Mont Tremblant Ironman – North American Championships

Canada Quebec flag

Last week we travelled to Quebec, Canada for Ironman Mont-Tremblant – the North American Championships. Quebec was amazing and it would have to rate one of my all-time favourite places I have been to. The pristine lakes (over one million in Quebec alone!) and mountains of Mont Tremblant provide such great scenery everywhere you look. I feel lucky to have been able to race the North American Ironman Championships on the spectacular course.

DCIM100GOPRO
Stunning house with an epic view!

We arrived on the Wednesday of race week and were staying with a local homestay family Mark and Caroline. Mark was competing too, and this would be his first Ironman. Their house was a beautiful place out in the country and only 25 minute drive to the race start. The set up they have at their place was awesome with a huge private lake right out front, an endless pool, wind trainer, gym, and nice packed gravel roads for running. Mark and Caroline were incredibly helpful and made us feel very welcome. They made us some awesome meals, Mark gave us a guided tour of the course, and they insisted that we use their new Volvo SUV to transport our bikes and that they would use our little rental car. On Monday after prizegiving they took us up to the top of the mountain for some sightseeing and we finished off an amazing week in Canada with a beautiful dinner at an Italian restaurant up the mountain with champagne to celebrate. We are lucky enough to have been provided with homestay families to stay with at both of our overseas races and both times we have met amazing people and had such an awesome time! It has made the race week experience much less stressful and a lot more fun! It was also great to be able to offer some advice and assistance to Mark on his first Ironman experience.

DCIM100GOPRO
Private swimming pool 🙂

 

 

Perfect race week meals with Mark and Caroline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The course at Mont Tremblant is amazing. The lake swim is an out and back in a clean warm lake, followed by a 2-loop hilly ride (>2000m elevation gain) and finishing up with a 2 lap rolling run over a variety of terrain including a packed gravel track! It was a warm day and this Championship race had drawn a solid field of over 30 males including multiple Ironman and 70.3 champions, along with some talented locals.

Race morning
Mont Tremblant

The Race

My day went great, I stuck to my game plan and was happy with how it played out, I lead the 2nd group out of the water, bummer that we had already given up 5mins to the top 11 guys who flew around! It would always be a bit nicer if I didn’t have to ride entirely solo, but I knew what power I wanted to hold and did just that. The hills on the 2nd loop were a bit more challenging as all the long climbs seemed to be accompanied by a head wind! The road conditions were near perfect – would have been a different story for everyone on the bike if we had to contend with the chip seal from NZ! Off the bike and I got into my stride nicely, holding my goal pace throughout the first 25kms. The 2nd time around the hilly section in the heat made for a challenge and damaged the average pace a wee bit…..  but the others were suffering more than I was and I kept pushing on. I passed a couple of guys in the last 10kms to finish up in 15th place and with another 3 guys only 5mins up the road.

DCIM100GOPRO
Quick shot after the finish and before the recovery and food tent!

 

I am pleased with how my race went but also disappointed that I missed the 9th place finish I would have needed to secure that Kona spot!  When I look back over my season, I have had consistent results (2nd kiwi in the Kona ranking points) and am continually learning and improving over all 3 disciplines.  The 15th place at the North American Champs capped off my 3 top 10’s and an 11th over the Ironman distance for the season.

 

 

 

The next challenge

We are back in Wisconsin now, and coincidentally the first race of the 2013/2014 season kicks off here in Madison in just over 2 weeks.  So I thought why not! It will be an awesome test to see how my body handles 2 Ironman events so close together. My focus over the next 2 weeks will be on recovery, good nutrition and to get to the start line as fresh as possible. My legs seemed to have pulled up pretty good, and mentally I was already prepared for one more big race!  It will also be a good opportunity to get some early Kona points for 2014 and get a race in before I ease off and build up for the season back home! It will be hard travelling to Kona and not competing but will be nice to support Larisa and return the help she has given me on this trip so far, and also to catch up and support the big Kiwi contingent taking part this year!

Run IMMT
Home stretch at Ironman Mont Tremblant

 

Thanks again to my sponsors for all their support :

Orchard Gold berries, Endura sports nutrition, Saucony, Tri’n’Run, G2 Personal training, Rocktape, Smith Optics, Timex, Compressport,  Schwalbe and Sugoi.

