironman training and it’s effect on family life, but I just wanted to give the husband a shout out here for his incredible support).

Around 2pm, I headed down to transition to check in my bike and drop off my gear bags.

My husband & kids came with me, but were not allowed into the areas. First I took my bike & run gear bags into the huge transition tent and volunteers directed me where to put them. I could not believe the huge rows of bags, but how organized it all appeared.

I dropped each bag off and meticulously checked everything in it again to make sure nothing was missing. Then, I took my bike into transition. They checked the brakes on my bike & took a picture of it with the race #’s to make sure they could see them. Then, I took my bike in to rack it. There was a label with my name and number on the rack, very cool!
However, I was surprised at how tight the bikes were packed on the rack! I checked my bike, checked the tires, then proceeded to check it all 3 more times before leaving! After this, I headed back to the room to rest a bit, while my husband and kids went swimming.

We ate dinner very early for us (5:30pm) in the village at the Pizzateria, where apparently every other Ironman participant was also eating! 🙂 However, we loved our meals and the electric atmosphere! We got back to the room by 7:30pm. I packed up my Special Needs bags and laid out all of my race gear. I was in bed at 8:45 pm, the earliest bedtime I have had since I was 10, but I managed to fall asleep. I woke up briefly about every 90 minutes, and woke up for good at 3:45am.  RACE DAY, here we go!!!

Next up, The Swim 🙂

Angela Campos

Saturday 29th of August 2015

Thank you Scott! Yes, lots of *energy* buzzing all over the place! I really tried to stay focused and not let it stress me out too much. Mont Tremblant is so beautiful that I just kept reminding myself how fortunate I was to be healthy and participating in such an amazing event surrounded by such beauty! I really appreciate your comment, thank you so much!!

Scott Challender

Tuesday 25th of August 2015

Great write up, Angela. I always found the lineups at Ironman and at marathons to be a real stress test. I try to go off into my "happy place" and not get too caught up in the wait and what other folks are doing or saying, at times it can be a real energy drain if I let it get to me. I have watched a lot of folks melt down as they go through the check in process as they see what other folks are riding, wearing, etc and they start to doubt themselves. I always find the best approach is to just stay within myself, trust what I have learned, trust my training and do my own race. There is a ton of great energy surrounding events like these, the trick is to first know the difference between the negative energy and the positive energy, feed off the positive and block out the negative. At least that has been my experience. I look forward to reading about the rest of your experience, so motivating and inspirational to follow along.