Triathlon

10 Posts in this category
Posted By: Cedric On: May 23rd, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 0

Ironman Lanzarote 2017

Having declared in my race recap post Lanza 2015 how glad I was to have finished because that meant I wouldn’t have to do it again…well here I was toeing the start line one more time 2 years later. DNF in 2013, 9th in 2015, what would 2017 bring? A hard race that is a certainty, but what else, and why the change of mind?

 

 

 

A few reasons actually. To start with, I somehow put in my mind after IM Wales in September that my goal in 2017 would be to attempt to qualify for Kona 2017, meaning I’d have to do 3 more ironman at least (the KPR is based on the best of three IMs and one 70.3). Having gone to New Zealand in March and failed to collect any points time was running out, and with June dedicated to Japan and July to parties, there was no escaping Lanzarote. At least I knew what was in store, but more importantly that this was a good course for me, a hard and honest one with 2251m of climbing which could -on a good day- allow me to hopefully come back from behind after the swim and not be stuck on my own like I was in NZ for instance.
The 12 weeks since Taupo hadn’t gone exactly smoothly in terms of training, with a mix of injuries (pubalgia, broken ribs) and parties making it difficult to have any kind of consistency. All in all I had 3 weeks of solid training and felt I was back in some kind of shape, though nowhere near running as well as I was in February. However in 2015 I finished 9th only 2 months after being hospitalised for a week because of paratyphoid, so I knew that I could only be better!

 

One of the big advantages in Lanza is that I have friends on the island, Laura and Eamon, now with Carlos and Catalina. They have a lovely house in the hills in Tinajo, and they treat me like a total prince. No shopping to do, no check in or check out, even the wine post race is furnished! All I have to do is focus on the race. I flew in on the Thursday and the wind was absolutely insane, but luckily on race race day it had calmed down a lot (especially compared to 2015) and at least it didn’t feel dangerous to ride anymore. However, having had a look at the start list, my dreams of a top 5 had all but vanished and I was now aiming for a (still ambitious) top 10…

 

This race has the peculiarity in that we all start pretty much together, the pros being on the front line but ready to be swallowed by the fast age groupers right on our backs…which is exactly what happened after about 3 strokes. No idea how they came in so fast, but one sure thing is that I wasn’t going to swim alone this time. In fact there was still a big bunch of us together after the 2nd buoy, 1k into the swim. Which should have been a good thing for me, but somehow I managed to lose focus on the way back, slowly retrograding, then my goggles filled up, my legs started cramping, and I could tell I wasn’t swimming well. By the time I got to T1 I was in 38th position, some 6.5 minutes down on the leaders! T1 was also a bit of a disaster, with cramps, loose timing chips and mounting bike too early making sure I had my work cut out!

 

 

At least this meant I wouldn’t be riding in no man’s land like in NZ, thanks to a stream of cyclists in front of me to play catch up with. My original plan of holding off for the first 120k wasn’t going to happen in these conditions! Luckily my legs felt good and I slowly but surely made my way up, passing mostly age groupers at first then the first pros started to appear, then the leading woman some 50K in to the bike (the impressive eventual winner Lucy Charles, having swam with the top guys). After La Santa I continued to push the pace, making sure I took no one with me, finally catching athletes like Malte Bruns (1st amateur in Kona 2015 and a 40h per week training monster), Trevor Delsaut, KJ Danielsson, Samuel Huerzeler and Carlos Lopez Diaz (winner of IM Mallorca in 2016). Only Timothy Van Houtem had come back from behind (no sign of Del Corral!) but I knew since the Alpe d’Huez LD that he was a much stronger cyclist than me so didn’t try to follow him.

 

When I reached the top of Mirador Del Rio I was in 10th position and thought I might be on a great day! Problem was I overcooked it a bit on some of the steeper slopes (my 23 ring at the back was clearly not enough!), I was now on my own not only for the descent but also for the last 50K of never ending 1% incline on the highway…and cramps had started to appear.

Without surprise the scenario of previous editions started repeating (albeit on a milder scale), meaning I started to be overtaken by some of the guys cited above without being able to catch their wheel whatsoever. I really hate the last hour of this bike course! And I won’t come back a 4th time to try to crack the code, I’m telling you!

