Race Reports, Ironman

Tristar Bradford Albus Ironman Mont tremblant race report

IRONMAN MONT TREMBLANT RACE REPORT #Ironman #immt2018 #SBR #triathlete #triathlon #10 #10thIM #tristarathletes #tristar #iamspecialized #shiv #rovalwheels #sramred #attitudeofgratitude

“Two weeks to the day, I crossed the finish line of my 10th IRONMAN in Mont-Tremblant, Canada. While this was a personal milestone, what made the day most unforgettable and emotionally indelible was sharing the journey of 140.6 miles with my brother (more to come on that later).

If you have ever read one of my race reports, you know that I like to begin the day's account with the same phrase, "3 AM comes awfully early race morning." Rising from my bed, the pre-race jitters were in full effect before my feet even hit the ground. Going through the normal morning routine,  we collected our remaining race day items and headed out!! After a quick stop in T1 to cap off my tire PSI and place my nutrition, we made our way to the swim start. If I'm being honest, this is my least favorite part of the day. As you stand there anticipating the start gun, unfolding the day in your head, the anxiety can be crippling. To make matters worse, the air temp and water temp were such that it made for some extreme fog - bad enough that sighting the buoys was going to be a challenge and bad enough that the race start was delayed by 45 minutes. As the delay's final minutes counted down, a bunch of athletes flooded in from the water, pushing my line-up position back. All of a sudden, I was towards the back of the first group. There was nothing I could do. I knew at this point that my swim was going to be very congested. Charging the water, I looked for a clean line, but no such luck! For the next 2k meters it was a washing machine. Navigating through bodies, kicking feet and flailing hands....not to mention struggling to see the next buoy due to the fog worsening as the water was churned up. It wasn't until the last 800 meters or so that I found clean water. Arriving at the shore and exiting the water in 19th place in my AG with a time of 1:02...quick transition and onto the bike! Going into this race I had a very strict bike plan with rather conservative caps....on which I may have pushed the limit. Trying to stay focused on my numbers, I couldn't help but be constantly thinking about my brother. Did he finish the swim? How long did it take him? Is he on the bike yet? Then, almost as if I had channeled him, he appeared. Head down, tucked in aero and a look of complete focus. I yelled out, "Jeffrey!" To which he replied, "Bradford!" And that was all I needed. He was on the bike, he was dialed in and he was in positive spirits.

As I completed the first loop I looked down at my computer and saw that I was flirting with a sub 5 hr bike split. As much as I wanted that, I knew I had to hold back....a little. Ripping the flats, being patient with the climbs and charging the downhills, I ended up averaging 21.64 mph (top speed 48.8 mph) for the 112 miles with 6k feet of climbing. I came off the bike in 9th place in my AG.

In and out of T2, all that stood between me and IRONMAN #10 was 26.2 miles! I knew that this race would push back when I got to the run, I just didn't know when. Of the three disciplines, my running has been lacking this year. The first half marathon was surprisingly good....not great, but good. The highlight of my run, aside from the finish, was when Lionel Sanders, (for non tri friends, he's an established pro who finished 2nd at Kona last year), pulled up along side me coming back into town. I glanced over, trying to briefly keep pace with him, and said "Lionel, you're doing great man!" To which he replied, "Thanks man, you too!".....I'm not one to get star stuck, but this was a pretty rad moment and definitely gave me a little boost! Wrapping through the village and passing 200 ft from the finish line, I headed back out for one more loop! A few miles in, the struggle bus pulled up at about mile 15...the last 11.2 miles was going to be a battle. Cramping and nausea were getting bad. I was taking in as much salt as I could as well as water, Gatorade, Red Bull and Coke. At about mile 24 this guy who I'd been toggling with came up next to me and asked me if this was my last loop. I confirmed that it was and he encouraged me to run with him...I tried but fell back when we hit the second to last big hill. Cresting that hill and that same guy still in my sights, I could hear the roar of the finish line and I knew I could dig deep and gut out the last 2 miles! Flying down the backside of that hill I carried the momentum along the flat, back up the last climb and rounded the corner into the village, passing several guys! (including the one who wanted me to run with him). Entering the village I was greeted with cheering spectators on both sides of the street as far as one could see! Realizing nothing stood between me and IRONMAN #10, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Hitting the red carpet of the finisher chute, I zipped up my top and sprinted for that finish with pride, gratitude and the American flag clutched in my hand, finishing just the way I did for my first IRONMAN in Frankfurt, Germany. And for the 10th time I was fortunate to hear the words: "Brad Albus, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!"

I ended up finishing in 10:42:29....28th in my AG and 193rd OA out of 2,272 athletes.

But the day wasn't done yet. My brother was still out there. As I made my way out of the athlete area I learned that he had completed his first loop and was heading back out for his last one. He was going to do this!! Thanks to a few folks at IRONMAN, I was given special reentry access to the finish line. And as my little brother made his way down the red carpet of his very first IRONMAN I was there to greet him with his finisher medal!! "JEFFREY ALBUS, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!"

Jeffrey R. Albus, I am unbelievably proud of what you have accomplished. This was a difficult journey that you undertook. But you stuck with it, adjusted where you needed to and finished a comittment that you made. I love you man! Nothing made this day more special than being able to share it with you and to celebrate your accomplishment. I hope that this is the first of many IRONMAN races to come!”  —Bradford Albus