The Canadian – A World Record Falls
Being on a tight budget, I booked the cheapest flight. This doesn’t always mean the most direct flight. I bounced around the US before landing in Montreal for my record breaking race #21. The race this weekend boasts of a fast and flat course. Unfortunately, the race in the Louisville had heat that beat me up just 6 days earlier. I arrived early in evening. Everything this weekend was fairly close to the race site, so I didn’t rent a car. I grabbed the shuttle to the hotel. Huge thanks to InsideOut Development for booking my hotel and setting up all the amazing media attention I received on this weekend, where a record falls.
I settled into my hotel and was starving!! Without a car, I walked over to a local pub hopefully for some good eats. I picked a very delicious rice curry dish. Once back at the hotel, I received my media schedule prepared for me by Jacques from InsideOut… this guy is on the ball and was instrumental in the planning of this weekend. I built my bike and hit the pillow.
I woke up early and met Rick, who is a local coach and retired fast guy. He took me and dropped me off at the CTV studios for a live spot on the morning show. I went inside, checked in and waited for my turn on live TV. My piece lasted only about 5 minutes, but I think I did a good job. I remained calm and I don’t think I stuttered that much – ha ha. There was nothing I was going to do about looking so tired, so I just smiled the whole time. Rick returned to the studio and took me back to the hotel. He drove up to the hotel and I jumped out and went into the lobby…. two steps inside the door, I realized that this was not my hotel. I ran back outside in hopes of catching Rick before he drove away. I ran down the drive waiving my hands, but he didn’t see me. I went back inside and started to think how I could get to my hotel… realizing I didn’t know the name of my hotel, or where I currently was… hmmmm. This is a sure sign I have done too much travel in too short of a time. I called Rick and of course he didn’t answer. I pulled out of my pocket a room key… a room key with an address on it – YES! I took it to the front desk and asked how far away my hotel was; luckily the answer was a 15 min walk straight down the road. I headed out for a walk, which would most likely be good for my legs. The only bad part was it started to rain ;(
I made it back to the RIGHT hotel and had just enough time to get on my bike and ride it (yep it’s still raining) down to the race site for my next interview with the news. I thought we were just going to interview, but they wanted shots of me biking and running. The rain had let up for the interview portion and run footage, but as soon as I got on the bike the skies opened again. We still got the shots they needed and I ended up soaking wet!
After the interview, I hung out for a bit at the race site, got all checked in and met Olivier. He happened to be my next ride to Rogers, where I would be doing my next live TV spot. We had time for a quick bite to eat and grabbed some sandwiches before heading to the interview. Rogers went just like the morning show. There was a host, a couch, me and some cameras in our faces. Lots of fun and I think I did a good job again. Most places ask the same questions, so this is getting easier and easier. Olivier took me back to the race site, where I waited for the race meeting to take place. Usually I do not go to the race meetings, but this event had so many different events and distances going on at the same time that I thought things could get confusing. It was the strangest pre-race meeting I have ever been to… the race director walked us around all over the place taking us down to the water, back to transition, to the exit and so on. There was no question what to do after this meeting. I met a really cool guy at the meeting named Anthony. We ended up joking around and having as good of a time you can have at a very long race meeting. I ended up asking him for a ride to my hotel and turns out he likes food…so we went out for dinner. Anthony is a police officer and loves triathlon. Turns out he is doing the Mont Tremblant race next year and is looking for a coach. The dude treats me to dinner, gives me a ride to my hotel and hires me as his coach. Now that was a great night!
Race morning was super casual. Rick came back and picked me up race morning. I have to tell ya, these guys in Montreal are awesome and know how to treat a guest athlete. The Canadian is a fun event with almost every imaginable distance happening on the same day. Aquabikes, Duathlons, Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman, Full Ironman, Half marathon, Full marathon and every variation of each. The full Iron athletes would go off first with the other distances going off all day long at different times. It was very unique. The race course was multiple loops of the same course. Great for spectators and only a little boring for us athletes.
I felt good and was excited to cross the finish line of this race. I didn’t think I had it in me to win this race and would be happy with a top 10 finish in the small field. My main objective is to just cross the line! Once I crossed this finish line, the pressure would be off… no other race would matter as far as the record was concerned… no one would be able to take that away from me. Now accomplishing my goal of 30 events is a different story. The tough part will be staying focused on the bigger goal and keeping my mentally sharp through the last 10 races.
