After a disappointing race at Ironman 70.3 Exmoor, I decided another 70.3 was needed before the end of the season and Vichy 70.3 it was. After the horrible weather at Exmoor I thought that at least a race in the middle of France it’s guaranteed to be nicer weather!
I travelled early morning on the Thursday deciding to drive down. Luckily my Dad did the driving (quick note on my Dad – he is pretty much the chauffeur, mechanic, chief supporter and photographer when it comes to my racing so I get it pretty easy really!). Anyway after the long drive we arrived in Vichy late Thursday afternoon. This gave us plenty of time to prepare for my race on Saturday. I registered on the Friday morning, there was a great atmosphere at the ‘ Expo’ as unlike many Ironman events they were running a full and a half over the weekend. I had arranged to meet up with TTT coach Claire for a quick swim – there was no official swim practice but as I had not swam in a river before we felt it was a good opportunity to get some practice. It was a welcome break from the heat (in the mid 30’s). As it was so hot we decided we would come back later in the evening to rack when it had cooled slightly.
Race day arrived with the usual 07:00 race start, meaning a 03:45 wake up call from Dad. I was in the first wave of 4 each going 10mins after each other. The swim route was pretty much straight out and back, I had the usual rough battering at the start but settled into rhythm and completed the swim in 31:08 – disappointing – but gives me something to work on over the winter. I came out 13th in my age group.
It was then onto the bike, having drove the route the day before, I knew it was going to be a fairly quick course. There was one climb coming out of Vichy and then it was flat until 20km from home when there was one longish climb with a quick decent into Vichy with a few speed bumps at the bottom. I managed to get in a pace line from the off but then we had the idiots who pushed the drafting rule a bit far – let’s just say the officials where on the ball, black cards all over the place which resulted in many being in the penalty box when I entered into transition. I was pleased with my performance in the bike section moving up to 7th in age group with a time of 2:29:26.
It was a nice flat run course with a few sharp rises. It was 2 laps that ran alongside the river – you couldn’t ask for a nicer setting. The first 10km felt good but at this point the temperature had risen to over 35 degrees and I was starting to feel drained. Luckily for me, Claire was starting her run so I ran with her for a bit. She gave me a several words of encouragement which along with the nice cold showers, via a hosepipe, at the feed stations kept me going. The plan was for me to bike a few watts lower than I would normally race, to see if my legs would have more in them for the run. I think this certainly helped and is something I will continue to develop for next season.
I finished a respectable 10th in age group with a run time of 1:38:16 and an overall time 4:45:08.
This has been my best race so far. Now I’ve got an easy few weeks, then preparation starts for next season. Many thanks to Claire for helping me through the run and to Beth for coaching me this season and enabling me to perform well at these races.