Home » Uncategorized » Race Report – Ironman France, Nice August 2018 – Linda Roberts

Race Report – Ironman France, Nice August 2018 – Linda Roberts

If you’re expecting family and friends to support you for 12 hours plus on an ironman, you need to give some thought to the location. My wonderful support team (husband Jules; step-daughter and her school friend; and Nicky from CWTC) didn’t take much persuading to come out to the French Riviera.

The wonderful support crew!

This was my 3rd ironman in 3 years, and I chose Nice as it was a sea swim (time for a new challenge); a hilly bike (longest hill 20k) – I only have a road bike so a hilly course gives me less of a disadvantage (in fact there were more road bikes at Nice than I’ve ever seen at a major triathlon). And a flat run – what’s not to like?

I was fairly calm and relaxed before the swim – last year at Challenge Roth there were tears before the start as I was so overwhelmed! The swim was a self-seeded start – you placed yourself on the beach according to your predicted swim time, and then there was a continuous flow of small groups of people into the water, rather than a mass beach start. It was a mentally tough swim – no time to pause and get a grip or you’d be swum over; but not particularly rough in terms of punches and kicks, and I swam wide around the buoys to avoid being hit. I saw a pair of goggles floating down to the sea bed just after the start, so someone had a salty-eyed swim.

My transition times were v slow, but my race plan was to just try and enjoy the whole day, so I took time to chat with my support team who were able to stand close to my transition spot.

The bike started off on the flat wide road next to the beach – about 3 people fell off within the first kilometre, and despite thinking I was calm and collected, I nearly got the toe of my bike shoe stuck in the front cassette when clipping in… Sounds impossible, but in Ironman “Anything is possible”!

The bike course was absolutely stunning – I felt quite emotional at the sheer beauty of the landscape at some points, and would love to do the course again. Last year at Roth I felt I hadn’t left enough in me for the run, so I was determined to take the bike fairly easy and do a decent run in Nice. I shouldn’t have bothered, as despite finishing the bike feeling ok, I still did (for me) a rubbish run and was 10 mins slower than Roth. Anyway, I had some nice chats with people on the long up hills, and met a guy from Fareham who’d trained on South Harting; and an Irish girl who said she was pleased she’d only had 3 panic attacks in the swim.

I felt I did well on the downhill part of the bike (I’d practised descending as much as ascending) as I didn’t fall off. There were quite a few ambulances racing about the course, picking up riders who’d taken downhill bends a bit quick. My bike was so slow (7.13 compared to 6hrs last year) that Jules thought I must have at least had a puncture, if not a full on crash. I biked back into Nice past the run course, and it seemed like everyone else was already on the run, including lots of ladies (only 10% female competitors), so despite having enjoyed the bike, I suddenly felt that I was coming last and what was the point etc. etc.

So I shuffled out onto the run course feeling physically ok, just tired, but mentally “why bother, I’m coming last, they’ll start packing up soon…” I’d been worried about the possibility of high temperatures on the run, but it was only high 20’s (last year was mid 30’s with 25% DNF). However, I hadn’t expected to be cold! It went from high 20’s to cold in a matter of minutes as a thunderstorm blew in – I (and others) queued in the Red Cross tent for foil blankets, and I ran 20k wrapped up in a piece of foil I was so cold. My support crew went back home for coats! Then just as suddenly the sun came out in time for the finish.

The height of fashion!

My first ironman was Cotswolds in 12hrs 12 mins; then Challenge Roth in 12:18; and finally, at my fittest and strongest I did Nice in 13:43! However you can’t compare different courses, and I recovered quickly from Nice, ready to get back into training for my “A” race of the year – the Southwater Relays! Hopefully see you there…