I few days before Christmas, I received an early Christmas gift.
Mike Reilly is coming to Mont-Tremblant!
For those of you who don't follow triathlon, Mike Reilly is considered, "The Voice of Ironman".
He is the man who started saying, "You Are An Ironman" to every person who crosses the finish line at an Ironman event where he is announcing. He's been doing it for almost 30 years!
This guy is amazing. He has announced at over 180 races, including the World Championships in Kona (every year since 1989!) A typical race day for him starts at 5am where he helps athletes finish preparing to start the race, making announcements, and other details. And he'll finish after midnight, continuing to call racers in until the very end. In those last few hours, he will actually be right at the finish line, encouraging racers to get in before the cutoff at midnight. In a typical Ironman, he will yell, "You Are An Ironman" over 2000 times! All without losing his voice.
I selected Mont-Tremblant for many reasons. First, its proximity to where I live. There are some that are closer (like Lake Placid), but the timing and the difficulty of the course also played a role.
I was also told that the atmosphere in Mont-Tremblant is unbelievable (see picture above). Many friends rave about the venue, placing it very high on the list of favorite places to race. It is consistently listed in the "Athlete's Choice" Awards as one of the best. The Village has embraced the Ironman culture, not only hosting the Ironman in August, but also the 70.3 and 5150 (Sprint) event in June. They basically keep the race course marked year round.
Lastly, I selected this race because I know Mike Reilly would be there.
Every year, he announces on his Facebook page where he will be announcing. There are several races that he is always at (like Kona, Lake Placid and Wisconsin), but he also likes to spread the love, going to venues that he hasn't been to (or at least not in a while).
So, last week when he made his announcement, I listened with great interest. Many races were cancelled this year, so he made very few appearances. Would he go back to Tremblant????
I actually had butterflies in my stomach as he listed his races chronologically. He even apologized to people if he couldn't get to "your" race.
When he got to Lake Placid in July, I really started to listen...
Next was Ironman Ireland on August 15.
Oh no...Tremblant is August 22! He won't be there.
Then he said, "The week after that I'll be at Ironman Mont-Tremblant."
OMG! OMG! OMG! He'll be there!
I can't even describe how excited I am. I actually teared up a little when I heard he is coming back.
What is it about certain things that can bring your emotions to the surface so quickly you can't even try to stop it?
I know every time I hear bagpipes I get a little teary. I can't explain it. There is really no significance to it, no memory attached.
The same thing happens when I hear Mike Reilly yell, "You Are An Ironman!"
As J says, "my eyes are sweating."
I have often thought about that finish line. And what it will be like.
In fact, I'm tearing up as I type this.
I guess the fact that my eyes get sweaty just thinking about it is a good thing. It means that the fire is still there, and that I am excited (and scared) about this opportunity.
Now, let's hope we are racing in August!
See you there Mike!