Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ironman Mont-Tremblant - a partial preview

While I am late in putting up my Ottawa Marathon race report, given the timing of Ironman Tremblant signup (Wed), I thought I'd do a quick write up / preview to share some images / datapoints about the course.  I know some of you are on the fence - hopefully this tips you to sign up!!

First, you know it is a very challenging course, which has been made relatively obvious by the elevation charts posted on the site.  The description, however, does not do the difficulty justice and I don't think anyone will argue about the course's and the region's beauty.

I'll attach some video of the bike course and swim out and pics of the region.  Hope you find them helpful.

Next 3 pics are a view of the village, with swim (lake) in background.  The swim out is between the island and the colored rooftops, about 300m from the T-zone, which is P1, or the big parking lot.  I have not heard if they will pave the transition area or put astroturf down, but it is sand today and totally inappropriate for a transition zone.  It'll be fixed, I am sure, but I don't know with what.

I am sure the majority of athletes will stay in the village - park your car for the week, let your family have fun at all the local mountain activities, and enjoy all the amenities you could ask for, right at your doorstep.

I didn't go to the B&T for a swim start photo - I'll be back and do that another day - but the start is about 400 - 500m from the transition zone, and a ways away from the swim out.   The beach is about 100m across and is beautiful sand, including the bottom of the lake until you start swimming.  Will be one of the best swim starts in certainly some of the best waters in the world.

Winds are usually calm in the morning so this should be a wonderful swim.  I've been out on the lake enough times to know it can whip into a frenzy on a moment's notice.  It is long and narrow and when it blows, it typically blows head on to the B&T.

Here's a pic of the swim out, which is only a few hundred meters from the T zone.  Beautiful spot, smaller than the swim start.

So, the bike...

I mapped the most technical parts of the bike course, from the T-zone out to the North Side of Tremblant and Lac Superior.  This road will be repaved, but that won't take the hills and corners away.  A few climbs are long, tough, turny.  The route shown is 13km and will have riders going anywhere from 5-6 km/h up, to easily 60-70-80 km/h on the way down.  There will be no time to eat, breathe, look at the scenery on this section.  Hang on to your bars, pay attention, and be amazed after you finish it.  I took some video of this section below - all three are from the return from Lac Superieure back to Transition.  Note - the route below shown starts at Transition and maps toward Lac Superieure.  I video'd on the return only.

Unfortunately, it is hard to see the hills in these vids - they were taken on my phone - but the first 9 km is either up or down.  Much more difficult than Muskoka 70.3, if anyone is wondering.

This next video comes up at approx the midpoint around the mountain and you can see Devil's River on the left (you will be tempted to stop and take a dip!).  Beautiful cool clean water.

Almost done the bike:

The other section of the bike is along Montee Ryan towards the 117.  I mapped only a piece of it as I had to turn off for home (parent's home, to be precise!, but it is described as 'relatively flat'.  I agree, the first few km 'aren't bad', the portion after I stopped mapping is consistently up or downhill - not acute like the route around the north side, but hill lengths of 500 - 700m, moderate grade.  This part reminded me of some of the Muskoka 70.3 hills.  I can't compare to Placid (never done it).

I'll have to get the rest on Montee Ryan and the 117 North another day, but those 2 portions are long long hills - especially turning right on the 117, it is uphill for several kilometers.

The run....

A mix of flat and big hills.  Leaving Transition, the run goes UP through the village at the base (under / beside the ski lift 'Cabriolet').  Here's a pic;

This part will be amazing as spectators cheer on from balconies, stairs, shops, patios, etc.  What a way to start the run, however, with close to 1km completely uphill.  Really?  Unfortunately....better spin those legs out well at the tail end of the ride and practice running hills during your bricks.

Looking down:

50% of the run course was part of my regular running route all winter long.  If you've read any previous entries, you'll know I've been coming here since I started work as a ski instructor in 1989 and lived the whole transformation from a single owner to Intrawest.  My kids are now in racing programs every weekend and I will likely be coaching my oldest this year (yes, I have another full time job (aside from IM training haha)).

I ran part of the IM course today as I went to watch the Tremblant triathlon today.  The majority of it is rolling hills and very very nice.  The section behind Lac Mercier is tough tough, a lot of steep hills, and some a few hundred meters long.  The last half of the trip around the lake is along the linear path (ran it today) and is naturally flat - it's the old railroad line and today, only a gas line runs below it and it is surfaced with fine granulars.  Trees / bushes on all sides...should be beautiful.

Sometime this summer, I'll map the whole run course and post it, with accurate profiles / elevations.

Hope this has been helpful / interesting.  Good luck signing up on Wednesday and if you are on the fence about this one, you have 14 months to get your ass in shape and hit that start line.  This is a course you will not regret (after you finish it haha!)