Ironman 70.3 World Championships Mont-Tremblant 2014 – by Chris Standidge
Last race of the year was the big one, the 70.3 World Champs in Mont Tremblant, Canada. I had qualified earlier in the year in France back in May and was very much looking forward to the trip. Unfortunately the last 6-8 weeks worth of training had been a bit sporadic, so I went into the race not feeling as confident as I may have been. Whatever happened I wanted to enjoy the experience, not put too much pressure on the result and learn from it for next year. As is normally the case with Ironman, they had taken over the small town of Mont Tremblant and were well under way with the staging of the race. In the winter the town is very much a winter ski resort with mountains all around. It’s a fantastic setting for a race and the town seemed genuinely excited by the fact they were going to hold a World Champs there.
Arriving on the Wednesday evening gave me 3 days to get myself organised, register and do some light training on the course. Everything had gone well, my training had maybe not gone as planned but I felt fresh and that I had travelled well. Race day was Sunday, the forecast was bright sunshine all day a high of about 20 degrees. Perfect conditions, and definitely better than the last few years where the race had been located in Las Vegas. First thing in the morning it was pretty cold and heading down from my apartment to transition to prep my bike I was wrapped up in numerous layers with hat and gloves. It wasn’t long before the sun came out and by 8.00am and race time, it was warming up nicely.
The pros went off and very quickly, the age group waves started with the 30-34’s, a womens wave and then us in the 35-39. A beach start in Mont Tremblant Lake started in the usual chaotic way. After 500m or so, I started to get a bit of clear water and was on my way. The ladies wave that had started just 4 mins in front of us, created difficulties drafting as a group as we had to make our way past, but I exited the water well in 10th place. A long run up into transition, quick change and I headed out on the 90k bike. The course was undulating with a long portion on a highway before a difficult last 20k with some stinging climbs just as you are ready to start thinking about the run. On the way out was in to a headwind, I just put my head down and rode to power. I had a couple of athletes around me and a pace line formed with maybe 3 or 4 of us doing all the work at the front. At the turnaround, and coming back the other way, you got an understanding of what starting maybe 15 waves in the space of 30 minutes had done. There were groups all over the place and nobody could ride legit. It played on my mind as we picked up speed with the tailwind behind me, thinking about all the athletes getting a ‘free ride’ but nothing I could do. I thought keep plugging away and if a group comes up to you, I know we are still well up in the race and i won’t let them drop me. But even though there were big groups behind they didn’t catch and I entered T2 again with 7th to 10th place.
The run was tough, 2 laps of a very undulating course. I set off conservatively thinking a 1:22 would be a good time on this course. Lap 1 went by no problem, exactly on pace and I was leading the small group I had come in with. My legs were starting to feel it, but I thought, just 6 miles left and I am there. 3 miles to go and I am struggling to hold pace, the lack of training had just caught up with me a bit and I found the last few miles a bit of a struggle. I just lost a couple of minutes in the final few miles and due to everybody racing so closely, I ended up losing a number of places, finishing in 18th place in a time of 4:15. Mixed feelings at the end, I was happy I had been in the mix for most of the race, raced it cleanly and feeling a bit undertrained. Disappointed to lose those places so close to the finish. But gives me something to work and focus on over the winter ready for another attempt in 2015.