IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant - 2019 Course Preview

Mount Tremblant 703.1.jpg


From Matt Dixon

This course is one of the best venues I have ever seen for a race, and it is a special course, town and community. A privilege to race here. The course itself has many dynamic features, but I will highlight some of the key points.

  • First, the swim is beautiful in its simplicity, but prepare yourself for a 400-500 meter transition run into T1.

  • Hitting the bike, there is much opportunity for the stronger riders to exploit the toughness of the course. Steady Kona-esque rollers in the initial 35-40 miles (and again in the early part of the second loop), which provide some challenge, and potential wind, where many will fall into the trap of riding too hard in this section. The key piece of the course is the last 10 miles of each loop, with the big rollers that are too steep to roll into fast and hard. Instead, these rollers are to be managed and will create a challenge coming at the back of the race and right before the run.

  • The run is fantastic, with plenty of terrain that reminds me of some other races such as Kansas, (the classic) Vineman, Muncie, and Raleigh . The special piece of the run comes at the end when you climb into the ski village and scream down the cobbled streets to the finish. Tough, but not too tough. All in all, very special.



  • It’s going to vary. That’s the beauty of the East Coast. There’s a big joke that says, “Wait ten minutes and the weather will change.” Mont-Tremblant is not in Northern Canada, but it is in the North. All Athletes should go to Mont Tremblant prepared for any type of weather.

  • Purple Patch Pro, Sarah Piampiano is from Maine and she has seen snow in August before, she says it’s not out of the realm of possibility for it to be a really cold and rainy or windy day in the 50’s. There’s also a possibility of a sunny day with no humidity, 75 degrees and the most perfect day imaginable. On the other hand, it could be 90 degrees with 100% humidity, feeling like you’re in the Deep South somewhere.

  • You really don’t know what you’re going to get, so come prepared for an array of weather scenarios. If it’s hot, concentrate on keeping your core temperature cool.

Course Cut-Off Times


  • Each athlete will get the full 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the 2.4 mile swim regardless of what time they enter the water.

  • Athletes who take longer than 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the swim will receive a DNF


  • Athletes will have 10 hours and 30 minutes to complete the bike course after their wave start or will get a DNF. 

  • Additional cut-offs: 

    • 1:30 PM: at the turn-around on Ch des Voyageurs for the beginning of the second loop (km 90 of the race) 

    • 3:00 PM:  turn around on the 117N in Labelle (km 125 of the race) 

    • 3:45 PM:  middle of La Conception hill at exit 126 of the 117N (km 141 of the race) 

    • 4:35 PM:  Entrance of Chemin Duplessis/Quatre-Sommets intersection (km 162 of the race) 

    • 5:30 PM:  Entrance transition zone. Athletes crossing the transition zone line after 5:30 PM will get a DNF.


  • Athletes will have to exit the transition and start the run course before 5:40 PM.  

  • The first lap of the run course must be completed by 9 PM (clock tower at hotel des Voyageurs) and by 10:30 PM at km 32 (close to second lap turn-around at Montée Ryan).

Finish Line Cut-Off

  • The race will officially end 17 hours after the swim start.

Athlete Check-in

  • Location:  Quartier Tremblant Base Camp

  • Thursday, August 15:  10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

  • Friday, August 16:  10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

  • No Athlete check-in on Saturday

Mandatory Athlete Briefing

  • Location:  IRONMAN Village - Banquet Tent

  • Friday, August 16:  7:00 PM

Mandatory Gear Bag and Bike Check-in

  • Location:  Transition Zone

  • Saturday, August 17:  12:00 - 4:00 PM

Race Day:  Sunday, August 18, 2019

Body Marking and Gear Check-in

  • Location:  Transition Zone

  • Sunday, August 18:  5:00 - 6:15 AM

Shuttle Bus Service

  • Public transit will be free during the IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant starting at 4:00 AM.

Official Race Start

  • 6:35 AM:  Pro Men

  • 6:38 AM:  Pro Women

  • 6:45 AM:  Age Group Rolling Start


Pre-Race Bike Tips

  • With the large temperature swings of the heat in the middle of the day to cool nights, it is worth removing some of your air in your tires when you rack your bike the night before the race.

  • Race morning pump your tires to your race pressure. This will reduce the risk of pressure-related blowouts when the bike is racked the day prior.


Pre-Race Tips from Purple Patch Pro, Sarah Piampiano

  • From an overall perspective on the IRONMAN, I would encourage people to be managed throughout the race, especially with the variable terrain, conditions, and wind. It is challenging, and it can be difficult with some really hard, hard places, but it’s also a race that I think rewards athletes who are patient and measured throughout.

