Okay, so sitting in my fairly average French hotel room, with my dad, less than 12 hours to my first IM70.3 Pays d’Aix. Bike is racked, and my transition bags handed in, so far the biggest challenge has been putting the plastic cover over my bike ha.
There are quite a few words to describe feel about the course all of which are very contrasting. I would have to say I was definitely surprised, worried and excited all at the same time. In selecting the appropriate IM70.3 to do I turned to my Dad, having done quite a few himself, I suggested a flat bike course where I could just get on the TT bars and do what I do best, turn a big gear and don’t look back... He agreed and said,
“This race is the weekend after Ventoux Triathlon I’m doing, it will be okay”
The bike route is not appropriate for a TT bike... need anymore be said haha! Probably not but here it is anyway, wouldn’t want to leave you hanging. There are parts where I was thinking I would and should be riding a TT bike here, my opinion swiftly changed as the switch backs, technical descents and rather steep gradients loomed, with sections at 15%. My vision of going to do a 70.3 in Europe was of perfect roads no cracks or potholes and least of all speed bumps, but this has them all! This being said, I’m not really worried about the bike because this is exactly what I train on at home and its pretty much my best friend so thing could be much worse, just glad I’m not one of those guys with an ultra low profile TT set up and a disc wheel today, which I was very close to being.
Swimming is probably always in any race what I worry about more because it is what can cost you the race but never win it. It feels like nothing has changed I’m still just as worried about it and it’s not the actual swim it’s just the 1st 200m that worry me. Even though its a 70.3 it still feels like I'm going to have to swim real hard to keep up but in reality I hope this will not be the case. There is still a long hard way to go after it.
The run is not quite what I had imagined either from watching previous Iron Man races online, being out in the open and on wide road. This one has cobbles a mix of road and off road with a few gentle climbs and descents through some quite narrow typical french streets. This doesn’t bother me too much either because I run a lot on varying terrain and the recent hill work I’ve done with Alister has made me more efficient and stronger.
Here’s the obligatory shot from the top on Ventoux from a couple days ago, not really as hard a climb as it’s cracked up to be.
So all that’s left to do now is leave it all on the course!