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Ironman Mont Tremblant - Part two - the bike

Now here's the part I had feared most. I had had one of my longer rides, when I had really wished one of the kids could have driven out 60km and picked me up with my bike. Every time stopping at a crossing hurt due to position change and after this long workout I defined to try let it all heal until come race time. That's what I did - apart from two short rental bike test rides.  in Mont Tremblant,

So I was not sure it my back would say no, just the first moments of the bike part, if I could ride it all, if... whatever.
It didn't feel all good on the test rides but the bike was not at fault. Gilbert at Cycle Technique did a really good job adapting my German fit sheet to the Red Wonder I loaned from him. Only minus was the saddle which I bought a new one.

Never try new stuff on race day. Yeah. I  know. Many things I did not do according to the books, especially this race. It was the choice of doing exactly that - trying new stuff - or wearing my back out even more two days before the race.

So, coming in from the swim, freshly peeled off my wet suit, I was in the tent, threw the content of my bag onto the floor (oh, wait - we are in North America - there actually are people who help... That's not the case in most European races...) One volunteer helped me sort through and repacked some bits. I stuffed some more nutrition into the back of my top and hobbled on cleats until I reached the Red Wonder...(OK, temporary name. It's not mine, I know...)

I unhooked, hobbled to the mount line, and zoomed off. PURE BLISS!!! It worked. Wow! No back pain, no anything - and this for the first 40km.

Then I started shifting around - the saddle should have been a bit farther back. Never try... Oh well. Shifting some more, adapting evading some movements and pedaling on.

When I originally had posted my next race was Mont Tremblant, people told me - it's so hilly. It's really difficult. It's ... Well, the first 75km on the first of the two identical loops I did not feel that at all. Sure. Hill after hill, after hill... but not in that Challenge-Helbronn-fashion that there is a mandatory 90-degree-turn at the end of every downhill and a high probability for an incline right after that turn. No such thing (ok few but almost none) One could ride doenhill, add some speed by pedaling, and use the momentum to get up the next hill - halfways or so. This worked most of the time and I could find a good riding rhythm pretty quickly. Wlell except the shifting around with my position.

Aero was not feeling ok so I went upright most of the time. Again. New aero bars for race day, straight, instead of bent... Eventually I reached km 60 and - right there they were - Martin, all three kids plus that stuffed pink octopus cheering and waving. Before the turn point. After the turn point. I really had saved strength for the end of the round(s) when the inclines were maximum for the course. And so I also made my way up there, noticing that this was the hardest part, not only on the course map, and regretting that I had not driven that part by car, just to count hills. Well. always thinking, that's it now, around the corner there was the next. But finally. The turnaround...

Back into Mont Tremblant and the entry of the second loop was all downhill. Yeeeah! Bliss! I had made it through loop one...

Loop two showed me that my training had be all but ideal. My back was ok, more or less, but I started hurting on those places which weren't accustomed to the length of an Ironman ride. I still had had enough training but no maintenance training the four weeks before the race. And that's what I really noticed... So I seemed to roll over those hills much slower than in round one,  utilized my speedometer a lot (oh no, this must go faster...) and eventually reached Mont Tremblant Zinser Cheering station again. It gets noisy whenever I pass them, and I figured that multiple times that race ;-)

These last 15km. They really got me. Nutritionwise I was perfectly fine. Having deleted a couple of gus, my sandwich, my water (with a pinch of salt) bottle, half of the oatking bar, and a piece of banana on every possible station, I felt fine. But those hills plus the heat plus the previous fight with the headwind  on the highway (oh, forgot to mention that...) now stuck in my legs. My back was still ok (wonder!) but the soles of my feet started hurting. I take it this was a positioning issue  but it really was a sharp neural type of pain, which feels like a nerve is inside not enough space. Long time ago I had practiced putting shoes on and off on the bike. This is what I did - on a less hilly stretch I put off my shoes, and pedaled with my bare feet on top of them. This works for not-so-hilly but when I came to the last 15km with the steep inclines, I put the shoes on again (feet were relaxed by then) and climbed up. Unfortunately there were two little 20m stretches of bike pushing involved. But then I was at the turnaraound point and made my way back. Most of it downhill and my shoes were off my feet again...  And then, finally, I made it back to the dismount line. My shoes were off, so Ijust left them hanging on the bike, somebody grabbed my bike and now I hobbled even more. But without the shoes... Hobble hobble hobble to the tent. 

Despite the doubts I have managed the bike course.  It was not pretty, it was not painless, but I made it. In one piece within the cut-off time, and with the capacity to smile when the announcer called me out coming in  into transition (Sylvia Zinser from Kronau....that's Germany)

The Ironman Marathon Run was waiting for me...Now...