2013 IM 70.3 Tremblant – Racing In La Belle Province Doesn’t Disappoint

During my tenure as a mountain bike professional I was fortunate to race in Quebec numerous times on the World and Canada Cup circuit.  There were a number of years where I travelled to Mont Tremblant to enjoy the awesome trails and beautiful village.  This year I returned to enjoy the paved surfaces and aquatic environment at the venue and I have found my new favorite.   Wow, Tremblant.. what a show!  The race was challenging in both the course and the competition and I am happy to have held third place with Linsey Corbin and Magali Tissyere taking top spots in front of me.  I continue my march back to fitness and a podium is excellent!


 Copyright Nathalie Madore photo.  This is Melanie using her Pearl Izumis like a skier uses her skis! (I got rocks in them somehow)

Racing in Quebec is always of the highest quality.  From the excellent prerace excitement, the incredibly well organized expo and course, the nicest road surfaces I have ever raced on, the best run aid station energy, lots of media and a sold out field of 2300 people: this race is incredible.  You must do it.


The day began with my worst swim ever in history.  I don’t know what happened.  I was swimming fine until the first turn buoy and then somehow I drowned.  I don’t know how I lost the group because I didn’t blow up I just stopped moving.  I can’t even explain it.  I am so comfy in my Blue Seventy wetsuit and it is of the best quality suit on the market so something I am doing when I swim is wrong.  This is my main disappointment on the day.  What happened?  I am actually a good swimmer!

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 Mel’s cute Blueseventy swimsuit and the goggles of choice for race morning.  Sweet 🙂

Needless to say spotting more than 2 minutes to Linsey and Magali and riding alone didn’t set me up for Mel’s best race.  I gathered my wits and my courage but lost further time on the day.  I think in the end when I look at all the splits everything was equally a bit off.  I hope to go faster on the bike in particular in the future as that wasn’t really the ride i had anticipated.  Third fastest bike split but not enough to find my way back into the race.


Sticking your tongue out does make this much easier.  Nice pedi, eh?

My run started strong and I took back a few seconds from Magali early on but in the final stretch faded a bit.  I was strong enough to run back into third and hold with a solid lead on fourth.  Running into such an amazing finish line with so many fans is awesome.  The organizers of Tremblant really had a solid dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Championships with this event.  It is going to be awesome.


 Merci pour le beatdown Tremblant!

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We ran down this towards the finish line.

Thanks so much to Tremblant for the invitation to such a great event.  Thank you to the legions of volunteers, police and Quebec government for making the race possible.  Thanks to Synergy Heath Management for the post bike fit tuneup J  I made some changes to my position this week that I think are going to be a big change for future races.

Thanks to Shimano and Cyclo Technique Montreal for the pre race support!

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Thanks to Champion System for the kits pre race…  say no to butt crack!

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Thanks to Trek, Bontrager, Powerbar, Polar, Rudy Project, Blueseventy wetsuits, Powertap, USANA and SciCon bags.  Thanks also to my local YYJ supporters Pro City Racing and Synergy Health Management.

Thanks also to my friends Magali Tissyere and Linsey Corbin and the rest of the women’s field for being such excellent competitors and great people as well.  Always a pleasure to test myself against such incredible athletes.  Congratulations to Terenzo, Brent, Guillame, Trevor and the men’s field as well for putting on a great show!

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 Mini Mel and Mini Mags in the mega chair.

P.S.  This was the cookie that Trevor Wurtele was trying to temp me with…..luckily I am an oatmeal raisin girl…

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2013 East Championship: Richmond, VA the Dirty Duathlon

The 2013 edition of this race was in jeopardy of cancellation due to stormy weather creating soggy trails and flooding of the James River.  Only the commitment of the Richmond Parks Department Trail Manager  Nathan Burrell and some last minute sunny weather kept the race alive, albeit without a swim.  This is the second time I have raced a duathlon at this venue.  The lack of swim combined with lackluster legs on the bike did not bode well for my overall race performance.  I ran and pedaled hard and after it was said and done finished fourth behind hard charging Lesley, Shonny and Brandi while managing to hold off speedy Danelle in the closing miles of the second run.   