  • The swim is very calm with perfect conditions, so you can go for it.

  • On the bike, yes, it’s rolling, but there’s plenty of opportunity to gain free speed. If you ride the rollers really, really well, you’re going to make up a lot of time. I don’t think that people should be nervous about the course or the fact that there are some challenges to it.

  • The same thing goes for the run. Even though it is rolling, there is opportunity to find a rhythm and look for opportunities to change rhythm and leg speed.  You won’t get stuck in steady state here, and the shift of muscle groups will help you mix things up and retain good feelings


Pre-Race Tips from Matt Dixon

Don’t forget to warm up.  One of the biggest mistakes I see is the lack of a warm-up prior to the swim. At any distance, a lack of warm-up is a performance inhibitor for many athletes (pros and all the way down).

  1. Set up transition: arrive with lots of time to spare.

  2. Running warm-up: 10-15 minutes of very easy jogging. When return have a little fuel and hydration.

  3. Check transition and put on the wetsuit: final preps, kiss your family, friends, dogs, and teammates.

  4. Swim warm-up: check the course buoys one more time then go:

    • 3-5 min easy swimming then:

    • 30 sec moderate

    • 30 sec smooth

    • 20 sec strong

    • 30 sec smooth

    • 10 sec V strong

    • 30 sec smooth

    • 20 sec strong

    • 30 sec smooth

    • 30 sec moderate

    • Can go through twice if you wish! 

Ready to race.



2.4 miles (3.8 km)


Water Temperature

The average water temperature should be a comfortable 65F/18C.

Self-Seed Rolling Start

  • Age Group athletes will be asked to self-seed themselves according to the following swim times in the staging area: 

    • Under 1h05 mins 

    • 1h05-1h10 

    • 1h10-1h15 

    • 1h15-1h20 

    • 1h20-1h25 

    • 1h25-1h30 

    • 1h30-1h35 

    • 1h35-1h40 

    • 1h40-1h50 

    • Over 1h50 mins 

  • There will be a warm up area at the start, athletes are asked to be out of the water approximately 15 minutes before they are about to start.

Swim Overview

  • Athletes will start the 2.4-mile swim on the golden sands of the Beach and Tennis Club. Lac Tremblant is a clean freshwater lake, with relatively calm waters. The average water temperature should be a comfortable 65F/18C. The swim ends at the Parc Plage at a small beach near the Hotel Quintessence, 300 meters from the transition point.

Wetsuit Rules

  • Wetsuits may be worn in water temperatures up to and including 76.1 degrees Fahrenheit (24.5 degrees Celsius). Wetsuits will be prohibited in water temperatures greater than 83.8 degrees Fahrenheit (28.8 degrees Celsius). 

  • Athletes who choose to wear a wetsuit in water temperatures between 76.2 degrees Fahrenheit (24.55 degrees Celsius) and 83.8 degrees Fahrenheit (28.8 degrees Celsius) will not be eligible for Age Group awards, including IRONMAN World Championship slots or Roll down slots. 

  • Prohibited Wetsuit: De Soto Water Rover Wetsuits cannot measure more than 5 mm thick.Swim to Bike Transition


Pre-Race Tips

  • The swim start and the swim exit are in two different locations.

  • The swim exit is in a bit of a narrow inlet of the lake, so it definitely makes sense before the race to be able to go out into the water and swim out past that inlet. Once you’re out there, turn around and get some sighting points.  It is really important to do this because you can’t really see the Swim Finish when you’re at the far turn buoys out in the water.

Swim Gear Tip

  • Tinted goggles is the way to go. The sun is to your right as you swim out and to your left as you swim back.


  • For most amateurs, drafting is overrated, as the person you are following is likely as poor as you at sighting. Focus on your output, swimming straight, then tuck into a nice draft IF there is an opportunity.

Swim Tips from Matt Dixon

  • The swim itself is simple and lovely water, just be sure to know the course and preview it prior to race start. You can absolutely use the terrain and landmarks to help behind the buoys to keep you on track.

  • Don’t forget to sight! Every 6th stroke is the key. Really important, and much more important than trying to get into drafting.

  • As with every race, don’t begin at max effort. Focus on a controlled and smooth start, and ensure you swim in a straight line.