The swim gun went off and I swam really comfortable. The water wasn’t cold and not too murky. With the smaller swim field, it is easy to find clear space in the water and I didn’t have to fight many other athletes. We started the race with the Iron triathlon distance athletes and the Iron duathlon athletes (these guys would only be doing the swim and the bike). The swim was a two loop course. I am never with the lead group of swimmers, so I just settled into my own pace. By the second lap, a few swimmers seemed to like my pace and settled in on my feet. I didn’t mind and hoped they had a good draft. I ended up swimming a 1:17, which wasn’t that great of a time for me, but I did just swim easy and comfortable knowing that Ironman racing is a long day and my goal was to just cross the finish line.
I jumped on my bike and just tried to settle into a pace. This course was FLAT and had the potential to be very fast. I had to be careful to not push the pace. The road surface was great, which makes it a little harder to hold back on the speed. I held back really monitoring my HR and power. This course was unique, in the fact that it was 12 loops on the bike of a 15 kilometer stretch. This gave you lots of opportunity to see where the other athletes were and allowed spectators (if you had any there) to see their athletes a lot. Which is really great cause Ironman racing is not super spectator friendly… this turned it more into a race track scenario. I thought I was going to dread the ride and be bored out of my mind, but I actually really liked it. The other interesting part of this race was the influx of athletes and energy change when they would dump the sprint, Olympic and other distances onto the course throughout the day. We all had different colored bib numbers on, so you could tell who you were racing against. The Sprint and Olympic guys would blow by you on the bike and I tried to feed off of their energy… it was hard not to want to go with them. It also felt really good when I would pass the shorter distance guys knowing I had been riding for a few hours and had a long day still ahead of me. The 15 k stretch of road will fill up and empty out all throughout our 112 mile ride. There was an announcer at the far end that would announce your distance and lap every time you turned around. When they announced us Iron guys, the crowd would cheer a little louder.
I went back and forth with this one rider for most of the last 20 miles of the race. We would swap back and forth for the lead of the race. A camera crew came into the picture with about 10 miles to go and when there is a camera present I seem to get an extra boost of energy. I settle in and busted out a really fast last lap gapping the second place rider by a little more than 5 minutes. I ended covering the 112 mile in 5:17:15, which was one of my fastest splits on the year. I had the Iron Distance lead in my 21st Ironman of the year, the world record race. “Could this be happening?” I thought. I sure hope he wasn’t a runner, cause once I hit the run at this stage of the year, I only have one speed. It is one speed, not because I am limited by my cardio, but rather my muscular fatigue. The muscle will only fire so much and I don’t want to risk injury so close to my big picture goal of 30 completed races.
I headed out on the run and felt ok, not great but ok. The run course was also many loops on a short out and backs section. The course was set up to do 8 loops. The finish line was set up in a stadium on a track. After each loop, we would run the 100 meter straight away and then loop back out. Again the announcer would call out your name and what lap you were on. During our race the same thing started to happen on the run course. There would be surges of people from a 10k race, a half marathon and a full marathon. This was a fun element to our race and added much needed energy out there. I ran back and forth, back and forth and more back and forth maintaining a steady pace and THE LEAD. I could see my 5 min lead slowly getting smaller at each turn around and on the 7th lap just before the far turn around, we were side by side. My lead was gone and I just let him go. I kept my same pace and finish the race in second place, missing out on the title by 3:45 seconds. Looking back, I regret not going with him on the run. I am not sure what I was thinking…. A win on my 21st race of the year and I didn’t even try, come on man!! I was happy with my finish and posted a total time of 10:49:48 which is GREAT at this stage of the year… I know I could have made a good push for the win and didn’t. Opportunity lost. I am not saying I would have won, but now we will never know.
The race directors and InsideOut Development handed me a special award. It stated the new world record and presented it to me upon finishing the race. They had a bouquet of winners roses to go along with it. The media was there to capture the finish and do a quick interview of the accomplishment.
I was pumped. I did it. I crossed that line of my 21st race of the year, setting the new Guinness mark for the most Official Iron Distance races completed in a year!Read More