Sunday was the 5150 Mont Tremblant Triathlon – the first of four professional triathlon races held in Mont Tremblant, Quebec this summer, which culminate in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships on September 7th. I won the race decisively, posting the fastest split for each of the three disciplines and finishing in 1 hour, 55 minutes and 8 seconds for the 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. (full results here)
It was a gorgeous day in the small ski town north of Montreal. The temperatures at the start line were around 10 degrees (Celsius) but rose to 27 by the finish line, with clear skies and a crisp mountain breeze.
I write about the conditions so blissfully because the spirit of people in Mont Tremblant really captured my attention. There were large crowds and eager volunteers throughout the race, and because it is a resort town, the area was set up perfectly to handle a large weekend crowd. It was a wonderful race experience.
I led a small break out of the swim, and after a few kilometers into the bike I began pushing the pace to find myself alone at the first of three turnarounds. I rode my Metron 55 clinchers with 25mm open tubular Vittoria tires. With perfect road conditions I pumped the tires to 120psi and had a perfect combination of handling and low rolling resistance. It was a hilly course, and the light-weight carbon clinchers were excellent on both the climbs and the descents (where I broke 80 kilometers per hour (50mph) several times during the race).
I started the run with a lead of about 90 seconds, but after posting the fastest run split I finished with a lead of two and a half minutes over second place, Rudy Von Berg of Boulder, CO.
This was the first race in my career (pro or amateur) where I’ve posted the fastest split in all three disciplines. But there’s also one part of the race that I feel terrible about. With 2km to go I rear-ended another athlete and we both tumbled to the pavement with our bikes. It was a long fast downhill into a right turn that led to a steep hill. I came around the turn trying to hold my momentum to get up the hill and in front of me was an age group athlete on his first lap. As I came up he must have moved to pass the cyclist in front of him and I hadn’t given much space. I was going so much faster that I couldn’t react in time and I collided with him. Luckily we both stood up and seemed okay. In my panic I just muttered “oh my… sorry… oh…” and then ran to the top of the hill with my bike, hopped back on and kept riding. All that was going through my head at that moment was “I’ve worked too hard already today to give up the win like this”. A few minutes later I realized that even though I saw the guy walking I hadn’t even looked at his number and had no way to find out if he was in fact okay. I feel terrible that this happened. Even though the pro field often talks about the risks of multiple lap races, with the pros having to pass age-group athletes, and even though I can name several other pros that have had much worse collisions in these situations, I have always dismissed it as an abstract fear, not an ever present danger.
Perhaps the adrenaline helped me run faster, but if I could go back I would have spent some of that 2min 30sec lead making sure that the man I collided with was truly okay.
Overall, it feels great to have my first win of the 2014 season, and the first “best split trio” of my triathlon career – and especially to accomplish this on the same roads where I’ll be racing the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September. Next up is the Syracuse 70.3 on June 22nd.
[A huge thanks to Ironman Mont Tremblant for a great event, and for posting all these pictures on their facebook page!]