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Getting Started With Power: Mont-Tremblant 70.3

Race recap from Daniel Walker as he looks back on his race and power numbers

Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches at 2015 Ironman Mont-Tremblant

After months of putting in the hard yards in the pool, drenching my apartment floors with sweat from my trainer and racking up the miles on my feet it was finally time for my season’s A race, Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant. It was to be my second time lining up on the shores of Lac Tremblant and I was keen to not repeat the mistakes of my last appearance there in 2016.

Everything was set for a great weekend. I had a great Air BnB right on the run course, the weather on the day ended up being an overcast 20 degrees and so far I had managed to avoid overdoing things in my taper week.  Which as any triathlete knows is not an easy thing to do. What do normal people do with all this free time?!?

My plan was to start out with a super conservative swim.  I’m definitely not one of those people who can seamlessly check their swim pace mid-stroke, whenever I try it looks so frantic the lifeguards tend to be concerned that somebody is drowning. So I use perceived effort instead and just try to go at “all day” pace when I’m in the half distance and above.  So besides a couple feet to the face, the swim went as well as could be expected and I came out of the water in 37:12 ready to head out on the bike

Once I was through T1 and made the turn onto Chemin Duplessis I was focused on not overdoing things. Last time I did the race I was so amped up coming out of the swim that I blew up after about 40km. I wasn’t riding with a Power Meter then so I figured this time as long as I was disciplined about my numbers I’d stand a much better chance at having something left in the last 10km of the run. So with my measured FTP of 254 I planned on sitting around 75% of that number (roughly 190 watts) until the uphill section of Chemin Duplessis. There, I knew that with all the steep ramps I wasn’t going to keep my power numbers consistently in that range.

Everything was going well for the first 30km. There was a headwind out on the 117 to the turnaround at La Belle. I took thinks purposefully easy on the climbs, only peaking at 320W on the hill to La Conception. I was really proud of my self for mostly sticking to my power range and not getting caught up in the adrenaline rush of the last time.  And as I made the turn I was still on pace for my target time despite the headwind. Needless to say, I was pumped.  Looking through the data I can my Normalized Power was 183W so not far off my target and I was feeling fresh. But after Labelle things took a turn. Going through the aid station I went to grab a banana when the athlete one banana station in front of me came to a screeching halt. Not having any time to swerve I went over his back wheel over my handlebars and came to a screeching halt using my face instead of the preferred way with my brakes. It was there that the medical team swarmed me and automatically pulled me when they saw the damage to my face.

A disappointing end to the race for sure, I mean nobody plans on crashing at 34kms into a 70.3, but I was definitely impressed by the medical team and the clinic in the village.  I walked out of the medical office with just some bad road rash around noon as most people were finishing their race.  That was a tough end to the weekend but I’m more motivated than ever to get back and make things right on those roads in 2019. I found that despite the crash I was really encouraged by my early performance, having those power numbers available really helped keep me disciplined and sticking to the plan. Part of that comes from the months of training with power that I did beforehand. Knowing how those wattage numbers feel on the road and not just on the trainer helps to make all that work on the winter work feel worthwhile. Hopefully I’ll line up at a local sprint race in the next few weeks and there I’ll use the power meter not to stay disciplined and conservative, but to go all out and drop as many watts as I can over 20k.