Monday, July 21, 2008

Where's Drew? - Part II - Quebec

So you've read Leslie's rather short race report (short for her). I'm going to give you a little more from my perspective - support crew.

This was quiet the whirlwind trip as is standard practice for us. We got in to Quebec City around 10 or 10:30 pm and the race director for the double had promised to pick us up and there he was. On the way to the dorm/apartment (I know, pretty basic, but it saved us a ton), leslie was trying to confirm how to get to the race course and all from the dorm since we were not going to have a car. The race director, Jean Guy, just ended up taking us to the race site, how cool. He then walked us to the swim start and the bike transition. On the way back to the dorm, he stopped at a grocery store so we could get a couple things to eat.

Well, morning came early, I believe the sun was up at 4:30 am, felt like 11 am. Anyway, leslie put her bike together and we headed down to the race course so she could swim and ride a little, I ran along side on the way there. What a nice bike trail. So the St. Lawrence river is a huge, long river and has maybe a 10-15 foot tide, who knew? Well, we got to the swim site and it was on its way to low tide, I'll show you some pictures during the later to give you a perspective but note the trees and where the water is in this one. Leslie went out and eventually got in deep enough water to swim a little then did a few laps on the bike before we started to head back to the dorm. The intent was to run back and she would ride of course, but very quickly it was all about food. We stopped a pizza place and sat outside which then turned into a walk back to the dorm basically but the weather was just about perfect.

Our friends were due in from Pittsburgh and we were going to have a casual dinner and get all caught up. Well they didn't end up getting there until 10 pm or so, so we went and dinner at a little pizza place at the corner. They have this item called a poutine, that in our opinion just rocks! It basically is french fries with cheese curds (big ones like buffalo mozzeralla slices) smothered in brown gravey, Ooooo!!!!! Anyway, the next day thursday was the pre-race dinner and introductions. Not much interesting here, except that leslie was kind of feeling like a little fish in a really big sea.

Next day, Friday, was the race. We got leslie down there early but with the sun up at 4:30 am it felt late. They lined the athletes up by country and they walked across the bike trail and then were given a few minutes to get ready to swim. Because you swim down stream and the water seems to edy out, pushing you back up, it was expected this would be a fast swim. Well for the leaders it was pretty fast. For leslie, it got a bit challenging with 4 laps to go. Anyway, she came out of the water 5 minutes behind Astrid (a former world champion and course record holder) and 3 minutes behind Syria from Great Britian. I was very encouraged by this. On to the bike, and things seemed to be

going quiet well. Astrid only had a one lap lead at best, but didn't really look comfortable, might be how she always looks. Anyway, I'd ask leslie what she wanted and she'd just grin. So I had to just start handing her anything to eat and drink, so that she would. I would say that this was the best I've seen her eat and drink on the bike in a long race in long time. It took a few hours for us to notice, since we were trying to get food, drinks, and keep track of Wayne and others, but at some point I was at the lap counter table and Leslie had 2 or 3 laps on Astrid. Then after it got dark and had rained at least a couple times, it was very apparent Astrid was not riding very well. Syria was just no where even close. Well, after many pee breaks, it was time to get off the bike and run. Leslie had a 7 lap lead on Astrid. They were riding 9 to 10 minute laps at the end so I figured Leslie was over an hour ahead. Our plan going into this race was for Leslie to concentrate on getting a double marathon time as close to 12 hours as possible.

Why? The whole goal for the year is get to Ultraman Hawaii and finish and this was on of the big tests. Well the week or so before we were coming up to Canada, Leslie got an email from the Ultraman folks saying they had concern about her running and not finishing on previous occasions and wanted her to prove she could do it in under 12 hours. Sure they said they had others they were requiring a qualifing time from but this is a first for them. I was not happy about this, it really irritated me, still does. It just crushed Leslie's spirit and quiet frankly spit it the face of what Ultraman is all about, or at least what I thought it was.

Anyway, we were thinking that at the end of the bike she would sit down, maybe take a 20 minute nap, and generally get as refreshed as she could then get out and run without any stops or breaks, because we knew the run was not going to be easy if she wanted that 12 hours. Alright, it wasn't going to be easy no matter how you looked at it. Well, that whole plan didn't happen. Leslie wanted to stay in the lead and get as far ahead as possible since Astrid has the course record and supposedly can run. Leslie was racing!!!!

First marathon was 6:11 or so, pretty good considering a few bathroom breaks, so I figured that she might be able to even split the race and 12:20-12:30 would be good enough to get in Ultraman since the format is different. Here the race is continuous and in Hawaii it is more of a stage race and you get to eat, sleep, rest after 12 hours each day. At this point, Astrid was still 5 1/2 laps behind or so and really did not look like running was something she'd ever done (i.e. really looked like she was going to fall over), let alone look like she was going to be able to make up the deficit. So this was a big festival, they had the double but also an ironman, 1/2 ironman, an olympic, a duathlon, a 50k run, and a 100k run which all started on saturday morning and ended up being on the same run course about the time Leslie still had a marathon or so to go. I think this helped her a little, if nothing else gave her something else to look at and focus on. So somewhere around 27 laps of 42 for Leslie, I noticed Astrid talking to her crew and in the medical tent. Come to find out that her crew was telling her that she wouldn't make the cut off of 32 hours and shortly there after she dropped out. The race director came out and started talking to Leslie every few laps telling her she could finish, and Leslie was like "I'm going to". (I have a picture somewhere showing the director with leslie)

Well, the long story short, Leslie won!!! Leslie is World Champion!

So I'll leave the details of the awards and after to a conversation you can have with Leslie personally. The general gist is she got a standing ovation.

The next couple days after we went to Quebec City and saw the city and went in a bunch of shops and went whale watching. I was a little sceptical about the chances of seeing a whale, I don't anyone I've ever talked to that went whale watching ever saw a whale. Well we did!! A bunch of them too. I managed to get a couple shots which seems to be a challenge because you never know where or when they are going to surface.

Well, that's the short story I guess. Ultimately, Leslie sent her results in the Ultraman and they have invited her. So we will be heading to Hawaii for Thanksgiving one more time..........To finish!!! and kick its ass.



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