 


 


 

I arrived in T2 in 15th position, more than happy to get off the bike, but nevertheless not as smashed as I thought I’d be. Having a new bike this year, Ceepo‘s Katana has made a big difference in my cycling performance in that it is the most comfortable TT bike I have ever ridden. I can stay in the TT position for hours without breaking my back, and as a result I can run better off the bike. Still running a marathon now seemed like a long way! Less wind meant a hot run, 30ºC and no shade, a real pleasure! The legs felt ok for the first 10k during which I moved up to 11th, but then I had a really rough patch between K10 and K20 and would have stopped it right there if the course hadn’t been changed to one 30k loop followed by a 12k one. No point stopping at K15 because this meant I would have had to walk 15K back to the finish line anyway. A similar ‘situation’ happened to me during my 2nd Embrunman in 2012, hitting the wall really hard barely 5k into the run, but finding nowhere to hide/sleep I carried on to the end of the first loop before finding my legs back miraculously. Here I started to feel ok again from K20 to K30, then it was waves of feeling ok/terrible/ok/terrible/ok. During this time my fellow Frenchman Guillaume Lecallier had overtaken me and caught Delsaut, then I’d caught both of them and crossed the line in 8th. You really never know what is going to happen during the marathon, and you should never give up for that very reason!

 


 

8th spot gets 305 points, which brings me exactly to the grand total of 1125 points at the current KPR. Knowing that the qualification barrier hovers around 3000 points or more, this means I would have to…win…my next ironman if I want to go to Kona. 99% unlikely, but I guess I’ll give it a try. If I feel fit anyway. Probably in Maastricht in August. If not that would have been my last ever ironman. Let’s see!

 

PS: big thanks to Silvia, my parents, my brother, Laura, Eamon and family, my osteopath Sam Burch who put me back in place only a couple weeks before the race, to my sponsors Kiwami and Ceepo, and to all who have been encouraging, messaging, texting me and those who have read this blog until here!

Posted By: Cedric On: Mar 15th, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 3

IRONMAN NEW ZEALAND – A FIASCO

I missed a turn…

 

 

One thing I get asked repeatedly by a lot of people (namely my mum and my girlfriend) is to explain the motivations behind this triathlon malarkey – when will I stop ? It’s a tough one to answer really as any endurance athlete can find new goals and challenges pretty much ad vitam aeternam. I think though the main reason I am still sweating buckets going nowhere in my living room in order to compete at pro level having now just turned 40 and despite having arguably a better career to focus on (phew, breathe here!), is because I know I still haven’t reached my full potential. And I want to (reach it). As per customary with elite sport, I went through as many highs as lows over the years, but somehow I tend to dwell on those missed opportunities a lot more than on the successes. As a runner I always seemed to get injured while at the peak of my form, and hence never got the times/results I knew I could have had. When I tore my Achilles in the final of the U23 french national championship, 300m for the finish line, that was one injury too many and I stopped my running career right there. I was in the shape of my life that day and fighting for glory and a definite PB when injury stroke again. This was a pivotal time in my life as I then took a 180º turn away from competitive sport, but the feeling of unfinished business never left me.

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Posted By: cedric On: Aug 23rd, 2016 In: Blog Photos Triathlon Comments: 0

Norseman 2016

Un résumé de la course en français se trouve ici sur le site de Trimes:

 

My whole 2016 season has been shaped around this AA race. The preparation started at the beginning of November, when the list of selected athletes was announced. I must have read the race manual at least a dozen times to make sure I was ready come race day with every technical, physical and logistic aspects of this mythical race. That leaves plenty of time (9 months) to have recurring dreams about one of the most renowned and most coveted finish lines in the world of triathlon. The summit of the G.A.U.S.T.A.T.O.P.P.E.N.

 

Norseman means support team. You don’t race on your own like in a regular triathlon. Nobody will get DQed for outside assistance here. In fact this is compulsory, as the only 2 aid stations are at K25 and K32.5 of the run, some 8 hours + into the race. The team that follows us throughout the day is there to feed us, dress/undress us, calm our nerves, shout at us, encourage us, etc. This is one of the key aspects that makes this race so special. Then of course you have the course (unique and magical nordic landscape, cold fjords, 5 ‘cols’ on the bike for a total elevation of 3360m, and last but not least possibly the hardest run of any iron event with the 12K of Zombie Hill averaging 10% followed by 5K of fell ‘running’ (scrambling really) to reach the finish line, at an altitude of 1883m). Add to this a rather hostile and unpredictable weather, and that gives you a never ending yet unforgettable day out ! + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Apr 8th, 2016 In: Blog News Triathlon X-terra Comments: 0

