It is not so much that it was a hot day for Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant Sunday, but that the heat snuck up a lot of the 1,785 triathletes in the race after a cool and rainy June in many parts of the country.
“The heat definitely made it tough,” said Toronto’s Tamara Jewitt, who won the pro women’s race handily, in a time of 4:19:29, nearly nine minutes ahead of American Amber Ferreira. “It just hasn’t been so hot yet this summer in Canada.”
“I find in races like that, it’s up and down: you have moments when you feel great and moments that feel really tough. You just have to get through the tough moments to trust that you’ll feel good in the next one.”
If there were down moments for Jewett, they were not too apparent to spectators who lined the course, nary a mask in sight in what truly felt like a post-pandemic relaunch.
She was the fifth woman out of the water, nearly four minutes behind third-place finisher, American Rachel Olson, who emerged from Lac Tremblant in a time of 24:44 – the eighth-fastest swim time overall.
But Jewett moved up steadily, pulling into second place by the time she reached the 25-km mark of the bike course and holding onto it. She finished the bike leg just 36 seconds behind American Sonja Catano, with Amber Ferreira, also of the U.S., nipping at her heels. Within the first four km of the run, both had passed Catano.
Ferreira, a fixture at this race, was thrilled with her second-place finish. Her husband Danny was waiting for her on the red carpet with their 10-month-old daughter Charlie, and Ferreira ignored the cameras, heading for the baby with outstretched arms and grinning from ear to ear.
“It was just awesome out there,” she said.
“Ten years of racing here, and I was so excited to come back. It’s my first race since I had Charlie.”
There was no hint of any disappointment in taking a back seat to Jewett.
“I knew she would probably outrun me by 10 minutes,” said Ferreira. “And I think that’s just what she did!”
Catano came in fourth, in 4:34:10, and just over a minute behind her, in fifth place, was Quebec’s Pamela-Ann Bachelder St-Pierre, in 4:35:16. For Bachelder St-Pierre, that strong showing was a vindication of sorts.
“I’m really happy,” said Bachelder St-Pierre, her voice breaking with emotion. “Since COVID, I have had a really tough two years.”
Bachelder St-Pierre works as a physiotherapist in the university hospital network in Quebec City, and she said her mental focus has been on her patients throughout the pandemic.
“Now things are better, and I can focus on racing,” she said.