Thursday, September 10, 2015

Magnifique Mont Tremblant

This past weekend was the last long weekend of Summer so G and I figured we'd get out of Toronto, yet again and go on another adventure.   We planned this trip with the goal of checking out the Mont Tremblant 70.3 course, BEFORE we had actually registered for the race.  Registration hadn't opened when we planned the trip but we figured we'd probably get in if we registered right away, which we did.  So this weekend was a recon of sorts.  The plan was to ride, ride and ride.  And maybe run.  And definitely swim. Check, check and check.  Ok well maybe a half check on the swim part.  I got in the water but I didn't really swim much.

I'm not a skier so I've never been to Tremblant.  G told me it's like Blue Mountain on steroids.  He wasn't kidding.  We flew out on Porter vs spending 7 hours in the car on a long weekend.  Our flight was delayed an hour because of the airshow but once we got out it was smooth sailing.  Once we landed, I couldn't believe the terminal.  It looked like a cottage.


We hadn't arranged for any sort of transport from the Airport to the hotel but they had shuttle buses there that cost $35 round trip per person.  Our bulky bike boxes fit nicely in the back so all was good.  It was about a 40 minute drive to Tremblant from the airport along lovely country roads. 

As soon as we got to the hotel, G wanted to assemble the bikes.  We had planned on doing a run but given the delayed start to our trip, that kinda went out the window once we arrived.   We were both pretty hungry so as soon as G finished our bike assembly, we were off in search of food.  And a beer, because it was the Friday of a long weekend after all.

We were staying at the Marriott because that's where G always stays for business so we get points.  It was nice enough and the bed was comfy.  Best part was the massive complimentary breakfast they had.  None of this continental breakfast nonsense.  They had waffles, eggs, bacon, potatoes, sausages, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, a selection of cereals and a crazy amount of bagels, breads & english muffins.  I was kicking myself for shoving a box of oatmeal in my suitcase last minute.  Oh well.  We fueled up well Saturday morning as the plan was to ride at least 100km if not more on the Tremblant bike course.  The weather started off a bit cool but quickly warmed up.  We checked the bike course map online and headed out.  You start climbing pretty much right away but then it becomes somewhat flat.  Obviously I wasn't paying much attention to WHERE we were supposed to ride because G went to get on the highway and I freaked out.  This wasn't a little two lane highway like we're used to in Cottage Country.  It was more like the DVP.  But there was a HUGE shoulder and it was nicely paved.  We argued for a bit and missed the proper entrance but got on at the next one.   Yes, the race course goes onto one of the main highways.  Once I settled down, this was actually my favourite part.  There were a couple of long gradual climbs, followed by some good descents.  We weren't pushing too hard at all and we were cruising along around 29-30 kph.  My legs didn't feel awesome from the start and once we turned around, I struggled a bit coming back up a couple of the climbs.  My back started to really hurt and I felt like my seat needed to be adjusted.  So we stopped at the top of the one big climb and G fixed my seat.   That did the trick.

We were still cooking along fairly well and I kept thinking to myself, "Wow, if I get some solid bike training in, I can totally kill this course."  That was until we hit the last 20km.  The course is kind of shaped like a W so you come back towards Tremblant and then go back out in a different direction. 

By the time we got to this last section, I was cooked.  My legs hated every second of this and all I could do was just spin.  I had no power left.  Lesson learned.  I cannot go out guns ablazing on this course next year.  And I definitely need to work on my power, especially up short steep climbs because that's what the back 1/4 of this course is.  Short, steep climbs that break your rhythm.  On the plus side, when you turn around, it's not as bad as when you're heading out.  There are still a couple of good climbs but you can really hammer the descents. 

Both G and I were having bike issues so we figured we'd ride over to the bike shop in the Village, which was about 5km from the Tremblant resort area.  That 5km almost killed me.  More climbing was involved of course and I watched my average speed drop from 29.9.kph to 28kph.  I was also starving so thankfully this bike shop also had a sandwich / coffee shop in it.  We sat down and had lunch while the guys there looked over our bikes.  The place was hopping.  The guys there were super nice.  G's bike took a while.  I probably should have gone out on my bike and ridden a bit more but I was happy to sit on my ass in the sun.  90 minutes later we were back on the road.  My legs were sore at first but once we got going I was ok.  I made G stop on the way back so I could get this shot.

Lac Tremblant

We pulled into the resort area and I still had about 700m before I hit 115km.  Because I am a nerd, I rode around the parking lot area until my Garmin beeped 115km.  I promptly got off my bike and did a little dance.  That was my longest ride this year.  It wasn't pretty but I did it.  I'm kind of kicking myself for not riding the extra 5km so I could get the Strava Grand Fondo Badge....but I'll save that attempt for this weekend.


My insane hubby went for a 5km run after this while I lay on the floor of hotel room stretching.  Crazy man.  We cleaned ourselves up and went out and ate.  There was ice cream involved.  And more beer.  I slept like a baby that night and we got up a little later on Sunday to do it all over again.  I figured Sunday's ride wasn't going to be pretty.  We were going to explore the back end of the Tremblant course again and see where that road went.  As soon as we started climbing my legs said EFF YOU and I resigned myself to the fact that today was going to be slow going. 

