Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Race Report: Mont Tremblant Sprint

Second race of the season.  Second attempt at the Tremblant Sprint.  Second place finish!

Two is a good number for me this season.  Now, I'd obviously prefer #1, but #2 means that I have lots of lessons learned from this race.


On Thursday night, I had quite an adventure with Dave trying to get Pistol Annie set-up for the race.  The aerobars had been put on too close together, and they are quite difficult to adjust on my Argon 18 E-117 Tri+.  After about 4 hours and 3 shifter cables later, she was ready and I was feeling badly for wasting Dave's evening when he should have been packing for his own race in Tremblant.  Very thankful to have good friends who are generous with their time and knowledge!

On Friday, Adam, Jes and I drove to Tremblant.  We had a detour for our Costco run, since it was a holiday on the Quebec side of the river, but eventually we made it to our AirBnB.  We quickly unpacked the car, then drove down to the village for packet pick-up and a little pre-race activation for me. It is always so exciting to be in the village on race weekend.  Ironman and the village of Mont-Tremblant bring out all the bells and whistles for the weekend. It is amazing how supportive the community is of the races!

We went back to our cottage to relax and make dinner - salmon, chicken, roasted veggies, and salad.  While we waited for Jenn and Gilly to arrive, I organized my race gear, painted my nails, made my breakfast of overnight oats, and foam rolled.  We also enjoyed watching USA Gymnastics Nationals and on Saturday USA men's gymnastics Olympic Trials (so incredible and inspiring)!  I got in bed around 10:30, a little later than I'd hoped, but good enough.

The alarm went off at 4:15 and before I knew it, I was back in the village setting up my transition area among the sea of athletes competing in the sprint and 5150.  A short walk to the swim start, a long time getting my Roka Maverick on, and a little warm-up were all that stood between me and my second race of the season. 


The swim was pretty uneventful.  I positioned myself near the far right edge of the beach, hoping to get a good line to the buoys.  There were two girls slightly in front of me, but I knew that I had a good shot of slipping between them and getting out front.  After a few big bounds into the water, it was time to swim and put the pedal to the metal to take a lead.  I swam pretty hard for the first 150m, then settled in a little too much to a pace that was probably not hard enough. It didn't feel like I was moving particularly fast, but that is definitely an indication of my current swim fitness.  Unlike the previous year, I had no problems swimming through the wave ahead of me and there was little to no contact with any other swimmers.  Turning toward the exit, I had to de-fog my Roka goggles, because the sun was so bright that I could no longer see the buoys.  It felt like the beach would never come, but then I was suddenly out of the water and running the long path to transition.  It was awesome to have the support of the crowds lining the path and of course to have my own personal cheering squad - Jenn, Gilly, Adam, and Jes!

T1:  Moral of the weekend -- I need to work on my transitions.  This one was especially slow as I had a hard time getting my helmet on over my braid.  I lost a lot of time struggling with it, but was finally on my way.  With my new bike, I hadn't had time to practice flying mounts enough to be comfortable trying one in race.  So I ran with my bike shoes on and actually felt like that part was pretty fast (and no trouble clipping in at the line).


Oh, Duplessis. How I loathe thee... The main reason for signing up for the sprint again this year was to avoid having to ride Duplessis twice in the Olympic.  It's 10k uphill.  The hills are relentless with changes in pitch and a pretty significant gain in elevation.  On one of the hills, I met Will as I was trying to pass him and not get caught drafting (geez that is hard on a hilly course!).  Will told me that I was the first woman and to pick it up.  I tried, I swear!  But around the 8k mark, Stephanie passed me.  This is where I learned the lesson that I need to start "racing" my races.  When I saw her, I really tried to pick my pace up a little bit, but it was hard to do that and climb at the same time.  Anyways, leaving those excuses behind is what will get me to the next level.  Racing is supposed to be hard right!  In the end, I was super happy with my bike, because it was nearly 6 minutes faster than last year!! Woot!! Oh yea, I LOVE my new bike. Pistol Annie is a dream to ride. Thank you Dave for spending so much time helping me to get her ready on Thursday night!

T2:  Not much to report except that perhaps my race laces are too tight on my New Balance Vazee Pace shoes.  A bit of a struggle to get them on properly, but I got on my way quickly and I didn't forget anything important, like my bib or my watch... 


Holy hills! There are 7 hills in 5k on this run - 3 on the way out, 3 on the way back, plus an extra hill for good measure up into the village.  Over the past while, I've been practicing my downhill running, so I felt pretty good attacking these hills and taking advantage of the free speed on the way down.  I knew I had one girl ahead of me, so tried to just go for it on the run.  At the turnaround, I also saw the girl in third close on my heels, so I knew I had to really pick it up on the way back to the finish.  However, I felt like I could have put the jets on a little bit more and actually "race" this one.  That is something to work on for the future.  It was so nice to have lots of friends cheering out on the course and those cheers and the great volunteers helped me to the finish!  The finish line at Tremblant is pretty awesome and makes you feel a bit like a rock star coming down the chute with the announcer calling your name and the flashing strobe lights and music blasting.  Canadian multi-Ironman Champion Lisa Bentley presented me with a finisher's towel and medal after I crossed the line.

Heart and Courage all the way!


After the race, I was exhausted.  Sprints may be short, but they sure are hard! It was a really fun race and I was so happy to have been able to finish.  I'll take some lessons ahead to Nationals on July 23 - particularly the need to dig deep and actually "race." I admit that I'm a bit disappointed that I only finished 45s back from 1st, largely due to my transitions, so that will be another area to work on over the next few weeks.

Overall Female Podium

Women 30-34 Podium
In the end, I had a great weekend at Tremblant and I'm happy with the result.  Thank you to my sherpas for the day, my training partners, friends, and Team Coeur Sports.  Photos are a mixture of official race photos (Finisherpix), race photographers, and our own. Thank you to all for your beautiful photos!

The crew on Sunday for Jenn and Gilly's 70.3!


  1. Congrats Kelsey on the great result! Inspiring. Beautifully written and great pics. Rob A

  2. Awesome race!!! Yes sprints are supposed to hurt. It sounds like it was hurting!! Yes transitions can make or break your race. Isn't that funny? How that works!!? Now you know what to work on for the next one!! :) 2nd place is proud!!!

  3. Congratulations from all of us at Coeur! We love your finish line picture!

  4. I love that painting your nails is part of the process. I can relate. I always make sure my toenails are in tiptop shape for walking around barefoot in my wetsuit. I had the same problem with the sun when I did CdA. There is nothing worse than being blinded by the sun!

    Wow, I can’t believe you were only 45 second away from 1st! It’s amazing how as the distance of the tri gets shorter, ever second counts even more. I know what you mean about practicing transitions. I have over 7 minutes of transition time in CdA and was kicking myself for taking so long.

    Way to go! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next!

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