Ironman Muskoka, Hunstville, August 2015.
Date August 30, 2015
Ironman triathlon event,
Location Huntsville, Muskoka, Ontario.
Since November 2014, I have registered for this event with my brother-in-law. Our first Ironman 140.6. This is the first edition of this IM, so no feedback on this event, just the IM 70.3 that Muskoka organizes each year which has very good feedback.
The cycling and running routes are emerging and during April / May we discover a cycling route of around 2500m of vertical drop! My brother-in-law loses his smile and his enthusiasm, I am rather reassured, it is in the bumps where I make up for my shortcomings.
It is with my family that we go to Muskoka, for a 4-day weekend, to enjoy the beautiful region that is worth the detour! But I will describe here only the race, not tourism!
The check in for the athletes is on Friday, the volunteers are numerous and very kind, I have never been treated so well (even in the most prestigious hotels, I have not had as many services as in Muskoka) . They already give us several good quality gifts (at $ 700 the registration is a bit normal anyway).
We put the bike and the transition bags on Saturday, plus a meeting of the athletes in the late morning. Nothing special, a race like the others but with great resources.
The race takes place on Sunday, wake up at 3 am (in the morning of course)! Pt’i dèj, we grab the wet-suit and head to the aerodrome where we park the tank to take a shuttle that takes us to the race (shuttles that turn in loops every 5 / 10min, it’s really efficient and we barely waited 1 or 2min.)
Arrived at the transition area, we inflate the tires, we put food and drinks on the bike, then head to the lake. The start is scheduled for 6:45 am, the organization opens the warm-up area at 6:30 am (which for me suits me perfectly, 5 minutes of warm-up and we sit in our box. It’s a rolling start type start, posters are placed to position the athletes according to their estimated swimming time (less than 1h, 1h-1h10, 1h10-1h20, …) I therefore place myself in the second airlock because I think I can do a sub 1h10 on these 3.8km.
The host does his job well, the atmosphere is very good, many spectators cheering on the 1300Athletes. 6:45 am, pistol shot, the first athletes rush forward and we advance gently towards the lake. The chrono is individual for each competitor and it begins when we pass on the sensor when entering the water. So no rush, it goes relaxed but quickly all the same. Suddenly, no one standing in front of you, just water and hats moving through this water. Here we go for a good and long day.
Of all the triathlons I have done this is the best at the swim start level! No one in contact, no fights, no hits! I’m even starting to regret not having to curse my neighbors! Unbelievable ! Rolling start approved!
The course consists of a loop of 3.8Km, we follow the yellow buoys and turn right at the red buoys. Very easy to identify, you can’t get lost or wonder where you are at because each buoy is numbered, the signage is perfect. The wind is still not lifted at this time and the lake is therefore wave-free. I pass a few people, mainly women (pink caps) they must have taken themselves for superwoman to get into the corral less than an hour and be passed by me, poor swimmer! Finally, badgers who think they’re stronger than everyone else he there will be all the time …
Swimming is going really well, water at 20 / 21ºC, clear, without jostling. A little vegetation in the last 50m for the exit. As soon as you get out the volunteers help you to extricate yourself from the water and an army of “wet suit Pealer” are there, I look at my watch: 1h05min, Objective Nº1 reached! I go to the first available volunteers and they take off my suit in a few seconds. Then we go to the transition zone, a small paved path of about 300m to go to reach our bags.
A volunteer is still there with me and helps me to put away my wet suit, hat and glasses. I only have my bike helmet to take and I back off, so a really minimalist transition.
I grab the bike, jump on it and off we go for the big part of the day, 2 90km loops with 1250m D + each.
I set myself a target of an average of 32km / h. I drove the hurdy-gurdy route in order to get an idea of what to expect and see a bit of the state of the roads. The first part (10km) being a bit chaotic, the rest of the course the surface being brand new, a real billiards! But from the first km ‘boom’ a slight hole / hollow in the road and I lose my can of electrolyte. 2km further badaboum the second container falls .. I have no more liquid…. I swear a little, then now count on refueling every 20 / 30km … this big first descent with this road a little trashed, a classic road for Montreal, there is everything, cans, sunglasses, cartridges CO2, food, many people like me have left a memory there.
