70.3 Pays d’Aix Race Report

Aix en Provence, France

A late race report but honestly, it takes me some time to reflect. This was my third time doing this course. 70.3 Aix is an interesting race as we start at a lake north of the city, the bike park is set up next to the lake so once out of the water we get on our bikes and race to the center of the city where we leave our bikes and then run the foot race in the streets of Aix en Provence. Normally, it’s a very beautiful race and well supported by the locals. The night before we leave our bikes in the bike park next to the lake then the morning of the race, buses take the athletes out to the site.

The predicted weather was high winds at approximately 100 kms per hour or more. The air temperature was not too bad but I believe the lake temperature was rather low as well; something like 6 degrees Celsius. As such the morning of the depart the swim was announced as cancelled. And with that the rules changed as well, suddenly we had more time on our hands because it would be a rolling bike start, about 5 people at a time. So the goal was to stay warm until our individual start time. As buses took us to the lake where the bike park was set up, we could wait in the buses.

The bike start wasn’t too dramatic. I was dressed correctly with a bike jersey, sleeves and a wind breaker which I took off mid course. I think the major problem for me for this race was that the wind strength really destabilized me mentally. The first 40 km wasn’t too bad,wind wise, but after the lateral wind gusts were intense to the point that we all were rolling mostly sideways. As such I forgot about my nutrition timing (one of my problems even when the weather is perfect) and I did not feel comfortable in aero bars when the lateral winds whipped up. I must say however, that apparently I was alone because amongst the folks who past me, they were comfortably in aero and sideways…..I’m just not there yet. Anyway because I was a little off my game it showed in my bike time. I think I lost probably 15 mins between wind, spotty nutrition intake, stoping to take off my jacket. I just wasn’t on top of it.

For the run, probably my best transition time but that can be explained in that as I didn’t drink enough I didn’t need the toilet so really it was a bad sign. The bright side is what l learned on the run. So I was in a deficit on energy; it’s happened to me before. But this time I didn’t try to overcompensate at the beginning of the run. I took in fuel in small amounts as if I had been on top of things on the bike and it worked. Taking in too much during the run will only lead to bloating and gastric problems. My body could still do the job but the time was slower; probably 10 mins off. I’m not happy with my performance for Aix, I left feeling a bit empty but I learned a lot as well as its no longer possible for a windy day to deter me from a bike training session. I’m prepared for the next test, IM Nice on June 5th, the first of the 4 Ironman races I will do this summer.

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