Ironman Nice, France
Well the bike is racked in the transition, alongside all the other 2900 bikes.. It's about a 1km run to my bike, the transition area is HUGE.. The organisation is the worst I have ever seen in any race. I am so glad that I have done a race before and know what to do. No wonder they make the cut-off at 16hrs, the organisers just want to take your money and go home.
I have met some excellent new friends once again and for the first time, my parents have drove from Southern Spain to be here to support me, which is wonderful. The atmosphere is good, there is mentioned of rain later in the day on race day and the people whom I have spoken to are saying that Nice is cooler this year than most years, but I guess race day is a different thing.
I have a different strategy this time, to spend more time in transition and get fully changed after each leg, to make each leg more comfortable, only time will tell if it's the right strategy. I purchased some compression socks for the race, to keep those problematic calves at bay.
As I start to think about supper and bed I hear news that a dear friend of ours passed away this week, so Jackie Potts, this Ironman is for you. You will be greatly missed and we were richer for knowing you and experiencing your kindness.
Post Race Report
Thanks to some very friendly mosquitoes, I was kept awake listening to them humming and got up at 4:20am to find my body covered in bites, damn mozzies... Ah well nothing a bowl of porridge and Ultragen, washed down with EFS/Pre-Race cannot sort out.. Bags packed off I go to transition..
Swim start was interesting, they put you in bays dependent upon expected time, so I went into the 1hr 10min bay (faster times closest to the middle). So they I am in pole position in my bay and I turn to the guy next to me and say "this is the 1hr 10min bay isn't it?" and he then tell me I'm in the 55min bay... Ah well I just sucked it up and swan like crazy in the first 200m. Sighting was hard, so I followed the group, the group that went of course, we missed the first (and furthest) buoy by a long shot. I felt I had a good swim but alas the time said otherwise. It was quite swelly and a bit of a current along the course, but what I found amusing was that many of the Brits especially, who have never swam in the sea, reverted to breaststroke whenever a big wave came their way, which was most annoying.
The Bike Course was spectacular (although hard), climbing thru the mountains, with spectacular views, too spectacular as I suffer from vertigo pretty badly and at one point I looked over the edge and nearly feinted, not good when there's a huge drop off, so it was the middle of the road for me after that. The climbs where relentless, at the aid station before the big one had run out of water, so it was a hard slog, riders handing over bottles to those who ran out, it just seemed to go on forever, for me it was riding at 9kmph for nearly two hours climbing the hills. The downhills were fun, clutching on to your handlebars for dear life, I wish someone had told me what "beware speed bump" in French was, as twice hurtling thru villages at 60+ I hit a speedbump that shot all my bottles out the back and hurt my neck and back, it didn't help that my short vision contact lense blew out on one of the downhills. It was great though to be out on the course, I always wanted to ride part of Le Tour course and that I did. Once out of the mountains a 20km ride back to Nice with a head wind from the sea was there to greet us.
The run, well for me a slow shuffle run, I got into a rhythm of running 200 steps, walking 200 steps, my legs said yes, but my body temp was high (running thru the showers at aid stations) and I just couldn't breathe well. I stuffed up my nutrition half way thru the bike (yet again), so from about 80km into the bike and all the way thru the run, I was on water only. Hard times, but I reckon I lost so much weight as a result of stuffing up my nutrition, so every cloud has a silver lining.
I keep thinking, why oh why do I put myself thru this each time, but training with the kids in the pool, sharing running stories with the wife, going for great bike rides with friends is what it's all about. I always retire after each event and why should this one be any different?
For me Ironman Nice, was the hardest race I have ever done, so I am glad I was prepared. Is it the hardest? They say Lanzarotte is harder, but as 2011 is the last time it's being run, there only one chance to find out..