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This video shows the story of a few athletes at Ironman USA in Lake Placid this year.

 

Pure Iron Athlete Nick talks about his experience doing the Inaugural Mont Tremblant 70.3 Ironman!!


"Nick! Wake up! it's 4am!"

These were the first words I heard on June 24th, 2012 when I embarked on my first triathlon – Mont Tremblant’s 70.3 Ironman. The first round of my support staff, my father, was anxiously waiting for me to prepare for what has been in the works for over 170 straight days.  The sound of his voice waking me up was synonymous to when he would wake me up for school – only this time the exam was pass or fail.

By 5am I was at the base of Mont Tremblant alongside my father with gear bag and wet suit in hand. Words cannot describe the emotions I was going through as I entered the body marking area.  My bib number 195 was affixed to each shoulder and my age on my left calf.  At that instance I felt like a true triathlete, more so than when the Ironman athlete bracelet was secured around my right wrist during registration.

I entered the transition zone and setup my white stallion for the 90km trek we had ahead. I filled my Pure Iron nutrition bag with gummy bears and a Honey Stinger Wafer. On the ground, my Newton Running shoes and two Clif Bar Gel Shots to supply me with energy for the 21.1km run thereafter.  I did my final checks of the transition zone, located entrances and exits, and engaged in conversation with fellow athletes who were about to conquer 113km continuously with 3 different modalities.

At 6:20, my girlfriend came down from sleeping in to wish me all the best and see me enter and exit Lake Tremblant on my first open water swim. All three of us ventured towards to swim out located at the Tremblant Beach and Tennis Club where I would change into my Aropec Triathlon Suit branded with none other than Pure Iron Athletics and TriathlonCentre.com, my sponsors who have assisted me throughout my endurance adventures. It fit perfectly and did not give any difficulties when trying to slip into a wetsuit thereafter.

The Snowbirds filled the sky with their brilliance to open the Inaugural Mont Tremblant 70.3 Ironman 2012.  With the sound of a cannon – the elite athletes were off at 7am. I entered the swim out section for my wave start; 5 minutes after the elites had taken to the water. By the time I started the swim, it was amazing to witness the elites almost nearing the turnaround; true breaded athletes. I entered the water with hopes of finishing since I knew my weakness was swimming and that open water swimming was far different than swimming countless laps in a pool. 

Once I could not see the bottom of the lake, I hesitated and panicked, I couldn’t continue my perfect freestyle technique I had practiced countlessly in pools.  I had to keep my head up for the remainder of the swim since once I attempted to duck my head in I would panic and drink the most fowl tasting water.  I swam 1.8km with my head up and knew that at some point I would be standing up again on land. 

When my fingertips could feel the beach, I was elated. I stumbled out of the water and began stripping the wetsuit off. I saw my Dad and girlfriend smiling as I came out of the water unharmed. I knew I had conquered one fear, and the two last events were my strongest fields. I ran the 500 metres to transition and began suiting up for the 90km journey.

My first mission on the bike was to refuel my body. The Aropec Trisuit dried considerably quick (within the first 15km) while I drank water liberally and inhaled my Honey Stinger Waffer. Within 20 minutes or so into the bike course, I was sufficiently recovered from the grueling swim that I could start making some gains on my position. I came out of the water 1581st out of just over 2100 people therefore needed to make up for lost time. 

The bike course was amazing.  It was the perfect blend of uphill climbs and death defying descents. I was zipping past people constantly on their $6000+ triathlon specific bikes while I slalomed through athletes on my Scott Speedster S10 with clip on aerobars. The first portion of the bike course was along a large section of highway 117 that had been closed for this inaugural event. The line of triathletes extended long into the distance, however it did not discourage me in the least. We went downtown of St. Jovite where the streets lined with enthusiastic spectators. As we made our way back to Mont Tremblant, I climbed more positions and knew what was in store for the final 2/3rds of the course.

