Yesterday was my first race of this year, it was a good test to go for an half Ironman distance 45 days before Challenge Roth.
Just want to share some quick thoughts when it’s still fresh in my mind.
- I get better at managing all the gear and much less stressed by the transitions
- The start of the swim was rough but I could quite quickly slide to the edge of the pack to find my pace. And frankly I was surprised by the speed of rotation of my arms, so after the anxiety and punches of the first hundred meters it was a really pleasant swim in a 19°C water. I can get better at sighseeing but it wasn’t so bad.
- Quite good transition despite the need to put a long sleeved fleece jacket against the cold. I jumped on the bike nicely, I’ve passed the rookie status 😉
- I love the feeling of speed and air just after swimming, it’s a bliss. I’ve worked without the powermeter and it took me nearly 10 minutes to catch my breath after the swim and T1, so my central computer was a bit lost but it’s just for a very short timeframe relative to the race.
- I did the bike part only by feel, and I felt on the edge of my max effort for 90 km. Theoretically I could do a little bit better but metrics taken on the turbo is not the same as riding on a wet, muddy and cracked road. So my feeling was spot on with what I imagine is a racing mode. I tried to push even more during the second lap.
- Also, my NP is finally the same as the one in Troyes last year : 194. But Troyes was shorter and I was more rested, it was more like a A race to me. My position on the bike is a little bit less aero but more confortable. There might also be a discrepancy between my memories of this race and what I really felt during the race. Finally comparing might give satisfying insights but spreadsheeting is not my (main) game, triathlon is 🙂
- Nutrition and drinking on the bike : ok. Easy to manage, quite natural. I maybe drank a little bit too much because I had to pee two times !
- Good T2, my feets were so numb due to humidty and cold that it took 5 km to gain good sensations again.
- The 5 to 10 km were really pleasant, happy to maintain a strong pace around 4:35. Things got harder around 11, 12 km, a triathlete next to me during the first lap speeded up, I remembered to race my own race and it alleviates my mind. Kind of black spot around 13-14. Then I really started to grind and race with my heart in the final part. A very muddy part took a lot of energy out of me with my flat trainers but I was really boosted by the fact that I could accelerate after this mini-wall using my prerace established mental images and my race plan.
- The last two km were really a struggle but I know that I like this final surge !
- Eventually it’s a pretty good 4h52 minutes with the sensations of having racing with all I got (except my powermeter LOL)
- Another point in data analysis is that it seems to me that this kind of small but popular races is that the level of the athletes is higher comparing to big brands races (Challenge/IM) with also a lot more people. With my overall time I would be in top 10% athletes (like during Challenge Almere) but in Choisy-au-bac it’s more like a top 15%. Also with a run in 1h32, I think that it’s a super solid one but I’m only in the first fith of the ranked athletes in Choisy-au-bac. But according to obstri.com, on the Ironman circuit less than 5% run at this pace.