The three Sea to Sky locals headed down to Tennessee for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships last weekend were in for a bit of a shock.
Certainly, any course on the Ironman circuit would present a challenge, but Marie-Anne Prevost said she, Subaru Ironman Canada race director Christine Cogger and Bob Deeks were a bit surprised at what the Chattanooga layout had in store for them.
Competing in the 55-to-59 men's division, Deeks finished in a time of five hours, 37 minutes and 19 seconds (5:37:19) on Sept. 10 while the day before, Cogger posted a time of 5:34:41 in the women's 40-to-44 race and Prevost finished in 5:41:10 in the women's 45-to-49 event. Prevost said her coach and "pseudo-local" Liz Cullen of West Vancouver finished in 5:14:59.
"It was a very difficult course," she said. "We were wondering if it was hard for everybody and some of the pros were saying it was the most difficult 70.3 world championship they'd ever seen.
"It was a very hilly bike course, which suited Bob and I very well because of the Whistler course, but the run course was grim. It was super hilly, two laps, ups, downs and tight corners."
Prevost noted the biggest incline of the bike course, Lookout Mountain, came early on and hammered racers right out of the water.
Prevost explained she was thrilled to make it to Chattanooga, and while she didn't exceed her early goals, was ultimately satisfied with her day.
"A huge part of my goal was to get to this event, do it, complete it and enjoy myself. But time-wise, no, I didn't come anywhere near what I thought I could have accomplished," she said. "I was much slower overall than I expected.
"I wasn't disappointed even in the moment of the race when I realized things were going slower because I still felt like I was working hard and still feeling good. I'm not not doing a good job, I'm just not as fast as I thought I was going to be."
Prevost, who served as the volunteer coordinator for Subaru Ironman Canada in July, said the remnants of Hurricane Irma were making their way to southern Tennessee the day after the two races had taken place.
"We had the most unbelievable Saturday and Sunday weather-wise," Prevost said. "It was out of sight with no humidity, 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celsius) when it could have been 95-per-cent humidity and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius).
"It's just the weather and it's boring, but it's a big factor."
In addition to shorter Ironman races in Victoria and Idaho, Prevost also did off-road races including one in Squamish, as well as the ITU World Championships in Penticton.
"The highlights of the season, for sure, are the two world championships," she said.
The Ironman world championships season isn't quite over for locals, as Marla Zucht will do the full-distance course next month in Kona, Hawaii.