Kitchener Waterloo Fighting Koalas

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ironman Mont Tremblant race report


Sunday August 17th, 2014

After racing triathlons for 14 years I decided to tackle IM Mont Tremblant!

The days leading up to IMMT were cool to cold and rainy. The wind started to pick up as well. We arrived at our B&B that we stayed at Thursday afternoon, settled in then heading into town to buy some food.
The plan for me was to get up early on Friday and head to the swim course to do a nice swim but Friday morning was cold and rainy. Once I got into the village and the expo I wanted to buy a few things for the race like gloves due to the cool weather. I then headed up to where the registration was and decided to get that over with firstly before my workouts. It was a long line up but went smoothly and once I was finished I headed back to my car to do some workouts.
So I decided to skip the swim and get in a little biking along the bike course heading up to Lac Superior. This section of the bike course is very hilly with multiple steep climbs going up and super fast and twisty downhill descents. The steepest climb is at 14% and honestly didn’t feel that bad climbing it.
Once back from the bike I headed out for a short run and wanted to run down to where T1 would be and run back up the first big climb on the run course. This is a long 6% hill to run up and didn’t feel that bad either as I have been training on a lot of similar type hills in my training leading up to the race.
Workouts finished and I heading back to the B&B.
Saturday was bike check and bag check in day. Again it was cool and rainy out but no issues in getting there and getting my bike and run bags in order along with racking the bike.
We went out for dinner around 5pm and then went straight back to our room and in bed and lights out by 8:30pm. I set the alarm for 3:30am and slept very well with a solid 6.5hrs of sleep. When I woke up I did not feel tired at all. Had a coffee and then my normal breakfast pre-workouts/races of a cinnamon raisin bagel and oatmeal. We then had to drive to the small airport about 5km away and get bussed right into Mont Tremblant. Luckily, it was not raining but was cool and windy out. Once there I checked my bike and run bags then went into T1 to get my bike ready. Everything was good so then heading up for body marking. Once done with that we, meaning me, Michelle and Tricia, walked the 1km over to the swim start.


Getting all set for the swim and heading out for a quick warm up, I suddenly realized that I didn’t have my chip time ankle bracelet on! Oh no, how could I be so stupid?? But then I remembered they have replacement chips for people like me and right under the swim arch they had a table set up. The ladies their were, it’s ok, this is why we are here. Wheww! Disaster averted.
Ok, head out for a little warm up and get into the water and it is cold. They said it was 67F but I know it was probably more like 63F. Now, I don’t mind the colder water but on a day when the air temperature is about the same or cooler it could be an issue once out on the bike. Anyways, the gun goes off the men pros are gone and then the women pros and then waves of age groupers. My wave was 5th and orange swim caps. The beach area is fairly narrow and stays narrow out into the swim for a good 400m or so. Therefore, I was expecting some contact and the boys didn’t disappoint! But overall it wasn’t too bad and once past the pinch point the water really opened up and I was to swim in lots of clean water. Pretty simple course as you head straight out with 13 yellow buoys then a red turn buoy. The wind had picked up and was creating some chop on the lake. A couple of time I got a mouthful of lake water! My sighting heading up to the first turn was bang on! I thought I was drifting to the left but apparently not. Heading back towards the swim exit they had 13 orange buoys to lead the way. It then clouded over and started to get pretty dark out and I did drift a little bit to the left towards the shore. I wanted to avoid the left side as it gets rather shallow and I had t swim over some rocks less than 100m to the exit.
All in all a decent swim for me and out of the water in 1:10:42. 1:10 is exactly what I predicted for myself!
I know I can swim faster than this but I race day mantra was nothing hard, nothing hard. Just pace yourself the entire day. Every time I wanted to swim faster I would look up at the mountains and just keep swimming at that effort level.
Swim exit was smooth and quick. The wetsuit strippers do a excellent job getting your wetsuit off and you on your way. The run from the swim exit into T1 was along the road which usually has a nice soft mat laid down but because of the rain and the threat of rain the race organisers decide to not put the matting down. Bah, killed my feet but made it into T1 ok.


T1 at the Ironman was a new experience for me and initially I was overwhelmed! So many bodies jammed into that little area and I couldn’t find a seat to sit down. Finally I found one and got all my biking gear on headed out to the bike. 11+mins in T1 was horrible.