Lots of Canadians 🙂

My performance was summed up by Brandi Heisterman, who passed me very early on the first lap:  “you were riding a bit like a donkey.”  Agreed – losing 5 minutes to the fastest bike split on this course not what I would generally expect from myself or how I have ever performed here.  I held on for a lap but crappy legs from the half Ironman last weekend added up to me dropping back instead of surging forward.   These XTERRA girls are fast and when I’m not at my best its a tough go.  I didn’t focus much of my season on the XTERRA series this year so although I’m disappointed I know where these results are coming from.   Could be much better.

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Yes I am wearing gloves, it was to speed up my transition 🙂

I think it is 100% a crapshoot how you are going to feel one week out of a 70.3 event, last year I was great after Honu but that was coming off a bad 70.3 race and 8 days rather than 7 in between.  I think the quality of racing you exhibit at a 70.3 will determine recovery time, with better races requiring more time to bounce back than crappy races.  Racing XTERRA, which requires maximum power AFTER the 70.3 which is more sustained power is challenging within a week.  The races would pan out better if I could schedule them in the opposite way but that just isn’t how the schedule laid out.   I am happy to have raced and pushed myself on a tough day and I am marching forward with improving fitness towards races later this season.  

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Riding dirty. 

I     With the Polar RC3 GPS not only can I track heart rate, but I can also see pace during the race which is very useful going forward.  This file is quite different from the heart rate profiles from last year when I was feeling great.  My heart rate is much lower and dips on the second lap of the bike showing that there was a significant decline in input (heart rate measures mostly your INPUT/power and pace measure OUTPUT)… which resulted in less output on the bike and explains the less than stellar bike split for me.  You can use your heartrate monitor information in this way to more objectively measure your performance especially after you have made a more subjective call on how you felt.  

–      The Race Notes:

–     Luck Stone is a local sponsor who incorporated their own GPS technology allowing fans to follow their favorite pros on race day.  This is an incredible step forward in promoting a participant sport’s fan base – THANK YOU for allowing others to follow along on race day.  Awesome.



This is where my chip ended up 🙂

–  Canadian pro girls outnumbered the non-Canadian girls in the field.  My work here is done, haha!  If Chantal Whidney had not had a flat she would have been in the mix as well.

–        Duct tape is not an acceptable mode of race kit repair.  Although Champion System offered to replace the kit I thought I would be swimming in the James River and thus destroy the new one anyways so I decided to try to fix it.  Didn’t work out when I stuffed my GPS down my pants when the strap for that broke as well.  Eventually I lost the GPS, my seat bag and a bit more coverage of my butt.  I noticed the crazy fans appreciated the low cut version of the arse of my outfit.  You’re welcome boys!

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Duct tape almost fixes anything.  Almost. 

Next up is Mt Tremblant 70.3 where I will continue my progress towards a spot at Vegas 70.3 Worlds.  My running is feeling strong and I look forward to showing that improvement at a race – SOON!  I will be spending more time dialing my position on the Trek Speed Concept in the coming weeks.


Thanks to Trek, Bontrager, Shimano, Champion System, Powerbar, Polar USA, Champion System, Rudy Project, Powertap, Blueseventy, eSoles, SciCon Bags, Synergy Health Management in Victoria and USANA.  Thanks to Jay and Celine for another year at Casa Stuart Ave.  Thanks to Al and Helen for another fun day in Cary, NC.  Thanks to XTERRA and Nathan at Richmond Parks Department for rolling with the punches and pulling off a successful event under challenging conditions.  Thanks to the Canadian girls: Buttons, Brandi, CJ, Danelle and Chantal for a fun post race debriefing, always great to have such a strong contingent speaking Canuck.  Lastly big congratulations again to Lesley who is having such an amazing season.  Way to go girl, you’re wearing that World Champion title well.  Best of luck with the mountain biking in July!

2013 Raleigh 70.3 – Beauty In The Southeast

The last time I visited North Carolina was to attend the superfantastic Pisgah Stage Race.  It was love at first sight and I knew that another trip to the “First In Flight” state was on my wish list.  So when the inaugural Raleigh 70.3 was announced one week out from the Richmond XTERRA, I was in.  This meant much less travel than last year coming from Hawaii and more time adjusting to the challenging weather conditions the Southeast loves to throw at athletes.  I definitely made an excellent decision.  What a wonderful place.


