Guest post by Triathlete Jacques Adam
World Championship race report:
The IM 70.3 world championships 2019 in Nice was challenging and memorable for me.
What is there not to like about this race! Summer like conditions, warm water of the Mediterranean, palm trees, the mountain chain of the Alpes-Maritime, food and wine of the south of France, easy logistics of getting around.
The big question at hand before the race: Wetsuit or bare swim? Most triathletes are unnerved about swimming without a wetsuit. The women, who raced separately, were allowed to wear their wetsuit in Saturday’s race. Finally, we get the word…no wetsuit for the men’s race on Sunday. Having swam in the warm waters during the week, I was mentally prepared for a non wetsuit swim, but the thought of going to warm up in the Sea then standing around shivering in my race suit in the cool morning air didn’t appeal to me. I decided no warm-up swim for me for this race.
It’s my turn to start off the beach into the warm water. I quickly set my pace and follow the group straight out to the first buoy, turn right, swim, swim, swim, to the next turn then head back to the beach. I was just getting into my zen zone when I felt some turbulence around me. Had the wind and waves picked up? I realized that a few of the fastest guys of the next wave were passing me. But on the other hand, I was also passing some slower swimmers from the previous wave. Overall good swim, but a bit slower than my usual for 1900m due to the Sea conditions and the lack of wetsuit assistance. Out of the water, up onto the beach, I run up to T1 at the Promenade des Anglais to change before I jump on the bike. Although I have to run the full length of the transition zone, about 500m, I have only 10m to push the bike before climbing on.
My ride is solid. Toward the end of the bike course, we riders follow the bare ridge for a bit before we start the descent from 1200m elevation back down to return to Nice. This is the part of course that distinguishes this race. The descent is along a narrow road with many switchbacks and blind turns. “Don’t miss a turn…” I tell myself, the edge drops down to the valley far below. The views of the valley below are stunning, but I keep my eyes on my line to make the turns. The day after the race the local paper reported one athlete missed a turn dropped 20m to the next level. He was helicoptered out.
Completing the descent without injury, the last kilometres back to Nice were into the wind, then along the beach to T2 next to Place Massena.
On the run, the sun is high and the temperature climbs to 28C…my legs hurt yet I keep a steady, but slow pace. This is my slowest time for this distance, but this is by far the most difficult and technical of the 30 IM races I have completed; worthy of a world championship! I am glad to have worked for this, challengiing but so satisfying. A little celebration and rest is due.
Now I prepare my race calendar for 2020. Already registered for Mt Tremblant 70.3 in June, Musselman 70.3 in July, ITU world championships in Almere NEtherlands in September for a short and sweet Aquathlon and likely a sprint or Olympic distance tri qualifier in August. I hope to qualify of ITU worlds for 2021.