In the first 5 kilometers two guys ride side by side while talking, overtaking them I cross / bite the center line a few centimeters so as not to have to brake or rub the competitor, 30 seconds later an official arrives with his motorcycle and me says he’s annoyed because he doesn’t know what to do, whether he should disqualify me or just give me a warning… In short I remain implacable don’t answer or even look at him… he will ask me several times if I understood correctly that it is not necessary to cross the center of the road. I remain stoic, look straight ahead without answering. I know that if I open it it’s to yell at him about not saying anything against the two guys driving side by side (occupying all the space reserved for riding) chatting at a walking pace without being worried…. Then he will leave me alone until Km 70 where he will come back and tell me that I must drive as far to the right as possible. In short, I’m doing well.
The sun is hiding behind the clouds so it’s not too hot yet it’s nice, the descents are very fast and the climbs slow down the other competitors! I’m happy as soon as I encounter a bump! The refreshment areas are long and well supplied with volunteers, you have time to catch at least 4 bottles! If you miss one or two there is enough room to catch more! What saves me the setting during my first ravito! So I take a bottle of water and drink a sport drink straight away.
The course is really nice we follow the edges of a huge lake all along, the spectators are numerous as well as the climbs, I look at my times of passages as well as my chrono every 10km, and it goes well I am slightly in ahead of my goal. The wind still hasn’t picked up. At the end of the first loop I am 12min ahead of my lap times and I try to keep the pace, there are really 3 nice bumps per lap which are significant the rest goes really well, I am mostly on the big one tray. The wind will pick up on the second lap and the sun will come out, so the first big drops of sweat arrive and the effort on the bike intensifies over the last 90km. I’ve been feeling my quadriceps grilling for a while now, and yes, by wanting to push hard, you burn your thighs. On this second loop, I will even pass athletes who are only in their first round! Usually on the flat portions (there are a few) the guys in the time trial pass me at high speed, and I go back to the next bump. We play to surpass ourselves all along the course. I finally put the bike down in 5h27min or 33km / h on average. No boredom, no weariness, the course was really nice! I know for a fact that my marathon will be a disaster given the bike course, but I also know that no one will be able to do a good marathon. and I iron them in the next bump. We play to surpass ourselves all along the course. I finally put the bike down in 5h27min or 33km / h on average. No boredom, no weariness, the course was really nice! I know for a fact that my marathon will be a disaster given the bike course, but I also know that no one will be able to do a good marathon. and I iron them in the next bump. We play to surpass ourselves all along the course. I finally put the bike down in 5h27min or 33km / h on average. No boredom, no weariness, the course was really nice! I know for a fact that my marathon will be a disaster given the bike course, but I also know that no one will be able to do a good marathon.
A volunteer is helping me with my transition, great class! Others are there to spread sunscreen (I should have put some, because I burned well).
The course has two 21.1km loops. I do the first km in 4’15sec impeccable it is my threshold speed for marathon, more than 41km to hold! Second 4’30, third 4’45, then 4’50, here I am at my rate of recovery 4’50 per km … my thighs sting so much that the calves do not engage as usual … Restrained by my quadriceps, I hang on and do the best I can without losing the pleasure, I stay in my comfort zone. I keep this pace just under 5min / km… I water myself well in the wood ravito also and I do everything I can not to walk uphill. Ah yes, the marathon course is harder than the bike course…. But the volunteers are on top, the supporters are doing a great job,
Last 21.1km loop to run
The finale is worthy of an ironman, it’s awe-inspiring like the rest of the Ironman events, so I finished in 10:09, 10th in my age group and 40th overall. We are given more gifts, my father catches me in tears, full of joy, then accompanies me to have me massaged (there is still not much room in the masseurs’ tent at this time). Then shower and finisher meal. It was a great first experience, a top organization, with a very good course even if it is very difficult. At the same time when we engage in an ironman we realize that in any case we are also there to suffer!
A big THANK YOU to the volunteers who worked very hard throughout the weekend. The organization gave us a thank you bracelet that we were to give during the race to the person of our choice as a reward, to express our gratitude for one person’s efforts. Honestly, I didn’t have enough of a single bracelet to give away, as there were many who deserved my gratitude.