Hot for a Canadian, Bob Hennessy photo

My race on Sunday was pretty darn good.  First off,  lets discuss how hard Ironman is for a second.  It was horribly humid and you need to keep moving for hours and hours.  I recognize it could have been hotter and the bike portion of the race was somewhat cool due to cloud cover but by the time we got to that bear of a run it was stinkin hot.  To come third behind rockstars like Laura Bennett and Emma Kate lidbury and stay in front of Jessica Jacobs and Beth Shutt in the southeast with 4 days of acclimation is freaking great.  To come third in a 70.3 finally after more than a year of biomechanical failure is also delicious.  On a course with a flat bike (least least favorite) and a run from hell (not the flavor I would ever choose) is even better.  Despite conditions not playing to my strengths I kept it together and had a great result.  I am so excited about that.  However, I was solidly pounded by race winner, Olympian and fellow Champion System athlete Laura Bennett in the swim and the run though so there is room for improvement.  I am not going to rest on this but rather use it as a signpost for the direction I need to go in order to attain the level I want to race at.  Big congratulations to both Laura and Greg Bennett for reigning supreme on the day.


Polarpersonaltrainer.com indicates kind of a slow death in the heat on race day.


Now a short recap.  The swim was another version of the Alabama switch where the supposedly definitively non wetsuit race became wetsuit.  Again, many pros left wetsuit free.  I was not one of them.  On the swim the fastest girls all managed to position themselves with about 15 seconds to cannon on the opposite end of the pack from me despite my focused stalking of Laura all morning.  Seriously, one minute we are all there the next they are on the absolute opposite end of the pack, wtf.  So then I was sucked into Laura’s superswimmer tactics where she busted left AWAY from the buoys (where I’m lined up) so I had to sprint, cross the entire field to get on the back of a tiny 3 person pack which was swimming away from me.  After I made contact with one pair of feet for about 25 seconds, I was dropped and plowed my own water all swim.  Dagnabbit.

Then out onto the bike I put my head down and got within sight of the foursome in front of me (they had a couple of men they out swam in with them) in the first hour but that was when the course was going up a little.  When the terrain got a bit faster and more downhill, the elastic stretched again.  I am really not that good in the flat fast courses and need hills to use my power.  I mean, that is the nature of my strength right now but this race has shown me I want to work harder on that.  So I never really got in contact with the leaders despite posting second fastest bike split.  Emma Kate is fast. 

Out onto the run I was expecting something resembling the course profile.  Notsomuch.  Here are some of my thoughts:  Where the heck did all these mountains over by the art gallery come from?  Who turned up the heat?  Why is the whole way on the way out totally uphill when the profile says it is flat?  The run was really really hard.  When most of the pro men are in the 1:20s range you know it is hard.   I was spending the entire run trying not to do my classic southeastern chicken dance instead of finishing.  I walked aid stations, took 4 cups of ice cubes and generally went into meltdown protection mode.  I was briefly passed by Jessica Jacobs where there was two laps of one mile and prayed she was a mile behind because I had no chance of staying with her.  Thankfully, she was as she cracked fastest women’s run split.  Lucky me I could hold her off.


Must… go….. faster!!!!!!

So I saw none of the beauty on the run course since I was blind with suffering but the bike was incredibly awesome.  So green, best roads in the world, most fans on the side of the road ever, best aid stations ever, most interesting point to point journey, you name it this race is awesome.  I loved it. Want to come back.

Thank you to the spectator who gave up their seat on the shuttle for me on race morning, you are a doll!  Thank you to Helen and Al McCleary my homestays who are so fun and interesting to hang out with. 


Al and Helen almost let it slip by me that they HATE beets!  Dinner was loaded with them.  Haha!

Thank you to the adorable race director Brian Myrick for solving my massive wardrobe malfunction on race morning J 


Um, yeah, fatass ripped her pants on race morning 🙂

Thank you Blue Seventy for sending a sleeveless wetsuit to prevent my massive overheating in the questionably 76 degree lake water in the morning.  Thanks to Trek, Shimano, Bontrager, Powerbar, Polar, Rudy Project, Champion System, Powertap, and USANA.  Thank you to Adam Zucco of Trainingbible coaching for some excellent comeback advice and thanks to Clint Lien and my Tuesday AM Swim Club kids for setting a new level of expectation for all of us.


Feels good to start the form rolling again.  See ya in Richmond, eh?