Richard’s first World Championship experience
My first IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship… what an experience! I arrived a week early to avoid the ‘jet lag’ (and have a longer holiday) and the atmosphere was building already. From my window I could see the 7km Nice promenade with athletes swimming, biking and running all day every day. I even ran past Javier Gomez one day going the opposite direction. Didn’t want to disturb his race prep but I reckon I could have had him in a foot race 😉
The triathlon community was there there in full force. The ladies did us proud on the Saturday, showing us how it was done. Then, on the Sunday, it was the men’s turn. It was an age group rolling start, which meant I gave the pros a 1 hour and 42 minutes head start (only fair). Standing in the race pens I noticed the bloke next to me emptying the tanks, not sure if he was nervous or just wanted to be lighter for the swim. After quickly moving away from him, we were off in what ended up being a choppy swim. I have to say I was happy to return to the beach..
Into T1 and I had an epic failure… socks on the wrong feet 🙁 which doesn’t sound awful but my special “NICE” race day socks now spelt “CENI”… disaster. I tried to put my wardrobe malfunction out of my mind and headed onto the bike. The plan was to keep my power steady on the bike (so I could have a fast run), on what was the hardest, hilliest and scariest IRONMAN 70.3 bike course I’ve ever done. That being said it also had the most stunning views, which I only know from my bike recces beforehand. After descending safely through the madness, I headed towards transition and spotted the Golden Arches (McDonald’s) in the distance… already thinking of my post race treat/ feast/nutrition! (This was before I turned vegetarian of course.)
I hit T2, considered swapping my socks over but decided to save time and own my earlier mistake. I found my run legs straight away and settled into a rhythm. My family and friends kept me going until I hit 16km where my legs felt like lead. I had to grit my teeth and make it through 5 more kms to reach the finish line (chicken nuggets). 1km out I heard the drums and the finish line crowd. I picked up the pace and felt like I was flying (stats analysis later on showed I was not). Finally, Ihit the finish, gave a little fist pump to the crowd and staggered across the line.
On post race reflection I was very happy with my run, getting my fastest run split in a IRONMAN 70.3 event. Transitions (sock game) need some work. It’s also important to take post race nutrition seriously… Beer (completed), quarter pounder with cheese meal (1st place podium finish) and 20 chicken nuggets (DNF).