Cynthia Ciavaglia - Ironman Mont Tremblant 70.3

Race report IM Mt70.3
Andrew and I arrived in Mont Tremblant in the afternoon on the Friday before the race. As we drove up Montee Ryan I experienced so many emotions. I raced IMMT 70.3 in it's inaugural year, 2012. I loved that race and I loved Tremblant, the course, the atmosphere, the volunteers and the people made everything so perfect. Would this race live up to those expectations? Would I be able to reach my goal set in 2012 of going under 6 hrs for this race? Would the ghost of Knoxville (the terrible race I had just four weeks prior)  haunt me the entire day? Would I stay focused on the process and not let my ego get the best of me? I would have these answers in two short days...


We stayed at the Hilton at the top of the hill. Once we checked into our suite we proceeded to race check in. As we walked down the pedestrian village street all I could think about is how the hell I was going to get my bike back up the steep hill after the race. Little did I know I'd be actually running up it DURING the race!

Check-in went smoothly, I got a really nice silver bib since I am an Silver AWA (this means I raced a lot so I got lots of points- not that I'm fast, lol).

My workout for Friday was 1.5 hrs aerobic with some efforts. I think I got about 1:15 done but damn did I feel good, happy, excited! The fresh air, the beautiful hills, so many other athletes, a town dedicated to making this an amazing experience for everyone. I couldn't wait to get on that course. The only thing that would put a damper on this experience was the weather forecast.


The Tremblant 5150 was on Saturday morning. After cheering and spectating a bit we got to swim. I was a bit concerned about how the water would feel but at 62 F it was absolutely glorious. I swam out into the lake, stopped and just took it all in. One of the most beautiful swims you could imagine and so easy to sight and navigate.

 After a bike and run, the rest of the day was spent relaxing and preparing for the big dance.


Race Day:

So my goals for the race were simple: swim comfortably, bike strongly, run fearlessly.

The race started a bit later (8am) so after a 5 am rise and an oatmeal and coffee brekkie Andrew and I dropped our stuff at transition and came back to the room for about a 1/2. It was supposed to rain, thunderstorm, be cold, be hot, be windy etc. so in transition I pretty much had everything I needed for any type of weather. I've done way too many races in pouring freezing rain to overlook the impact cold rain can have on your day. I have decided from now on I would gladly give up 30 sec to get dressed for comfort on a ride.

At the swim start we donned our wetsuits and went to warm up, well, Andrew warmed up and I just stood around a peed, like 15 times. The water was 64F but felt much colder than the day before. We soon parted ways. I'm so thankful for my husband's support and was really excited for him to be doing that race with me. He worked really hard the last couple of months and he deserved to have an awesome day.


Swim: 33:09

In line at the swim start I listened to the ladies chat- believe it or not I try to keep to myself, stay calm and quiet before the start. I get focused and visualize my swim. I haven't really been swimming too much lately and didn't expect much from the swim. I just wanted to swim strong, controlled and not go out too fast. The horn went off and off I went. After a couple of dolphin dives I started to swim. The water felt beautiful and I felt calm and strong.  A couple of girls took off like lightening and while I wanted so much to get out and try to hang on to one of them I just let it go and did my thing. The course was really well marked and it was slightly overcast so it was really easy to sight. I just swam straight for each buoy and it was over in about 33 min, about 2 min slower than last time. I was happy. Got stripped and ran the long red carpet to T1.


T1: 5:23

Here I made the decision to forgo all of the warm stuff I had to put on. It felt perfect outside. Put my helmet, glasses, shoes on and made my way to the mount line, mounted my steed and I was off...


Bike: 3:03:09

I got on that bike and I felt joy.

My goal was to keep my power at 130w and adjust up or down by 10w depending on how I felt. I quickly reached 140w and pretty much maintain a NP of 140 for the whole race. I stayed in aero as much as possible, which was quite easy as I have been feeling very comfortable on my bike lately and do pretty much all of my long rides solely in aero. For the larger climbs I'd sit up, focus on maintaining about 170w and kept my cadence around 70. I worked the downhills because I knew was is where I'd make up for my lack of climbing ability.  I took in a GU every 30 min, tried to drink a bottle of Gatorade each hour (I failed on that goal) and took BCAA's at hour 1 and 2 ( new thing for me). I stayed focused on how I felt at all times, what my power was and what my cadence was. I smiled and said "Merci" to every volunteer and as we biked through St Jovite, I cheered the spectators. It was an amazing ride until we got to that last section. Those hills were relentless. You know that moment when you click and pray you have another gear just to find out you don't? Well, that happened more than once! But I felt like I had enough in me and didn't feel like I burned myself on the other sections. Once we hit the turn around it was ON, had to make up for lost time! The atmosphere on the bike course is electrifying, through the town of St Jovite, passing by transition on the way out to the hills and coming back in the streets are lined with cheering people. It really, really was totally awesome.


Cynthia Ciavaglia slaying the bike portion of IMMT 70.3 2015


Parked bike, lubed armfat, socks/ shoes on, GU/visor in hand, I'm off.. stop and wait at port-a-potty (I've never waited before but for some stupid reason I waited at the busiest john...stupid). On the way out of the port-a-potty looked in the mirror and said out loud "be fearless"


Run: 2:10:09

Felt fantastic as I started to run. Arms up, how are my feet hitting the pavement, don't fucking stop at this hill, run, run, control your breathing, relax my shoulders, run up that fucking hill, just keep running, holy shit your doing good!, how the hell you gonna stop at that hill? Gu, water, ice, get to the flat section, awesome, holy shit it's  paved black, fuck it's hot, my feet are starting to burn, don't think, just run, aid station, take something, Gatorade, ice, run, don't trust a fart, port-a-john, keep running, TURN AROUND!!! I'm being fearless! Chevy! "stay cool babe, you're awesome!"... run, pick up my knees, quads are dying, they are burning and they hurt, (stop and loosen my left shoe because my foot is cramping)... ok now the shit gets real, fuck fearless, try to hang on, try to run up the hills, ok a little walk but run down the hills, (veered onto a path) this is absolutely beautiful (get a bit teary) how am I so lucky that I get to do this here?! "look up" (to the guy next to me)... "Holiday" is playing at the next aid station! my girls are here with me!!! high five the fireman in full gear, omg I might die, try to keep running, shit is falling apart... it's ok, I was fearless for the first 10k, enough fearlessness for one day, walk up the hills... ok we are entering the town! How can I run up that cobble stone walkway when I can hardly even walk up it?? yay, that shit's over, "we were awesome today" said to the girl running next to me. "yes we were" she says back. ok, it's downhill now, I will not run fast, I will high five every kid I see, I'm going to love every second of this because I'm not doing this again for a really long time...OMG I just PB'd :)

Cynthia Ciavaglia's fastest ever 1/2 Ironman finish on the difficult course at IMMT 70.3 2015


Thanks to my awesome coach Russ VanEvery for absolutely everything. You are fantastic!


Thanks to my awesome husband Andrew Ciavaglia for being such a  supportive training/racing/travel partner.





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