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Ironman Mont Tremblant - Part Zero - getting there...

Finally I got reliable WiFi again and can start writing down my race experience in Mont Tremblant. Some of you have already seen my pre-race blog where I was not sure if this race is a go or not. Seriously - this has been a theme the whole season - maybe even the past three seasons.  Since I slipped a disk late 2012 (these things always happen when I do the off-time program - I seriously consider creating an "off" time which is not quite off so my spine survives...) since this happened, I had three races where I trained with a herniated disk. And while 2013 was quite doable,  in 2014 I decided in late May that I had a chance, and this year - well, you've read it - I decided on race day.

Mind you - I had the doc's OK for all of this. His take is, that sport won't do more damage.

This year I was not so sure, especially for I had the deep wish for doing a NorthAmerican race - with the same inspiration factor I know from my first races. This factor that caused me to start this craziness.

Mont Tremblant fits into a teacher's schedule with it's mid August occurrence, and so I was anticipating getting there via plane (8h - plus of sitting) and car (another 12 hours of sitting)

Did I mention - the worst I feel I can do for my spine, is sitting. Meaning, the decision between riding my bike to work (20 mit) and driving to work (also 20 min) which both hurt my back, is not easy.

But there were days when all was fine  - when we did a near-century, or when I could finish Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau etc. I called them 'flip' status. And then - flipflopping as I was (and am) there were the 'flop' days, when I could not move already in the morning. No bike for me and if I did, it hurt each time I had to stop at a crossing. 'Flop'.

After flying into Chicago and one night there I ended up in flip mode, we roamed the city, did sightseeing with the family and even museums with 0.000m/s speed of walking did not hurt. Flip!.

In come the first car rides and the 'flop' also got it's chance. As I said - in this mode I never knew how the next couple of hours would be. Starting an Ironman in flop mode - barely thinkable Or was it? At least it would hurt a lot. I had had one training ride when I had wished, any of the boys could just take the car and pick me up. Drive all those 60km through the countryside. I finished that ride for the boys don't drive yet (German public transport in our region being quite good) but it really really was hard.  

With a couple of visits we eventually found our destination hotel in Mont Tremblant, and coiuld rest a few days.

The hotel had a Jacuzzi and Ironman had two physical therapy offices in the race exhibit - and while one was working alone and gave us 20-min slots, the other booth was occupied by four therapists who wouldn''t stop until you told them things were ok. Wow!

Did I mention - I had to rent a bike. Yes, I could have shipped my bee bike, but then I would have been on a road trip with the family plus bike box. And we had no RV, just a regular minivan. Cycle Technique of Mont Tremblant did a really good job to fit me with a race bike, using the fit sheet Carsten at D-Cycles here had made for me. So my bee bike and this red wonder were in essentially the same geometric order.

Only thing not perfect was the saddle. I had not been smart enough to bring mine and had asked them for a same-type-replacement 10 days earlier. Well, deliveris and Ironman-preps going as they usually do, with lots of unexpected things going on, so Gilbert just mounted me a decent racing saddle unkonwing (how could he have?) that this would not really be comfy for my wide hips...


There was a second bike shop selling me one of these hole-in-the-middle-saddles and with this combination I dared to check in my bike on Saturday. After about 10km of test riding (my crazy back... remember...)

So, visiting the exhibit booths, having massages, eating Greek yoghurt, getting ready, I entered the pre race dinner, which so much reminded me why I got hooked on that whole Ironman thing.

And if not before (yes, before!!!) then latest now I would remember the inspirational vibes they send out on North American races. Mike Reilly war very clear he wished every single one of us to succeed. I really loved the show, the music, Mr. Reilly, the Mont Tremblant-ese, everything. And even the pasta was really decent. And they were nice enough to let me in with the bike while my family took the car to Mt. Tremblant for their own dinner...

Well, there it was - all I had missed with the European pre-race dinners: Introducing the oldest, the most obstacled, just inspirational people. Living 'anything is possible'. I had missed that, and while Copenhagen and Sweden were good races this part went missing. Not to talk about Regensburg...

When the dinner was over they still had party but I still had an Ironman to finish and was sure sleep was more important...

I still soaked in the hotel's Jacuzzi,and went to sleep.

Saturday. Test swim day. Check-in-bike day. I had all pumped up (I usually do this the hotest time the day before a race then there's still enough pressure on race day, but the tires won't pop from the heat)

Interestingly for me as German race official, the check-in was done by volunteers, not officials. Nobody saw the little motor on my bike (just kidding, there was none) and the helmets were not controlled as well. Of course all was in order, I hooked in my bike and deposited the plastic bags (many of which had markings which also are not allowed in Germany)

That was it for the day.  Some pasta, some more (shorter) soaking, and off to bed.