Whats the point in setting a goal if you already know you can do it?
I highly recommend this course simply because of the location which lends itself to being supporter friendly as well as athlete friendly. Housing and food were very inexpensive compared to other sites in Europe. The organization/registration and check in were very relaxed. But if you don’t already know, this race doesn’t take place in Barcelona itself but in Calella a beach town just north of the city. I arrived the Wednesday before as usual and I took the train from Montpellier to Girona. From there I took a cab, approx 40 mins to my hotel in Calella. My hotel was very close to the bike park but a bit farther from registration. Even still everything is nearby. I had a great view of the beach.
One thing to be aware of, while the sea was calm and flat for race morning. I think in this area, the sea can change from minute to minute. The days leading up to the race, the sea was not at all calm, lots of waves, sometimes choppy. I did find the beach and ocean very clean and clear. Cruise ships don’t come near this town and I think that’s why. The only challenge before this race was finding a variety of food “not fried”. Hey, it’s tapas country, what can you do? Anyway I can say my diet leading up to the race less than ideal.
The day before went well, followed my schedule as planned. Dropped the bike off and had a early light dinner. The other great thing about this race is as the days are getting shorter the bike park didn’t open until 6:30. Can you imagine? It was great, I could sleep most of the night for a wake up of 5:30. Practically a sleep in. Up and out. Set up my bike, got into my wetsuit and did a little warm up swim. Everything fell into place from there. I chose, finally the correct time group for me to start and got out of the water in 1 hour 20 mins. Nice, easy to follow swim route. I finally stayed on course for once.
Onto the bike, transition wasn’t bad the first part flew by because we had a tailwind. Now there is a new inland climb part on the course . Not steep at all but long with a headwind. After the first kilometer inland it’s more of a faux-plat. Everything was beautiful until the first turn around and OMG what a headwind!!! Awful. It all slowed down from there as at the next turn around I was expecting that great tailwind again and let’s just say it wasn’t as strong the second round. From there on the wind only got worse. I probably spent the most amount of time in aero that I’ve ever spent(for me) anyway. I usually choose courses that climb. I definitely felt more efficient but I was tired in new places.
Nutrition and my digestive tube went the best it ever has except I slowed down on drinking towards the end because it wasn’t that hot and I started to feel bloated and remember- the most time I’ve spent in aero- taking in nutrition still needs work. Off the bike and onto the run. I lost a little time in transition for the toilet but once out fine. This race is 3 loops not my habitual 4. Liked the run course mostly. I got to about 21 km without any stomach upset whatsoever. But at about km22 “things” got involved however not too bad. I walked if I thought I would puke and then picked up the pace as soon as my stomach settled. I walked the least I ever have for a race BUT I know why, I ran a lot slower. Again, I’ve improved but I still need more energy to run stronger. I ran on only water and coke. I’m keeping that strategy but will eat more earlier on the bike. As usual great support, really nice volunteers; all that good Ironman stuff but me and my digestive tube still have to reach an agreement on fueling.
I am an Ironman again. And I’ll admit I’m happy but a bit down that this tour is over. Already planing my races for next year. That right, I didn’t make my goal of 4 Ironmans in one summer so I have to do it all over again. And thank god, if I had finished all 4, I’d have to top it next year. Stay tuned for my new adventures.