Chemin Duplessis is a fearful hill when ascending, but feels like a roller coaster as you make your way back to the base of the mountain.  We climbed single file up this monstrous hill at no record breaking speeds. It was a true testament of strength, endurance, and skill. I spent most of my ascent in my small sprocket and keeping my cadence high to save energy for the powerful descent. When I reached the turnaround point at the top of the hill, I smiled knowing that the ride of my life was about to begin. As I mentioned, the descent is similar to a roller coaster with high speeds and sharp turns that would make any stomach queasy.  If I had wings, I would have more than likely obtained lift off. My Cateye odometer was reading speeds between 60-67km/h throughout the beautiful descent.

As I neared transition zone I felt great and deserved to as the running time was for my race was 3 hours and 35 minutes. I had gained considerable distance on the bike leg - actually putting myself in the upper half of the group (818 overall). Best of all, the Aropec Trisuit served great for the 90km ride as I did not suffer any discomfort in the saddle!  My hamstrings were a little tight, but nothing that would impede me on completing the run. Heck, I had completed a Marathon just over a month prior with a time that qualified me for Boston 2013 so I was confident to finish. I racked my bike in record time, placed my helmet on the ground, slipped on my Newtons and grabbed my gels. I was off for the last 21.1km of this adventure.

The start of the run had us enter Tremblant village where citizens sat in their front lawns with garden hoses showering the roads. The mist served as a well-deserved treat after  90km in the sun. After about 4km, we entered a man made gravel run path for the remainder of the run. This gravel served uncomfortable to my feet and gave me considerable pain.  I had to stop 3 times just to take off my shoes and let my feet feel normal again. I kept reminding myself that I was in the home stretch and nothing was going to stop me now. I had spent 170 days training for this one event, I conquered my first ever 2km open water swim less than 3 hours prior, and I just biked 90km in fashionable time, a little discomfort on the bottom of my feet was not going to stop me.

One of the most memorable portions of the run was when I passed a fellow athlete I knew personally at about the 10km marker on the run.  I knew he had prior experience in triathlons and had competed in the Mont Tremblant Olympic Triathlon a few weeks before. We each had started at the same time that morning, however his experience in open water gave him the advantage. Throughout the race I had made it my goal to catch him and I did just then and there. As I caught up to him I patted him on the back and we exchanged congratulations for making it thus far. His words thereafter made me feel like a true triathlete, ’Finish strong.’

I counted down the distance as I passed the markers, ‘109 down, 4 more to go.’  When I saw cobblestones beneath my feet  I knew I was within the last 500 metres. I entered the last stretch of the race while spectators lined the barricades. I was overcome with emotion and began to tear up slightly. As I made my way down the hill towards the finish, I looked left to right trying to find my support group. A big thumbs up from my father and the largest smile on my girlfriends face was all I needed to sprint my way to the finish, and the aid of a downhill slope.

I passed the historic plants aligning the Ironman 70.3 arch with delight. I had managed to come back from 1581st place out of the water to 472nd overall. I dreamt about this moment; however nothing can truly simulate the real thing. As I passed the finishing arch, I became a triathlete and a 70.3 finisher. Theses credentials stay with you for life, and no one can ever strip you of them. I finished the 70.3 strong and to the best of my abilities at the time. As I made my way out of the athlete’s quarters, I reunited with my support group. After they all congratulated me, I took a second to thank them for being up early this morning and watching as I pushed the limits of my physical capabilities.

I was happy to have had the experience in Mont Tremblant which will be hosting the 70.3 and Ironman events for the next 4 years. It will also be the go to destination for triathletes wishing to train during the summer months. In such a scenic location, it is a great place to train and rest as I spent the days preceding the 70.3 training in the environment.

I want to thank Triathlon Centre for all their support during my journey which began last September when I met Jimmy. Without their excellent staff and products, my dreams of becoming an Ironman would have busted last year. I am confident to say that their product line is by far nothing less than exceptional for any triathlete. I look forward to continue training and racing with confidence that Triathlon Centre will support me throughout my future endeavors. 

 Article by: Nicholas Ravanelli

RLCT 2012

It has been several years since I have participated in this very popular cycle tour named the Rideau Lakes Tour organized by the Ottawa Bicycle Club. I did not realize how much I missed participating in it until this past weekend.