Swim Tips from Sarah Piampiano

  • The swim as a whole is a really beautiful swim. The lake is very clean, it’s very clear, and I would say it’s probably the perfect water temperature – in the range between 65 – 70 degrees, so it is going to be wetsuit legal, but you’re not going to be overheating in your wetsuit.

  • It’s typically a little cooler at Mont-Tremblant in the mornings. So, from my perspective, it’s really an ideal swim.

  • It tends to be pretty calm and flat, and it’s also wide open, so there’s plenty of room. You don’t need to be clumped together with other swimmers if you don’t want to be, so it’s a really wonderful swim venue.


  • Transition is located between the swim exit and T1 is actually quite long. So, it is an opportunity to make up lost time from the swim as well as to find your legs before you get on the bike.

  • Just know that it’s going to be 400 – 500 meters long and you should use that time to prepare yourself to get on the bike. There’s carpeting down over the brick sidewalk when you come out of the water, but it’s totally fine (you don’t need your shoes).



112 miles (180 km)


Bike Course Overview

  • You will begin your journey on Montée Ryan to reach Route 117, and, after entering downtown Ville de Mont-Tremblant for a turn-around, you will find yourself back on Montée Ryan and Chemin des Voyageurs, passing the Tremblant Resort and going toward the Municipality of Lac-Supérieur on Chemin Duplessis. Here, you’ll notice that the landscape becomes wilder alongside the river. Before long you will face the most challenging elevation change of the circuit with a maximum grade or 8% and beautiful descents on the way back where you can reach speeds of 60 km per hour, a little rest on the legs before starting your second loop. 

  • **No Passing Zone on Beauvallon Bridge and Chemin Duplessis

Bike Course Nutrition at Aid Stations

BASE Performance Hydration Peach Mango 

BASE Performance Bars 

GU Roctane Energy Gels 




Bike Tips from Matt Dixon

  • For most amateurs, management of the course is hugely important, especially as the back section of the course is the most challenging

  • You shouldn’t charge the grades. Stronger riders can ride sustained strong efforts on the rollers, but the key is that any time the terrain transitions toward flatter grades, you should speed up

  • Don’t make the mistake of this course being attack with massive cardiovascular effort. You must shift the load to the muscles and rely on some bigger gear work.

  • Athletes often forget to fuel and hydrate. Forget to do that on this course, you will be punished. 3-4 kcal/kg/hour of fuel, 10 - 12 ml/kg/hour of hydration (from heavily diluted source of appropriate hydration) is a good rule of thumb. You should be fueling, in small “bites,” every 7 to 12 minutes, not every 30 to 45 minutes.


Bike Tips from Sarah Piampiano

This beautiful bike course runs largely through forests and mountains with around 6,000 feet of climbing over the 112 miles.

  • The bike course can be very windy, don’t be surprised that an unknown tail wind will turn into strong headwind for the second half of the ride. You will be in your aero bars for most of the race.

  • In terms of elevation changes, Montée Ryan is the most consistent portion of the course, being relatively flat.

  • Note: There are No Passing Zones on Beauvallon Bridge and Chemin Duplessis.

  • Upon reaching Route 117, you may expect an elevation change from 200 meters to 310 meters with a 6% grade.

  • On the way back, you will again find yourself on Montée Ryan and Chemin des Voyageurs, passing the Tremblant Resort and going towards the Municipality of Lac Supérieur.

  • Before long you will face the most challenging elevation change of the circuit, from 240 meters to 340 meters and a grade of 12%.

  • With the amount of climbing on this course, be careful not to fall apart in the last stages of the bike.

Highway Section Tip

Look at the winds beforehand, you should figure out which direction they are blowing. You should anticipate that. On the way out it tends to be a little bit more uphill and on the way back it tends to be a little bit more downhill, but it is wide open and it’s really good road (the kind of road that you enjoy riding on) because you can just get into aero, find your rhythm and go.

Bike Wind Tip

Look at the winds beforehand, you should figure out which direction they are blowing. You should anticipate that. On the way out it tends to be a little bit more uphill and on the way back it tends to be a little bit more downhill, but it is wide open and it’s really good road (the kind of road that you enjoy riding on) because you can just get into aero, find your rhythm and go.



26.2 miles (42.2 km)


Run Course Overview

  • The two-loop run course is known for its scenic beauty. Athletes will have the opportunity to run on the famous Le P’tit Train du Nord, a former railway bed that is now the longest linear park in Canada. The road will take runners past a waterfall, alongside beautiful Tremblant Lake and finally, back to the finish line in the Tremblant Resort.