We chugged through that last part of the course and followed that road along to where we turned around the day before.  That road led us into Mont Tremblant National Park.   We paid our admission fee and rode in.  It was beautiful. 

Mont Tremblant National Park
It was pretty busy but the speed limit on the road was only about 20kph so people weren't whizzing by us.  The riding was lovely but it felt tough.  Both G and I were not moving very quickly.  I think our average speed was just over 25 kph.   We finally came to some rollers and took advantage of every descent.  Eventually things flattened out again until all of a sudden they didn't.  The road started to pitch up, and then up and then up again.  My legs were having none of it.  I was having none of it.  The plan was to ride to 40km out and then turn around.  My Garmin was reading 37 and change so I forced myself up another climb.  When I rounded the bend and saw a descent I yelled to G, "I'm DONE, I'm turning around!  I didn't care that we hadn't hit 40km, I couldn't face doing another steep climb.   So I turned around.  The descent was a bit scary as there was no shoulder on the road and a lot of the turns were blind so I was thankful for my handy dandy disc brakes.  G passed me on the descent and rode ahead of me for a while.  We pulled into a little rest stop / gift shop and filled up our water bottles again.  It was another scorcher out and I don't think either one of us was drinking enough.  I was feeling pretty crappy, even though I had been eating fairly regularly (honey stinger waffles) so G gave me a Roctane.  That actually seemed to help boost my energy level and I managed to hang on to G's wheel.  The wind was now in our faces.  Despite that, the ride back somehow seemed easier.  We made our way back to Chemin Duplessis (that hard road) and started climbing again.  This time I had a bit more energy for those tough punchy climbs.   I followed G's lead and pushed it up one of the climbs.  We ended up passing another couple.  The guy caught me pretty quickly and blew by me, as did G.  The girl was intent on hammering the descent with me so I stayed out towards the middle of the road and gave it, hoping to drop her.  I eventually did as we got close to the bottom.  As soon as the next climb started, she was gone.  I actually caught and passed G, I had so much momentum going.  I used it to carry me over the climb and into the next descent.  I hammered down that one as well.  G caught me and passed me and then pushed the pace back to Tremblant.  I didn't hang on for long.  That little burst of energy took it's toll on me.  We got back to the hotel and I was tempted to make up the 4km I was missing but decided I'd rather have a shower instead.  I was curious to see what the gradient was on the climb we did in the park.  The average grade was 8.4% with some spots reaching 16%.  Yup.  I laughed out loud when I looked at the elevation profile.  That would be my legs flipping the bird right there. 



After the ride, we had a quick bite to eat and then headed over to Lac Tremblant.  We paid the $5 to get in to swim and suited up.  It was muggy and hot out so getting into my wetsuit proved to be a bit of a workout.  I had no desire to swim but I had to test out a product that I've been given to review.  So I went in the water and puttered around.  I felt horrible.  Swimming was tiring.  There's a reason the swim is the first thing you do in a triathlon.  Swimming after doing ANY sort of hard exercise is brutal.  I got a good sense of the water and the swim course though so that is a plus.  The lake is beautiful and it's fairly shallow at least for the first 400m or so - you can see the bottom.  You essentially swim around a peninsula so there will always be land close by, which always makes me feel better.  After that I G and I were still a bit hungry so while G was getting a soup and sandwich, I got this:


Not the healthiest choice but whatever.  I enjoyed it.

G was gung ho to ride again on Monday but my legs and my butt couldn't face another day in the saddle so I opted to check out the run course.  I am supposed to be training for a half marathon so I figured I should go do a long run.  I didn't expect great things from my legs but I was pleasantly surprised once I started running.  Yes, they were tired but they didn't hurt.  I had planned on doing 17km but ended up just over 18km.  It was hard to turn around when you're running on trails like this.


This may look flat but it wasn't.  I had the feeling that I was running slightly down hill on the way out.  Sure enough, when I turned around, things felt a little bit harder.  Looking at the elevation profile, I can see why.


Apparently you run up into the village and then run down the main road to finish so there are hills right to the bitter end.  I'm definitely going to have to do some hill work next year.  I hope my knees can handle it. 

It was a big weekend of workouts that pushed my week into the 11.5 hour range for workouts and that was with 2 days off and no swims!

Monday:  OFF - recovering from Iron Spectating
Tuesday:  a.m.:  39km on the bike with Morning Glory - Best Ride of the YEAR p.m. 20 minutes of core and physio work
Wednesday:  15km long run in a.m.  Worked late so missed the last swim at the outdoor pool. 
Thursday:  50 minute strength session at the gym in a.m 12.5km ride home.
Friday:  OFF
Saturday:  115km on the bike
Sunday:  76km on the bike + a 500m "swim"

Total time:  11 h 31 minutes.  

This weekend I'm riding the Epic Tour of Halton with the Double D's (Dave L & Dave B).  We're doing the 125km distance.  That will be my longest ride this year.  I'm actually looking forward to it. 

My how things have changed.....

It was a wonderful way to spend a weekend and I'm so glad we went.  It's an absolutely beautiful place and I am looking forward to going back next year.  Hopefully I'll see another lovely sunset, just like this one.







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