Race Review> Mont Tremblant Ironman 70.3 – Almost Perfect.

Translation : Michel Moussette

There is something that is not quite right in writing a critique of the Mont-Tremblant 70.3, simply because it was obviously the best organized race of this magnitude in Quebec. Actually there is not much to be said that is negative. Small details need to be addressed but solutions exist and we will soon (at the IM in August) be able to judge how proactive the organization is.It was no secret, trimes.org has for a long time said that Tremblant has a great potential to accommodate this type of event. There are traces of this on our website dating back to 9 March 2010. We had no doubt that this would be a quality event. The WTC is an organization with a rigorous set of specifications. Their minimal quality is always above that of independent organizations. Also, in the back scene, the Canadian team, which also organizes Muskoka 70.3 remains a top reference for us.

Mont Tremblant, a natural environment for triathlon.
Ironically, while generally in Quebec, the organizers have to fight with municipalities (who dislike to close roads), in Tremblant, it’s totally the opposite. The great strength of the course is how secure it is – there is no equivalent on the circuit. The absence of car traffic on the roads combined with the interdiction for vehicles to cross the course is a first on the circuit. Also, great work was done to provide road surfaces in the best possible conditions and despite the reputation of the province’s road, the race will become a reference in this matter.The fact that the race is centralized in the village has created a strong “triathlete” atmosphere. With many hotels rooms available (when compared to Lake Placid), everything is in place for greatness. Since this is the race’s first edition, the community is still in learning mode. Even with banners everywhere, there is still a culture to be developed. For now, the local community seems to be attracting good business. It will be interesting to see how things evolve, we expect the best and worst. Having stayed at the Fairmount, we were impressed by the quality of service. A kit was given to us including brochures, towels to clean the bike, a headband, a piece of plastic to protect the bike, etc.Ironically, the strength of this race comes from the fact that for too long, Quebec athletes had to go abroad. There was an obvious excitement at having our own race and it helped get volunteers excited to be part of the race. It is clear that they are the ones who will allow the race to stand out from the others. The hope is still there that a culture will develop. We want thematic aid stations!
Mont-Tremblant 70.3 swim
Mont-Tremblant 70.3 swim
The only major point that will have to be monitored.
Trimes.org had already warned you that drafting would be an issue. And the bike leg did not disappoint in this regard.. The fastest athletes of the first 3 waves could avoid it but not the next ones. There were clearly packs that formed and it became almost impossible for referees to penalize offenders. Obviously, these packs are often formed of « participatory » athletes. Unfortunately, they can become dangerous for « competitive » athletes who try to pass them.We think that the course would be better if it were ran in the reverse direction. The Duplessis section being more selective could allow gaps to occur. We also believe that the organization could have created smaller waves and separated them with more time. Ironman seems to want as many participants on the course as soon as possible. It would be interesting to change this. Obviously, these are facts that do not affect everyone. However, as a « Trimes-er », it is something that keeps pushing us to continue to go Mooseman because the difficulty of the bike course makes the race more fair.We were also frustrated to see some competitive athletes who tried to hang on to wheels once passed by faster athletes. The return on the Duplessis section was a bit pathetic. Close to me, a group of 5-6 riders formed and tried to enjoy each other’s draft in the downhills to save energy before T2. Therefore, they were blocking the way and breaking the rhythm of others. Obviously, we are not surprised by all of this. It is simply a course where this type of scenario always happens because the climbs are not long enough.A challenge for everyone
You can read anything on triathlon forums, but we believe the course is fair. Not too hard for the participatory athletes. Not too easy for the competitive ones.
70.3 Tremblant has set a precedent in quality
The great aspect of this race is that it will also host an Ironman come August. It is difficult for us to see what else Tremblant will be able to do for the « full distance » event since everything is already so top-notch in terms of infrastructures and race-day organization.We congratulate the finish line announcer who did an outstanding job. He made sure to add the “70.3”  to the “You are an Ironman” and seemed to know his subject very well. Bravo!In conclusion, Tremblant will need to tweak a few things, but the race is already well positioned to become a jewel of the 70.3 and Ironman circuits. And never forget that it is the community that will make the success of this race.

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Pre-race Snowbirds fly-over
Pre-race Snowbirds fly-over
The ones that slipped through. Yes, we know, we are tough and that is just the way we are.
More t-shirts
Heard: “We only have size large”. Honestly, it does not change much for us Trimes-ers. Those for whom this race is a life goal, this is a major inconvenience. Some say that this pushes people to buy Ironman souvenirs.

The pro line-up. Even if the race is only 500 points (lowest possible on the circuit), it is hard to believe that the organization had no arguments to make them race here. Obviously, this does not change much for AGs, but for the recognition of the race it does. Moreover, the race is held on an overloaded weekend and goes unnoticed for the moment except on forums for addicts, like Slowtwitch.

Could some holding-back not always be a bad thing, perhaps?
Naturally, Mont Tremblant wants to become the world centre for triathlon training, we want the pros who train in San Diego or Boulder move here. Sorry, but to say such things, one must be pretty disconnected from the realities of the pros. A lot is lacking in Tremblant: affordable accommodations, a 400 m track, a true swimming pool, sports medicine specialists, a “hub” airport. However, we agree with those who think that Mont-Tremblant will become a destination for triathletes from the U.S. North East. Unfortunately, the overeager and maybe premature boasting about Tremblant’s future as a World Centre for triathlon training undermines the credibility of some of the event’s players.

We hope that no representative of the Quebec Language Police (L’office de la langue française) was present
I had the opportunity to deal with the volunteer who refused to speak French while she was responsible for giving me my race kit and the explanations that go with it. Again, this is a detail. There were also some fairly funny translations like the “démontez de votre vélo” (“disassemble your bike”) instead of “descendez de votre vélo” (“get off your bike”. And is it necessary to write “triathlete” in French and English on the bracelet?