 

Keep up to date with our travels and racing on :

 Twitter – @CochraneSimon

 Facebook – SimonCochraneIronman

USA trip – Update so far… The first 3.5 weeks have flown by!

USA flag 2

 

On July 8th Larisa and I flew out of Auckland headed towards the USA for 3 months of training and racing. We are lucky enough to have a base in Madison, Wisconsin staying with Larisa’s cousin Julia who has been kind enough to have us to stay – thanks Julia! We arrived into Madison after 30hours of flying via Rarotonga and Los Angeles. There were a few dramas along the way with delays and baggage not fitting in the car but it’s funny how everything always just works out nicely when you stay calm and trust that things happen for a reason 🙂 Larisa’s cousin picked us up at 1am local time with a rental van (big enough to fit all our bags/bikes!) and drove us to her apartment where we are basing ourselves for the next few months. The apartment is a perfect little setup for us; great kitchen, big fridge and a coffee machine! It’s so close to everything we need, walking distance to the Wholefoods food market and Target, 500m to the local outdoor pool, 10min ride away from wide open rolling country side and 1km away from the lake with endless running trails and dirt tracks! The apartment complex also has its own Bbq area and outdoor pool – great for recovery days!

DCIM100GOPRO
Our first ride, nice clear morning!
DCIM100GOPRO
Pool – 5 mins walk from the door!

 

The first week here was a heat wave in Madison, upwards of 35 degrees and 80%+ humidity most days – a bit of a shock to the system but great for training and mental toughness! It made my 29km birthday run a good challenge! We had a couple of solid weeks training in Madison before our first race at Racine 70.3. There was no tapering for this one – we were both using the race as part of the build-up for our bigger Ironman races later in the season. We were lucky enough to stay with a great home stay family who were an awesome support to us on race week – including a tour of the bike course and some fantastic meals. They also came out to cheer us on during the race and made for a really enjoyable day. Thanks Kruse family! We were happy with how the day went, it is always good to test out a few things and find out where you are at. The race gave us an extra dose of confidence for what is to come and also a few things to focus on in the next block of training.

DCIM100GOPRO
Dinner out with our home stay family in Racine

 

 

 

 

 

DCIM100GOPRO
Transition full with over 2500 bikes

We are back in Madison after Racine and have been lucky to meet heaps of great people. We have been going along to a Friday morning swim in a private quarry lake with one of the local tri-clubs – it’s a beautiful lake to swim in – so clean and fresh and great to get in some open water swimming training! At one of the swim sessions we were introduced to Will Smith – a kiwi triathlete who has been living here for a few years. We spent last weekend out at his place and joined him and a few other local pros for some awesome riding and trail running. It’s a fantastic place to train in the summer and it looks like a fun place to train in the winter too – they turn the trails into snow-shoeing runs through the forest!

blog 5
Back at Wills after a 5hr ride

 

 

 

 

blog 6
Another warm one

 

 

 

 

Next up for me is Ironman Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada on August 18th. This is my main race for the season over here and it is a good opportunity to earn more points towards a starting spot in the Mens Pro Field at the World Champs in Hawaii. It is the North-American Championship race so has a 4000 point value – that makes it a high scoring points race attracting a solid field of Male Pros. The course looks stunning and suits my strengths – I can’t wait!! It has a nice fresh water lake swim – hilly 2-loop bike course and an awesome run with a large portion of it on off-road trails.. Larisa has already qualified for Hawaii and wont be racing here. She will be using the trip to Canada to make the most of some riding and run training in the mountains! (and to give me extra support – and a hurry-up – on race day!)

 

Blog 7
Lake at Mont Tremblant

The climate and terrain in Madison has been perfect for our training, and having a bit more time for recovery and all the little extra things is really benefiting us. The town is full of like-minded active people with training facilities all over the place, the University of Wisconsin has a large amount of rowing, running and swimming competitors so there are always people out early every morning which is good to see!

A big couple of weeks training is ahead of us now before we fly up to Canada. We have been lucky enough to be partnered with another homestay for race week and it sounds like they have a private lake to swim in. We look forward to meeting another great family and it will be one more cool experience to add to the trip so far. I hope everyone back home in NZ is having a great time as winter embarks and that all your trainig is going to plan! We will touch base again before the race in Quebec!

 

blog 8
blog 9 blog 10

 

 

 

Simon and Larisa

– Living the dream!

 

 

 

 

Also check out a short clip we made of some of the local trails:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5psaKva3Uc