Participants can register for one of four tours ranging from 100km to over 200km and all ending at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. The Tour I have been doing is the Classic Tour. This is probably one of the most popular of the tours and it is supported and well indicated with signs and organized resting areas. The Classic begins in Ottawa at Carleton University and after signing in and getting your bib number and then dropping off your over-night bag, you are ready for the adventure.

Police on motorcycles help guide you through some intersections and ensure everyone's safety. With over 2000 participants, this is important. The Ottawa Bicycle Club also had some of their members out as officials on the course helping other cyclists and ensuring we are following the rules of the road.

There are several organized stops on the way to Kingston with washrooms, food and drinks for sale. These stops give you a chance to rest and catch up with friends and maybe make a few!

The first organized stop is in the little village of Ashton where there are washroom facilities, food and drink. The prices for the food for sale here are very reasonable and the baked goods are delicious!

One of the major stops is in the beautiful town of Perth at the Last Duel Park where you can purchase sandwiches and delicious baked goods. Water and Juice are provided for free by the Ottawa Bicycle Club. Perth is also the start of the Century Tour for those who did not wish to do the extra 77km from Ottawa.

The next stops are in the beautiful town of Westport and then another about 28km before Kingston where you can buy hot dogs and drinks. It is this part of the course that tends to have more hills and is more challenging because you have already been cycling for so long.

The weather was pretty good on Saturday but after my last stop before Kingston, it started to rain, but it did not get cold. It was actually a little refreshing so that was nice and the rain did stop before I made it to Kingston. In Kingston we hit every red light on our way down Division Street to Queen's University. I needed the rest anyway. :)

I arrived at the finish at around 4:30pm. Once you sign-in, you receive your keys to your dorm room and your souvenir shirt and then you can collect your overnight bag. Depending on what you asked for when you registered, you would have a single room, a double or a larger room with more people. I went for the single room and ended up at the Chown Residence. This is an older building and made the other residences look like a high end hotel but it was fine for me. I appreciated it. My father attended Queen's University years ago and it gave me a small glimpse of what spending the night at the University must have been like back in the day... and to this day as well!

A nice tradition is to meet up with friends at the beer tent for a rewarding drink in the courtyard. After a quick shower and getting my room in order (your bike stays with you in the room for companionship!), I headed to the cafeteria for a very big and delicious meal. You can imagine the appetite that you might have after cycling all day. Hundreds of cyclists had a great big feast on Saturday night at Queen's University. Very good food and drinks. Lots of variety to pick from. The same can be said about the deserts.

After the nice meal with my friends we decided to walk around a bit to settle our meals in our bellies. It is just a short walk to the edge of beautiful Lake Ontario where we can see Wolfe Island. Kingston is a beautiful city and also the host of a popular triathlon, the K-Town Tri.

Saturday night during the Rideau Lakes Tour is a quiet one. Everyone is in bed early. No big parties here. One guy that was with us went to his room for the night at 8:30pm. Maybe I should have...

 

 Sunday morning starts with a big breakfast. Lots of fruits, drinks, eggs, waffles, muffins, breads..... A real treat. You will need the calories, so eat up! Once you return your keys and drop off your over-night bag, you are ready to take off.

Leaving Kingston and heading into Westport going over all of the hills was easier on Sunday morning because I was rested, and we are dealing with the hills right off the bat and there was a slight wind on our backs for a nice push home. The sun was out and it was a hot day and some riders knew this and left as early as possible. With breakfast being served starting at around 5am some riders can be on the road before 6am.

It was a beautiful day to ride home and a beautiful weekend to be on the bike and do this popular tour with friends. When the long journey is finished, you sign in at Carleton University and then pick up your certificate that you can proudly show off to everyone. A beer tent is waiting for you with burgers when you are ready to enjoy them before you head home.

Several days have now past since the Tour and my legs are still feeling the beating I gave them. I actually love that feeling.

 

Written by Jimmy Kelland

 

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