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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ironman France Nice 2008

Below is my race report from Ironman France - Nice, that I did on Sunday. Which is a 2.4 mile (3.8 km) swim in the sea, 112 mile (180 km) cycle in part of the Alps and then a Marathon 26.2 miles (42.2 km) with various cut off times for each discipline and the heat of 35C+ (95F+)

IM Nice 2008

The course details can be found at the Ironman France web site and they are not typo's on the cycle route profile.

It was still dark as we were getting ready for the 6.30am start time, I was getting a bit nervous before the event.

IM Nice 2008

For the swim I only had about 10 minutes sea swim practice on Friday so I was not sure how I would cope during the race.

The start was on a stony beach with all 2,200 starting at once.

IM Nice 2008

I started in the left section and a few people back which I found ok until you got near a buoy and then you got a bit kicked and punched as they converged on the turning point.

IM Nice 2008

As I was coming in to end the first lap I hit in the goggles which moved them slightly, so when I got out to the start the next lap I took them off and adjusted them. However on the second lap I had to stop a couple of times due to them leaking in some sea water. The turn left was harder to see due to the sun reflecting of the surface and started to head back to the same exit point but as I got closer I realised it was a different swim exit.

IM Nice 2008

Only saw 2 jellyfish on the swim perhaps that speeded me up as I did it in 1:26.

IM Nice 2008

T1 I took a few minutes to make sure I did not leave any cycle kit behind in transition. Also got 2 women to strip me, off my wetsuit.

Then I had to remember where my bike was and then run to the bike exit and the bike mount line.

IM Nice 2008

The cycle there was a number of pirates I saw during the day and a number of other competitors were asking me about the pirates.

It was good to see all the pirate slogans/markings on the roads like the tour although I think they use less steep roads!!

It was a just bit hot and hilly for my liking but I made it up all the hills and made sure I got drinks at each aid station. Although they had ran out of gels for the first few stops so I had to eat a few more of the warm bars than planned.

I was not looking forward to the descent so I decided to take it slower and was using my brakes a lot more than other people who were overtaking me. I was glad of this as the road was poor in places and you could see by the amount of bottles and food in places that it affected others who were going faster.

One person I spoke to while going round before the descent had a slightly buckled front wheel and then a puncture. On some of the road milestones (not sure what the french call them) they had the altitude so you could work out how much more decent there was going to be.

On the way back down the promenade I nearly hit people at 3 crossings as they did not look both ways. Due to my cycle computer not working until about 2/3 the way round I only knew the distance from the 20km markers and just paced myself on how I felt. I completed it in 8:05 which due to the heat (35c+), hills and lack of training I was pleased with this.

In T2 I took my time, dried myself and changed tri suits. My shoulders were already sunburnt and a bit of wetsuit friction on the neck. It was a bit sore as one of the female helpers rubbed sun lotion on me.

I started my run off quite well and at a good pace, I was using a hat just bought the previous day and shoes that I had only ran 3 miles in, so the theory of using anything new on race day was going well.

IM Nice 2008

IM Nice 2008

However when I got to about 8 km my stomach started to hurt while running, so I started to walk and only occasionally run and I had to keep reducing the amount of running until I was just walking. After an hour of this I decided to stop at the first aid tent. They gave me some paracetamol which did seem to help reduce the pain. He also took my blood pressure which was in the normal range despite the heat and the 14 hours of exercise at that point.

I started to gradually increase the amount of running again. When going through the aid stations I made sure I got enough fluid but avoid the gels/bars but found the TUC biscuits to be quite good for me. Also dipping my hat in the water or getting hosed down felt good in the heat.

Due to the amount of stop starting I was doing when running my legs were getting more fatigued. I got to the last turn around when it was getting dark and with just 65 minutes left to the cut off, which I could have just about walked back in this time but would have been close to the deadline.

At that point something kicked in and for the slightly down hill sections I ran and walked the uphill slope sections. I think I managed that last 5.2km in 35 minutes and did the run in 5:34 and a total of 15:30.

IM Nice 2008

I was glad I made it as there was a lot people require medical attention at the side of the road that appear to collapse.

I think the pirate support on the run kept me going as there was a couple of times I felt like stopping.

Out of the 2,500 that applied just under 2,000 finished in under the 16 hours cut off and 200 DNF's with 300 DNS.

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