And so it begins. Some think of it as going back to the grind, but for my kids, this beautiful morning felt like some sort of rebirth. Both were up hours before me ready to bound into school adorned in their own unique look. Every year at this time, a mother realizes that her moments like this will become less frequent as her children grow up. She cant help but tighten her grip around these moments like precious gold. My kids are growing up and I believe in the individuals they are becoming. I hope that this morning's joy carries them through the first few math assignments, the forgotten locker combos and the jockey to claim a seat at the lunch table. This year, like every other they will grow, thrive and learn and if your anything like me, you've got the best seat in the house to watch it unfold. Enjoy the show.
In exactly 40 days this household will have reached a milestone. We will have a teenager. It's hard to imagine that my once tiny baby is now looking me in the eye (without shoes on). In short order, she has grown up, smarter, more beautiful and with more dreams than I could have ever imagined. And while this knowing, soon to be thirteen year old goes through her day, I'm fascinated at how she tackles it. We do things differently. I'm rushed and harried, she's patient and observing. As she delves into book after book, she lives in a world of words while I live in a world of images. She loves modern, I love rusticity. But despite our many differences we share a similar sense of fortitude which I believe will carry her along and help her thrive. Kate has given me a gift by allowing me to capture her soul through photographing her over the years. Her willingness to help hone my skills is one of the main reasons I have stuck with the hobby turned profession. And while I may get an rare eye-roll on occasion(she is amost a teen after all), the camera has always loved her as much as I do. She asked for this shoot (the first one she has asked for in a while), and as soon as she did, I stirred with the excitement of Christmas morning. We were off to a little village in Mont Tremblant to find a dress, a new blouse and a hat to top things off. Somehow, in the same breath, she reaffirms my love for portraiture as i fall in love with my baby girl all over again. She more than my ordinary miracle, she's the most extraordinary one.
What makes life interesting is opportunity. As soon as my family piles into the trusty old Subaru, every turn of the journey unwraps opportunity like a unexpected gift. The trip that brought us to Mont-Tremblant was no different. For many of us that frequent the Ironman world, the scene is often the same from one race to another. But to really absorb the possibilities, we need to look beyond the well muscled athletes decked out in aero gear donning sheer determination on their faces. I have overcome the beleaguered Ironman spouse experience by making it my own. I look forward to the day as much as the athlete. Excitedly I often look for things that only I have been privy to, sometimes because Im looking for it and sometimes by sheer chance. Often these opportunities happen on race day and sometimes it blankets the big event. Somehow, the story becomes richer when little pieces are puzzled together. Have a look at some of the pieces.
Taking on their own battle and thinking of hers.
late night sign making led to this.
A washing machine...agitating.
Stare into the sqewer...You're getting very sleepy!
The most exhilarating part of the trip was spent on a bike flying down Monte Ryan!
For some reason the Incredible Hulk comes to mind.
Save a horse, ride a cowboy!
Aunt Amy having fun on race day.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love my barns, this one was perfectly adorned.
Make headway for these guys.
I met this couple. They didnt speak a word of English, but they posed for me. Love this!
The cool mornings and the lifting for, perfect!
Taking it all in.
Nothing better than father-daughter time.
Sunset at one of the many lakes in the area.
Perfectly still morning.
Sunset over the swim course.
This sweetie pie almost ate out Kate's hand.
Met this guy under the balcony.
Waited four days for this picture. With the boathouse tucked away in a dark corner, I had to wait for the right light.
A celebratory feel to this place.
Pro's showing off.
Iron Art mixed with a massive mural.
A Cafe before opening hour.
No translation necessary
Future Ironman competitors
Luge...more fun than just about anything.
Poor guy on the board. He better hold on!
Ironman defined in a nutshell. But even more poignant, life defined in a nutshell.
As an Ironman, photographer and veteran Iron-spectator, I thought I would share some photos and thoughts on the new Ironman MontTremblant experience. Every race brings it’s own certain flair and this one pleased. Hopefully these photos will have you considering some French lessons and a trip to Canada next year for this new and exciting Ironman. Here are ten reasons to head up to Quebec for this event.
1. The organization of this event was flawless. Everything was accounted for. The organizer, who is pictured here, seemed calm, cool and collected on race day. He was able to enjoy race day because he delegated well and his team seemed determined to make this race unforgettable. The volunteer Iron crew was huge, 4000 strong ensuring each athlete had everything needed for a successful race.
2. Athletes felt secure on the road here as the locals enthusiastically waited for race day. The roads were impeccable and newly paved. I even saw town officials out the evening before the event cleaning the already clean roads. It seems that every store that I entered in St. Jovite had an employee that had volunteered for race day. Ironman signage was everywhere, making athletes feel welcome and locals feel involved and important.
3. It seems that Ironman Mont-tremblant is determined to be billed as family friendly and generally more fun than other races. The venue of Mont-Tremblant is a good place for families because of its Disneyesque charm, without the annoyingness of Disney. It’s affordable here and you have lots of lodging options. Outside the pricer village hotel area, there are lots of condos around the lake area (that’s what we did). Up in the village, they had a fantastic concert led by a band whose leader was able to inspire even the tightest Type A pre-race triathletes to shake their tail feathers even if just for a few minutes. They followed it up with some really cool fireworks that made the athletes feel kinda special. The fireworks were a great display of color before the athletes had an opportunity to display their own on race-day.
4. Lac Tremblant is crystal clear, warm considering how north it is and wet suit legal. The start of the Ironman was a bit difficult to spectate because of lack of real estate, but the athletes had a nice wide beach to start their adventure from.
5. The bike: The road Chemin Du Plessis, the hilly portion, made you feel like a kid on a roller coaster. I had fun riding it with my son and I can only imagine how much fun it was on race day. Then came the highway 117 and Montee Ryan where the pavement is pristine and like glass with wide shoulders and lots of wiggle room. There should have been no excuse for drafting on this course. ( But I still saw lots of it going on anyway)
6. Let me first apologize to my daughter’s school principal that I once told that we would never need to speak French. I was wrong. While almost everyone in Quebec probably speaks English, French is preferred. This part of Canada doesn’t feel very Canadian. If you want to have a European vacation without the cost, this is your next best thing. Try the Poutine, it looks a bit gross (in my humble opinion)but taste good. At the athlete feeding area, this is the way a Quebecois would deal with salt and fat replenishment after a long day of racing.
7. People aren’t afraid to wear speedos here. At least the one guy in this picture. But despite the guy in the speedo(who's probably faster than you), the athletes here seemed to be cut of from a better cloth. Maybe the course was fast, but the quality of athlete was apparent.
8. You’ll pay up for meals here, but take a trip down to the supermarket in St. Jovite for a fun cultural and label reading experience. Don’t look for bagels here, go for the croissants instead. The little restaurants in town made me feel like I was in Paris.
9. There were tons of spectators that showed enthusiasm like no other; so many that it was a quiet reprieve on the bike trail during the run. Maybe the Canadians are so good at spectating because of their national obsession with hockey. Either way, it took the athletes away from their pain and helped carry them home.
10. The run course was deceptively hard, but not a killer. It was a perfect mix of soft surface bike trail that was totally flat (making it easy on tired legs) combined with a winding hilly section of roads to keep it interesting. The people in Old Mont-Tremblant came out in huge numbers to cheer on the runners. At the end of the day, athletes ran down into the cobble-stoned ski village to finish under a nice finish arch under the clock-tower.
Congrats to Chris on his 16th Ironman!
There are far more photos than I can put up on my blog. Go to facebook to see them all!