Tremblant is our favorite race. I pick up the girls in Montreal on their way home from visiting grandma and then we drive up to Tremblant for a long weekend. We love absolutely everything about the village, the people, the race. We are lucky to have such a superb race in an easily drivable distance from home.
This race was the first one after I “officially” stopped my campaign for Kona qualification. I raced free from the burden of Kona thoughts, pushed the swim and the bike, and survived on the run. I saw the girls several times, and those were by far the happiest moments of the race and more or less the only moments that I remember from the race itself. Well, except that I got my first bike penalty and spent 5 minutes standing in a penalty tent – I do remember that. My time was not my best, but it wasn’t terrible.
The surprise came at the end, when results showed me in 6th place in my age group. That is about 20 better than my usual position. So, after some hesitation, I went to awards – the girls told me to – and waited to see what happens when they get to my age group. It took two hours to get to us older men, and I have almost left the tent several times before our turn came… Four slots were allocated to us, as ours is one of the biggest age groups in terms of participation, with almost 300 racing Tremblant this year, about 15% of the total field. Then things turned interesting. The winner of my age group did not claim his Kona ticket, which meant that his ticket rolls down to the fifth place finisher. Which also meant that I was just off going to Kona by one spot. Then the third place finisher waived his Kona ticket, rolling it down to the sixth – me.
This almost gave me a heart attack. I could not believe that it may happen for us, getting to Kona on a roll down ticket. I waited until number four and then five claimed their tickets.
Then Mike Reilly called my name. I rushed through the sea of empty chairs to the front, in shock, shaking, close to tears. I got a lei around my neck from a girl and soon had our Kona ticket in my hand. I texted the girls, told them we are going to Hawaii in six weeks.
You never know what a race will throw at you - you do your best, then it is tossed into the hopper of who is there that day and in what shape, then your result comes out, and most likely on will surprise you one way or the other.