2 days after Tremblant 70.3, and all I can think of is that all of the hard work, dedication and sacrifices I’ve made are now paying off. This season so far has been great for me with a solid performance at Florida 70.3, the Rev3 30-34 Age Group Series win and a 6th place at the Ottawa Race Weekend Half Marathon, but those were nothing compared to my past performance in Tremblant, Quebec. That performance has solidified a level of confidence in me I knew was always there but it just reaffirmed it for me.
There are too many things to say about how great Tremblant is, but, in short, the place is awesome!!! Organization, location, volunteers, pre-race training... you name it, it’s got it! This was the third edition of the 70.3 race and also my third attempt at pushing myself! I’m lucky enough to have access to a condo on the hill year round, which helps with course knowledge and training... gotta thank the in-laws for that!
Pre-race activities are the same as usual. Coach Phil has me doing my regular race week workouts and I stick with my routine meals of Steak Thursday, Pasta Friday and Pizza Saturday! As usual my main sponsor, Dad, was with me for the race, but I was lucky enough to have my wife and mom join us this time. Their support means everything to me.
Up at a reasonably early time, I got my morning fuel in with a nice big cup of coffee and made my way to transition with a good 30 minutes to spare. After making sure everything in transition was in order and ready to go, we made our way to the swim start to watch the Pro men and women take off. Unfortunately our swim wave was one of the last, meaning that there was a long wait before starting, but there’s not much you can do about that. After a quick swimming warm-up, I walked under the blue arch and set at the front of the line. As the horn went off it was go time. I promised myself that this race was going to hurt the entire time, and that it did. The swim was very congested at times, making it a little difficult to find room and having to maneuver around swimmers often. It was the same for everyone, so I thought, Let’s just go with it and push the pace. The entire swim I was feeling great and was able to hold a strong rhythm. Getting to the end of the swim with my first foot strike on the beach, I knew this was going to be a good day. Trying to run the long transition as fast as I could, I got to my bike, helmet on, wetsuit off, ran to the bike mount and started pushing.
“ALL OR NOTHING” is something I thought about as soon as I got on the bike, and I have to thank Josh Amberger for that because of the time when he had a discussion with Sebastian Kienle. Don’t hold back on the bike and push hard like you do during training. I’ve become very familiar with myself and know where the breaking point is so on the Tremblant course I made sure I was right on the tipping scale!! It’s very difficult knowing where you are at when racing with 2000 other athletes starting at various times, so the easiest thing to do is to bike hard and GO! And that’s exactly what I did. Close to the turnaround a fellow LifeSport athlete and competitor, Nicholas Courville, caught up and led for a good chunk but ended up fading a little towards the end. Right to the bike dismount it was go time, even in the hills during the last 20k. Strong bike and ready to run like we’ve done in training.
Out of T2 it was time to prove to myself that I can run hard off the bike. It’s been done during training, so why not now? 1k, 2k, 4k, 10k went by through the initial hills and flatter parts of the course and I was holding a solid pace. At the start of the run Coach Phil let me know that I had one guy in front and that was it. My one mission from that point on was to catch the dude and not to give up. At the first turnaround I caught my first glimpse of him, and later got a split from Nicholas, 50 seconds back. Ok, I’ve got this... keep running at your pace and keep making it hurt is all I was thinking. Next turnaround, he was about 15 seconds back. Before I knew it he was right in front of me but hit me with a surge I couldn’t hold. Ok, no worries. Still 4k to go. In the next 3k I made my way back to him, not giving up, but it was the last 600m uphill where things happened! At the base of the last climb Coach Phil was there to cheer me on and give me much needed encouragement: “C’mon, C’mon, get him, get him, you got this, c’mon, NO REGRETS”. The words NO REGRETS were exactly what I needed to hear. Why hold back and finish 2nd? Why not destroy yourself for the win knowing you absolutely pushed yourself to your limits? That’s exactly what I did. BANG, sprint the uphill past the dude, a couple of right turns and down the finish chute to cross the line knowing I laid it down! That moment I had and shared with Phil at the bottom of the hill is something I will never forget.
My performance in Tremblant got me 1st amateur and 5th overall with professionals. Yes, race day comes down to only you, but I wouldn’t have been able to get here without the support of my wife, family, friends and one dedicated coach! I will be back in Tremblant for the IM 70.3 World Championships this September!