Run Elevation

  • Starting:  228m

  • Maximum:  254m

  • Gain:  +476m/-432m

Run Course Nutrition at Aid Stations

Performance Hydration (Various) 

BASE Performance Bars 

GU Roctane Energy Gels 




Fruits (bananas, oranges) 

Chicken Broth (after 4:00pm)


Run Tips from Matt Dixon

  • I like athletes to think ‘form’ and ‘foot speed’ when in races, but this course mantra should be ‘storm the downhills.’  Lots of climbing in this course, but this is to be managed, as most speed gains can be made on the flatter and downhills. 

  • As mentioned in the mantra, the downhills are the key to success. You have to maintain foot speed throughout this course, and prevent yourself from surging too much on the grades up.

  1. The only time to truly push the uphill is when you come back into town and climb up into the village on the second loop, as it is all downhill to the finish. What does this mean? For the vast majority of your race it is not a good use of energy to work hard uphill and allow heart rate to climb too high. Manage the ups, carry speed on the downs!


Run Tips from Sarah Piampiano

  • Like the bike, it’s a rolling run. It’s not easy, it’s definitely a fair run. There’s a pretty hard hill right off the bat out of Transition, and you just kind of roll your way through the 26 miles.

  • There’s a section of the run that starts out on a paved road, kind of winding your way around Mont-Tremblant, and it’s rolling, and I think it’s a good section to find your legs and get into your rhythm.

  • Then you hit this carriage trail which has soft ground with really loose gravel. It’s actually perfect for running. You think it’s going to be flat, but actually (I can’t quite figure it out) it feels like you’re going uphill in both directions. It ends up being a much slower section than you would anticipate with a slight grade downhill on the way out, and slight uphill on the way back. I actually found that section to be the most challenging part of the run course. I think mostly because in your mind you think that it’s going to be faster on the way out, and it ends up not being that way.

  • But it’s beautiful and there are plenty of opportunities. There are two out-and-back sections. One of them is on that Carriage Trail and the other one on a little bit different carriage trail. So, there’s plenty of opportunity to see your competition, and gauge where you are in your race.

  • It’s a rolling, deceptively challenging run. You come out of T2; take a left turn and probably about 400 meters into the run there’s a very steep uphill that’s probably 150 – 200 meters long. And it’s tough. It catches you because you don’t have your run legs yet and you’re just coming out of transition, so your heart rate is higher and you haven’t settled into your pace yet. It makes that first section a little bit hard. But once you’re past that initial hill, it does continue to be rolling, but the hills are much more gradual and much easier to maintain a pace and hold a rhythm.

  • Knowing that you’ve got that steep hill out of transition, I would say try to manage that as best as you can and once you’re over that hill, work in terms of trying to find your rhythm.

  • Once you’re on that carriage trail, again, it’s definitely slower than you’d expect, so focus primarily on having fast feet and good turnover and really good form. I think because it is a little bit softer, it is going to be slower, so the faster turnover you can be useful.


Sarah Piampiano’s Final Thoughts


Mont-Tremblant is probably the best overall race that I’ve ever seen put on. There’s real heart and soul that goes into putting the race together by the race directors, and all the people in the town and the volunteers, and they try to make it not just an experience for the athletes, but an experience for everyone participating – so, the spectators and families and kids.

The community of Mont-Tremblant embraces the race and the athletes wholeheartedly and I think there’s a lot of pride in being able to show off their region and the Canadian culture that is there. It’s just a really special environment.

Matt Dixon’s Final Thoughts

Focus on the process not outcome.

  • Triathlons can elicit monkey brain. You may start asking yourself a lot of questions during the race, and lose focus on the immediate task at hand. Controlling that attention and focus is part of the challenge and the fun.

  • Don't evaluate too early. Many athletes start evaluating their performances before they finish the race and leave some potential strewn across the course.  Triathlons require you to remain focused on execution and process, without a thought of the outcome during the race. Save your race evaluation for the recovery tent.

  • Fueling: Check in with yourself throughout the race and continually assess your calories and hydration intake. It may be hot this year, so think about that when you are planning your hydration and remember calories every 10-15 minutes. If your mood starts to drop, it is likely calories.

  • Pacing: Managing your effort, gearing, and pacing in each part of the race.

  • Form: Staying supple on the bike, good tension on the chain, running tall on the run with good foot-speed. Basically, all the things we have talked about so far!

Don’t let the support, terrain and spirit of this course deceive you. It is a wonderful race, so go have fun and embrace it.

Best of luck, we will see you on the course.

Course photos:  IRONMAN

Kim Kisslo