Occasionally, a day is well spent just watching athletes do what they do. Rather than lining up at the start or supporting a friend through a race, its great just to observe and cheer.
So it was today when we set out at 7 a.m. to arrive at Lac Tremblant for the 8:00 swim start of Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant. It was warm for an early summer morning when the Laurentian Mountains usually require a light jacket.
The sparkling, flat surface of Lac Tremblant, helicopter overhead, fighter jets making a pass as the pros made their way into the water, was a beautiful and exciting start.
We stayed at the beach until the 50+ women left the shore (these are my people). From the beach, we walked a trail to the base of Mont-Tremblant where the swim/cycling transition takes place. By the time we reached the transition area, the pros were already on the bike course.
We cheered age-group participants as they emerged from the water, searched for their bike location, made any wardrobe changes and took a bit of nutrition before biking off.
We then found our way to an excellent breakfast, lazily relaxing until we conjectured the first finishers would begin arriving. This spectator role is beginning to grow on me. Before the finish area became too crowded, we left the comfort of the restaurant’s terrace and found a shaded view near the finish. Last year’s winner Lionel Sanders (Canada) finished first with a time of 3:47:31, nearly five minutes ahead of second place Trevor Wurtele (Canada). Trevor’s wife Heather placed as second woman (4:17:08, 15th overall). First woman finisher was Holly Lawrence (Great Britain) with an impressive time of 4:08:53 (10th overall).
Deciding that five hours of observing was enough and with other commitments calling, we walked back to the shuttle for a ride back to the parking area. As the bus slowly made its way on Chemin de Village, we could see many of the age groupers on the hilly run course. It’s a beautiful route, but under an unusually warm sky at 1 p.m. and little shade, runners were having a tough go. Cooling sprinklers were set up along this portion of the course and I could see aid stations and medical tents along this section of the route were well supplied. I lost sight of runners as they looped around the train station (now an art gallery) and on to the Petit Train du Nord trail to their turnaround. For the first time during the day I felt uneasy, sitting in relative comfort of a shuttle bus as runners were struggling and toughing it out through those last few miles.
Checking online results, I see two women in my age group (F65-69) finished the race (6:30 and 7:59). Were in not for a lack of swim and cycling expertise, I would love to be doing this event with them.
I hope every participant has an opportunity post-race to soak in the great food and beauty this region has to offer following their hard-earned finish.