Having previously raced here in 2012 for the inaugural 70.3 race, I knew the bike course fairly well. In my training leading up to the race I really focused on gaining endurance, biking at the proper effort level, and pacing correctly on the flats on hills. I didn’t have a lot of extra training time to head up to Collingwood to train on the big hills so I made to with biking routes with plenty of hills and just doing multiple loops. Therefore, leading into the race I knew from previous race I had to be conservative on the bike in order to have a chance at a decent run off the bike. Couple that with never doing a marathon let along an ironman and my entire plan was to be conservative. So I was looking at averaging 27-28km/h overall on the bike.
I was close! But for whatever reason I had pee a lot on the bike! I wasted at least 15mins stopping at portapotties at aid stations. It was really annoying so the last 50kms I did not drink as much and that seemed to help.
The weather played a huge factor with the wind right into our faces the entire time going out on Hwy 117. The first section of 117 is very tough to begin with, with lots of hills let alone the headwind! At least we had the wind at our back after the turnaround and heading back to St.Jovite. The long 6% climb was ok, just got into the easiest gear and tried to stay under 200 watts the whole climb, which I was able to do on both laps.
Then it was time to bike into Lac Superior and start climbing the “staircase”. The staircase is multiple very steep but short hills with the steepest climb at 14%. Everyone was in his or her easiest gear just grinding away to get to the top! I did very well in this section on both loops never getting my heart rate above 150 bpm and keeping the power from spiking and burning out my legs.
Overall I was somewhat happy that I was able to stay focused and keep my pace/effort level where I needed to be, but not so happy about losing so much time to the amount of bathroom breaks. Finally finished the bike in 6:52:29, much slower than what I predicted for myself of 6:15.
But my legs felt good for the run!


No problems in T2. In hindsight I should have had a change of clothes with the weather being cooler and getting rained on while out on the run.
I start off running and right out of T2 is a big hill. I initially thought I would walk up this hill but I felt ok running up the hill and continuing on! No legs cramps, heart rate did not spike and off I went unto the marathon!
Never having completed a marathon before this was new territory for me. The run course is hilly the way out of T2, and of course coming back in, for 5-6km. I specifically trained just for this section in my long runs and it helped a lot. The first 21km loop went very well with minimal walking through a few aid stations and one or two hills just walking the very steepest part but was able to keep running!
Getting back into the finish chute I had to turn to the right to head out for my second loop. I thought this would be hard to do but seeing all the people gives you a big boost, and, I got to see Michelle and Tricia along the side cheering me on! I just had to stop for a quick kiss from Michelle!
Unto the second loop and hitting the first big hill again I did walk up the last part of the climb. Then into the town and all the rolling hills I was still keeping my effort level and still running! The further I went to further into the unknown I was going. By this point in the race my stomach was just on the edge. Just the thought of having to gag down another gel made my want to puke! So at the aid station around 28km I think I skipped any food and just had water. I keep running but then really needed to start walking. So I walked right to the end of the trail section and turnaround and along the way my tummy started to grumble! Haha, there is the reason I am walking, I am hungry and need food! Instead of gels I switched to pretzels, some chicken broth, gummy chews and coke! Coke was like rocket fuel and I was able to start running again after getting the food into my stomach. I kept running and running and then a great thing happened to me with 6km to go. I had a huge adrenaline rush after going through the aid station at the turnaround point at the end of the Le Pe’tit trail! I just felt like I could fly and took off running for the finish line. Hill after hill and I just kept running feeling strong! It was an incredible feeling running the last 6km faster than I thought I could never have run a marathon before!
I was getting really pumped and getting spectators cheering for me along the course and then running into the finishing chute was absolutely amazing! I threw my arms into the air and screamed out to the spectators and they all screamed back for me!! So cool!!
Then I crossed the finish line I could hear Mike Reilly announcing; number 2409 Robert Harriman from Kitchener, ON, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!
Finished in a time of 13:32:45.
Predicted time 12:30 range. A little slower than I predicted but this being my first ironman, my race history, I did what I was suppose to do and I was rewarded with being able to finish strong those last 6kms! To me, that is a major victory!
Great experience overall. Love the course and all of the challenges.
Just trying to figure out if I am going to sign up for this race again next year, or wait until 2016 to do another IM? We shall see in the next week or so.

That is my race report for IMMT!
Rob Harriman

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Review of Speed Concept 7.0

Trek Speed concept 7.0 is fast!

By Koalasrob from Waterloo, ON on 7/20/2011


4out of 5

Pros: Comfortable, Responsive, Fast, Good Geometry, Handles Well

Cons: Poor Components

Best Uses: Racing, Serious Training

Describe Yourself: Avid Cyclist

Was this a gift?: No

Great bike as far as the geometry and how it handles but I am having trouble with the SRAM rear and front derauilers. I have adjusted them a few times but I still will get the gears not quite lined up and/or rubbing and making a noise. I also hear a chatter coming from the frontal area of either the forks or head tube along rough roads. These nosies and gearing troubles sure take away from a nice ride!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursdays swim for those not doing the open water.

Here is the Thursday pool swim workout for those that are not going to Guelph Lake today at 6pm for our open water swim practice. But, if you are racing this weekend this will be the perfect time for you to hone up on the open water, wetsuit practice, and other Guelph Lake specific information!

Warm up

• 8 x 50m Any Stroke (even pace), rest 0:15 / 50m
Swim your choice of stroke at a steady pace.
Build up (repeat 6 times)

• 1 x 50m Freestyle Breath Left, rest 0:15 / 50m
Freestyle swim, breathing only on your left side.
• 1 x 50m Freestyle Breath Right, rest 0:15 / 50m
Freestyle swim, breathing only on your right side.