The swim start that can be improved
Normally, you must separate different waves. We don’t know if it was done after the fourth wave, but we would have liked this to be more methodical. The beginners are already stressed, some order would have helped.

Swimming in the lake is beautiful, the swim exit is slightly unpleasant. The lake is shallow and we are practically forced to walk the last 50m (150 feet) in the water, and the bad news is that there are a lot of stones, some of them big enough to end up hurting someone. We do not have a solution. But since the exit out of the lake is so wide, there is for sure a possibility to do something. A pontoon could probably be built. But this would imply a significant investment.

Disorganized aid stations
Usually, there is a precise order that is maintained throughout the race. For example : Gatorade, water, coke, etc. Unfortunately, each station had a different system. At Trimes, we are always surprised that no one has thought of a color code system to identify the paper cups. Obviously, this is a detail but the Devil is in the details.

Some bike course sections are sketch
There are only two dangerous passages along the entire course. Although this is a criticism, it is also great news. The downhill section in the old Tremblant Village Tremblant downtown (not the ski station) makes passing almost impossible. And in the last 200 meters (600ft) of running, there is a bend just before the fountain of the gondola that is rather dangerous in case two athletes are sprinting against each other. We know the scenario is unlikely, but having recently seen photographs of the finish, we think it would be a shame if an athlete ran into the barriers.

We did not really understand the changes of the course
The signs on the course (for training) are apparently different from those for race-day. For example, we went through the parking lot of the gas station at the junction of Route 117. We do not know why, but it is not certain that this is safer. The 180 degrees on the 117 and Duplessis were also different. We applaud the initiative to offer the correct distance, but we wonder whether the addition of that missing distance on Duplessis would not have been more appropriate, especially since we think the passage through St-Jovite is dangerous. The running course also presented variations, although the 400m (1200 ft) in/out loop on Lake seemed strange, we loved the fact that it gave the opportunity to spot our competition a second time in the race. We hope this feature will be kept.

A disorganized finish line area
An athlete who passes the finish line must relax for a few moments. We would have loved to have access to an area to sit down. We would also have liked to immediately have access to even a small quantity of Gatorade. So as to have 2-3 minutes to regain a bit of energy before heading to the area with food, massage.

Having experienced a slight discomfort at the finish line
We would have preferred medical support to be closer. It was located in the convention center with the rest of the staff (very nice and very competent). We think an adjustment should be made so care can be given faster.

Trophies with no character (FOR AG).
When you think of how many training hours it takes to make an AG podium,  you would like your trophy to be a little less generic. We would have really liked something in wood. Mooseman and Timberman have already shot-gunned the maple syrup.

We would have loved to be in contact with the organization
Trimes.org was never invited to any press conference, no press release was ever sent our way. It is well known that Marc Roy is aware of trimes.org and we would have loved to better cover of the event, but in the end we were still left in the dark. We may be wrong, but we feel that Trimes.org is the Quebec media that publishes the most about triathlon (yes we know, the quality is not always there). In the end we are both growing organizations.

In this vein, the media coverage of the race is a bit disappointing. We can’t find substantial articles in traditional media. Not their fault.

Shows? Is this the St-Jean?
We felt that Tremblant did not want to celebrate the St-Jean so as not to scare anyone. Is this a missed opportunity? We believe that an athlete party could have been inclusive and would have been really fun. At least, the awards ceremony was great.

A large part of these little issues can be related to volunteers rather than to the organization. Trimes.org has absolutely no desire to criticize volunteers. We simply believe that correcting these points could make the race reach its full potential. There is a certain expertise that must be developed.

Ouatte. De. Phoque?
Ouatte. De. Phoque?
7 commentaires
  1. Lorsque vous dites qu’il n’y a pas de piste de 400 mètres pour la course, vous faites erreur. Il y en a une dans le centre-ville près de la Polyvalente qui est neuve avec de l’asphalte caoutchoutée. Vous ne pourrez trouvez mieux.
    Quant à la section dangereuse de vélo, c’est dans le centre-ville de Mt-Tremblant qu’elle est située et non pas dans le Vieux Village où passe la course à pied.

  2. Hello, just wanted to let you know that there is a sport medecine clinic in Tremblant. It is called Action Sport Physio and is located on St-Jovite street in Mont-Tremblant (Look at the WEB site). Many different services under one roof. Specialized health care professionals.

  3. It was good to read this review, after doing the full IM yesterday. I didn’t see many issues in the 140.6 at all. I am noting a dangerous section of the bike course, in my July visit as well as during the race, on rt 117 a the bottom of a big hill where it opens up into a valley and the winds really pick up and throw your bike around. During the race I almost had a crash.

    For the 140.6, the aid stations were wonderful, with maps posted that showed the location of each thing in the station. The only thing that I didn’t like was that some stations did not have the full assortment.

    The swim seemed kind of dangerous, it was the roughest IM swim I have ever done, and others have noted the same thing. This may be due to the wide swim start. Maybe narrowing up the swim start would make it better?

    They must’ve made the single file areas, due to concerns like yours. Unfortunately, some riders did not obey them, but it wasn’t too bad.

    The medical folks seemed really close to the finish, and were right on hand.

    There was definitely a lack of drinks at the pre race dinner. We got one bottle of water for the whole evening, that’s it.

    The drafting was really bad. At first it seemed like the officials weren’t going to try to do anything about it, but later it seemed like they were cracking down more. The size of the field, almost made it impossible not to.

    The volunteers were wonderful, the venue is wonderful, and the town excitement is incredible. I heard from many people that this race is better than Lake Placid. With it being known as a fast course, this could end up being a highly sought after IM. I think the town has a reason to be really excited.