Ironman 70.3 World Championships
We had three club members in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada – that’s 3 more than most UK clubs. The UK had 95 athletes participating – dwarfed by the USA and Canada ( back to them later). The venue was a perfect example of iconic Canadian scenery ( bleats the proud author) – tall pines, large granite mountain passes; glistening lakes and azure blue skies. It is also a ski resort ( more of that later too). Debbie, Glenda and I shared a condo/hotel which was a lot of fun. The best thing about these events is meeting so many really great, interesting like minded people, who share the same passion as you – spouses best to stay clear.
I had had a good week with my family in Ontario – and arrived to find Debbie and Glenda mixing with the Dubai contingent ( who were at a loss in the condo as they are not used to making their own meals). A pre-race highlight was an invitation only breakfast down by the race beach – tables laden with pancakes, muffins, juices etc and with a line-up of pro’s to share their thoughts and tips. Jodie Swallow was delighted to talk to the English girls. We duly took note as to when ‘she was going to make her move’.
Race day was not as cold as predicted. The event kicked off with Canada’s equivalent of the red arrows. The swim was straightforward but I am still trying to persuade my family that I was pushed off course by the waves. Debbie did her usual brilliant swim in a swift 33 mins. The bike course was billed as rolling. I have found it hard to descend following my accident prone 6 months – but a few of my Saturday club colleagues would have been as surprised as me to see me on my bars descending - the roads were so straight and smooth. I saw one person with a puncture - the other one was Glenda which was, as you all know, bad luck. She lost a good chunk of places due to this. Debbie’s chain came off several times – which likewise added time ... and stress. Meanwhile, with Jody Swallow, in mind, I was to make my move on the steep hilly section of the last 18km. Well that was fine for a pro – but by that point I just continued doing the same thing. The run was very hilly - 2 loops – that was 2 times going up the steep incline into the resort – and each of the other ‘inclines’. I was grateful to a same age competitor who pushed me the last 4 kms – she prevailed – but she made me hurt a bit more. Glenda has been suffering from Achilles tendonitis but benefitted hugely from on site ART therapy - enabling her to not only complete the run but to make up time after what would otherwise have been a stonking bike split. I have done these champs 3 times over the years and never been in the top 10, at this distance – so I was delighted to finish 9th. For those cynics that think us old gals have an easy ride – the winner of our age group was faster than most of those in 2 age groups down. Glenda and Debbie finished 28th and 34th, due to their respective bike mishaps. The Canadians and Americans cleaned up across all age groups – especially females – only 2 age groupers were in the top 10. I sat beside the club captain of Thames Turbo on the return flight and he did the race of his life – to finish 68th – with more than 40 of them in a couple of minutes of each other. The Tremblant long course events have a reputation as being a notch above others in the IM calendar. The first 70.3 world champs outside of the USA and in Tremblant didn’t disappoint. Next year – Austria – first time in Europe – a good target for many of you.