For anyone that is not familiar with the bike course at Ironman France, I wanted to introduce you to my recurring nightmare. THIS is what keeps me up at night. THIS is what I am doing endless squats and lunges for. I am told that good riders (I am average, not good) take over 1.5 hours to climb the section of the race between the 50k and 70k points. The non-stop climb is roughly 1,000 meters (meters, not feet). I did the math – that’s a 7.25 mile/hr average speed. That means that where I would normally hope to finish a flat Ironman bike course in 6 hours, I am just hoping to finish France in under 8. THAT is brutal, my friends. And the real challenge here is to finish the bike course with a shred of quad strength left to finish a marathon. The only way to do that is to not push too hard… which implies a relatively low steady heart rate… and I just don’t see how that’s possible on this course. But hey – what goes up must come down, right?
The only saving grace with this is that the run course is pancake flat along the promenade in Nice. That combined with the topless beaches that run along the course, I hope that goes relatively smoothly (is there a law on race day against topless old-ladies with breasts that hang like tube socks filled with sand?? I hope so!) But it’s an out-and-back run that repeats 4 times, so it’s going to be painfully boring. And very depressing after the first loop when I realize there are 3 more to go.