XTERRA MALTA

In early March I was in the best shape I’ve been at that time of the year. To validate all the hard labor I took part of the Mudman duathlon, which I hadn’t done since 2009 (then my first ever duathlon) when I finished 2nd behind a certain Sam Gardner. I remember not being able to walk for a couple days afterwards. Up and down and up and down and repeat ad infinitum; nothing technical just a hard and honest race. The preps for Norseman started here. After a prudent start I slowly but surely ran past everyone and entered T1 with a 15sec lead, feeling easy. After 3/4 of the bike I was 1:30 ahead and just had to cruise home. Then somehow a rock (I believe, as this all happended underwater – yes we had to ride (and run) knee deep for about 100m each lap) hit my rear mech which got caught in the wheel and destroyed as a result. Frame got cracked too. Game over that was. + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Dec 11th, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon Uncategorized Comments: 2

IM Malaysia 2015

 

The (very last minute) idea behind ironman Malaysia was to make one last use of my 2015 pro license, and depending on the result to decide afterwards whether to pursue the Kona dream and KPR race in 2016. Or not.

 

Obviously having never been to Malaysia the prospect of 10 days in the tropics in the middle of November was also a big bonus, and with my mum coming along it really was a no brainer. The big unknowns were my fitness level (what with 2 weeks off post xterra Japan in September then 1 week off sick in October and barely any running due to a micro tear in my left calf) and my ability to race long in extremely hot and humid conditions.

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Posted By: Cedric On: Sep 25th, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon Uncategorized X-terra Comments: 1

XTERRA JAPAN 2015

When I first heard a year ago about a new location for xterra Japan, I had the perfect excuse to plan another extended visit to one of my favorite destinations in the world. This was my 6th trip in the country in 4 years, and despite an embarrassing lack of progress in Japanese, I do feel like I have a second home here. And once again the trip lived up to and even beyond my expectations.

 

After spending the first half of the year preparing for and racing on the IM circuit, it was a welcome relief to be back on fat tyres and playing up and down muddy trails. I must have ridden my mtb 4 times max since Maui 10 months prior but I knew I had the fitness after a decent result at IM Kalmar.

In 2012 the race was in Marunuma, in the Gunma prefecture just a few hours outside of Tokyo, and it felt as remote as can be, with even a bear attack to add authenticity. This year it took place in and around Lake Kanayama, about 3 hours drive from Sapporo, Hokkaido. It didn’t look as stunning nor as remote as Marunuma, but still we had a nice enough background to play with. + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 22nd, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 0

Ironman Kalmar

6 weeks after the huge deception of a DNF in Nice, I could finally toe a start line again and put that race in the past. Here I was in Kalmar, Sweden, roughly half way between Stockholm and Copenhagen, an unknown part of the world for me, with a vague expectation of a top 5, a sub 9 h and a sub 3 h…Finish at the very least!

 

I enrolled my dad for the journey to one of the most civilised countries on the planet, one that seems to live on berries, mushrooms, salmon and alcohol. At 6-7 euros a beer, this is not exactly the cheapest place around, but luckily we didn’t come here to get drunk.

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Posted By: Cedric On: Jul 13th, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 1

IM Nice…total fiasco!

That should have been the big one. My A race for 2015, for which I had various goals like a top 10, a sub 9:15 and a sub 3:00 marathon. Totally doable after a decent IM Lanzarote 5 weeks prior, and being in the shape of my life in between these 2 races. But on race day I was empty… + more

Posted By: cedric On: Jun 3rd, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon

IM Lanzarote 2015

In 2013 I came here slightly injured, very unprepared, and had a taste of what this race had to offer: pain, by the buckets. Finishing the bike course was an ordeal that day, and I didn’t even attempt to run.

 

2 years later I was back with the determination to finish and hopefully even grab a decent result. With only 2 months of proper training under my belt, one long ride and a couple of medium long runs, it was quite a long shot, but at least I was healthy and mentally ready.

 

Welcomed on the island and treated like a prince by my friends Laura, Eamon and lil’ Carlito, in their magical house lost in the lava hills near a town called Florida, all I had to do was to focus on the race and make sure I didn’t ride in beach attire (sic).

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Posted By: Cedric On: May 14th, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 0

Mallorca 70.3 2015

After weeks of procrastinating, hoping to go racing in Vietnam but failing to find affordable flight tickets (I missed them while i was recovering from the paratyphoid and unsure whether I could race again so soon), I did decide for Mallorca at the last minute. 4th year in a row, not going into the unknown here. And yet…

 

Travelling with the usual suspects, Virginie, Lars and Vincent, and staying in the majestic bay of Bonaire, minutes away from the tackiness of Alcudia. + more