• 8 x 200m Freestyle Swim, target time 03:10 / 200m, rest 0:30 / 200m
Freestyle swim at a steady pace, trying to keep closely to the given target time for every 200m. If your target time is too easy or too difficult, please complete another time trial.
Warm down

• 2 x 50m Freestyle Easy, rest 0:15 / 50m
Freestyle swim at a slow, relaxed pace.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Milton Triathlon

Sunday June 5th saw a perfect day for racing! Sunny and warm with winds not too bad at all. The water temp seemed a little chilly when we got in to do our warm up but after that it is fine and was not a factor at all. I felt good coming out of the water as I got into a nice pace after a bit of a bumpy start. One fellow decide to keep swimming on top of me until I politely pushed him off of me. I'm ok with a little bit of contact but when it goes on and on and on, well, you have to do something. I mean it is a big lake and there is lots of room, a lot more room than people sometimes realize. My sighting seemed a bit off as my goggles filled up with water past the first turn. I tried to just keep going but I finally stopped quickly to empty them and that was much better. Better to stop and loose a few seconds than to keep going almost blind and loose a lot of time. Out of the water in good time and into transition to the bike and now to get the wetsuit off. I got the suit off quickly and out unto the bike and still felt good.

The bike is 30km long with a nasty climb about 3kms in up the 6th line hill. It goes for about 1.5km straight up the Niagara escarpment. Thing is, there are many little hills after this climb along the false flat that make it a challenging portion of the bike. It is a fast course and flattens out the back portion and then you get to go down the 6th line hill at over 70km/h! But at the bottom of the hill is a sharp left hand turn leading back towards the park.

I did start to fade a little bit after the 20km mark. I had trouble keeping up my top speed as my back started to tighten up so I backed off the pace a little bit knowing I still had a tough 7.5km run ahead.

Into T2 feeling a little tight in the back and off to run. I know from past races here that this is a tough run along a mix of trails and roads, flats and hills and down hills with ruts and rocks. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other to not stop! I did fast walk the steep little hill in Halton Hills as I would not of been any faster running up. From that point until the 4km mark is all uphill inside the park on trails. I then drops down back towards the entrance with this nasty little downhill that you had to really watch your footing with the rocks and ruts. After that it was out unto the road for a bit then back into Kelso to the finish. Felt good to finish the race and to be racing again. This is the first time since 2005 that I have done the Milton triathlon and only the second triathlon in the last two years due to injuries, work commitments and life! This race is going to set up the rest of the season nicely for me to do more sprint distance racing. Up next is Guelph Lake 1 - 750m swim/20km bike/5km run. I may then do Muskoka sprint, same distance and then Peterborough sprint at the same distance. After that is back to the longer sprint races with 30km bikes and 7km runs, which I should hopefully be in better all around triathlon fitness for!

Here is my post race analysis for Milton in a graph. First I will explain it all.

Overall time 1:53:20. Overall placing 196/510 = 61.57%, Agegroup placing 26/61 = 57.38%

Swim time 13:08 (1:46) OA 100/510 = 80.39%, AG 11/61 = 81.97%

Bike time 53:38 (33.6) OA 124/510 = 75.69%, AG 17/61 = 72.13%

Run time 44:23 (5:55) OA 348 = 31.77%, AG 46/61 = 24.59% -UGLY!!

What the graph shows is the need to improvement off the bike and unto the run. Or to ease up a bit on the bike but I like the idea of getting better at running off the bike. I think I can still get faster on the bike as well with my new bike, a Trek Speed Concept 7.0. It felt very fast and light and climbing the 6th line hill I was seated pretty much the entire climb other than 2-3 quick jumps off the seat! I could not do this with my old bike as it was an out of the saddle grind up the hill. Two weeks til Guelph to work on improving the run off the bike!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Milton Triathlon tomorrow!

Finally race season is here! After a long hard winter and very wet spring nice weather is finally peaking in on us and tomorrow, June 5th, is looking to be a sunny, warm day for racing! This will be the first time I have raced at Milton since 2005. 2005 the water was very cold and I never thought I would do this race again. Also doing the race with me from the KW Fighting Koalas is Stephen D. and Laura S. Both Stephen and Laura have looked very good in training so I am excited to race and see how they make out! I will post tomorrow after the race with an update and results!
Cheers and happy racing for 2011!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday's Swim Workout

Warm up: 4x50m with 15sec rest
8x50m swim with fins - 15sec
800m pull or 2x400m pull - 1min or 45sec
4x100m swim with fins - 20sec
cool down 2x100measy any stroke - 20sec

Have a good swim, the rest of us will be at Guelph Lake doing our first open water swim practice starting at 6pm!


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Swim workout for Tuesday May 31st

Warm up: 4x100m even pace - 15sec
2x100m single arm, arm out in front, 6strokes left, 6strokes right, 6 full strokes - 20sec
2x100m distance per stroke - 20sec Count your strokes per lap and try and reduce
6x200m - 30sec
2x100m easy any stroke cool down - 20sec