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Ironman France Race Report
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Joined: 11 Jan 2006
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Location: TUnbridge Wells

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:21 pm    Post subject: Ironman France Race Report Reply with quote

Ironman France 2007

I think that it would be fair to describe that as a tough day at the office !!

The lead in to the race had gone really well – I felt in better shape for the race than I had for my first IM last year. New Pbs at 10k and half marathon together with some strong swims and a strong performance at the Tour of Wessex had left me filled with confidence.

Arrival in Nice confirmed that it was going to be a hot race………the location was perfect, metres from the centre of the city and from our hotel.

The day before the race seemed interminable – definitely the worst day of any lead in to an ironman. Too close to the race to do any training and needing to stay out of the sun and rested, with the proximity of the race praying on your mind. Still I managed to sleep well and wake at 4am to eat and get down to transition in preparation for the swim start at 6.30.

SWIM – 1.09.06

The swim was two laps in the Mediteranean with a short run up the (pebbly) beach in between laps.

The start as usual was pretty physical with the added issue of dealing with the swell in the sea (which got stronger on the second lap). I soon found some open water and even managed to hitch a draft on occasion. It wasn’t until close to the end of the second lap that I finally settled into a decent rhythm. But all in all a nice swim and I was pleasantly surprised to see my time – a new IM PB !
T1 – 9.55 minutes

A long run to transition, grab bike bag and change – slap on the sun screen and off to the bike. I though I had been pretty efficient in my turn around – the time tells a different story !!

BIKE – 6.30.21

The bike was one lap up into the hills behind Nice. 180k on the bike with 1800m of climbing. 20k of it in one climb !!!

The initial leg of the bike was comfortable – I did well to control my heart rate and get some liquid and food down me. I kept the HR to under 150 on the hills and under 140 off them. I seemed to be passing a lot of people and enjoying the challenge of the ‘up’. The bike was helped by some spectacular scenery through beautiful villages, and whilst there was a lot of elevation, there was little really steep stuff apart from one 500m section of 15%.

I seemed to pass quite a lot of people and felt pretty strong on the hills. My brie and ham baguette was a moment of pure genius inspiration – a great alternative to sweet energy drinks and bars ! Typically just as I was congratulating myself, with 30k to go on a job well done – disaster struck. I was heading into a hairpin bend in a village on the long downhill and my front wheel went from under me. I just managed to pull the bike upright and swagger to a halt only to find that I had a puncture on my front wheel – hence the near disaster. Unfortunately I then clipped the valve on the inner tube whilst putting it into the wheel and hence had to stop again 5 minutes later to change the tube again. Probably a 15 minute time loss.

The difficulty then was not to push too hard on the final 30k into a strong headwind, which was a mental challenge given the frustration of the lost time. In retrospect I am not sure that I managed to entirely resist the temptation………

T1 – 5.32

Relatively straightforward – nice volunteers applying sunscreen and the first of many gels and off on to the marathon

Run – 4.17

Definitely a tale of two halves.

Whilst the change in temperature from 1000m in the hills to sea level was noticeable, the strong wind seemed to take away some of the effect of the heat, which was apparently close to 35C. This of course was deceptive as damage was being done……

I felt strong on the first half of the run, walking the aid stations to get plenty of water on board and taking gels every half an hour. I then began to have slight issues with my stomach and groin/ITB in my left leg. As a consequence of the stomach issues I moved to just water, which again I guess was a mistake……..

The third lap, whilst slower was still ok but my HR was dropping to around 130 and I decided to try to push and get it back up to the 140 I was aiming to keep it at. This seemed to work ok and with one lap to go I was positive of my chances of beating 12 hours and posting a sub 4 hour marathon. Unfortunately this was not to be as exhaustion set in and it became more of a challenge to start running again after each aid station.

Now was the time for real grit and determination, I saw my 4 hour dream slip away and managed to stumble over the finish line in 12.11.55

I had actually posted an identical marathon time to Switzerland last year, in much hotter conditions with no shade at all on the run course.

I was without a doubt more drained, both physically and emotionally post this race than the year before. I could not have run 100 m further.

I collapsed onto a chair immediately after the race and was incredibly close to just bursting into tears as the day overtook me.

Two questions people keep asking me:-

Will I do another one ? Yes – probably Norseman 2008

Why do I do it ? I’m still working on the answer to that one………but the personal challenge this brings is unlike anything else I have ever done in so many different ways and the fulfilment of crossing that finish line – I simply don’t know naything that can compare………
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Joined: 24 Jul 2006
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Location: Wilmslow

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Bainsy,

I'll see you at Norseman Smile I get the same HR drop during the Marathon and was wondering what would happen if I really pushed it. Thanks for finding out for me Very Happy
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Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 1868
Location: London (South of the River!)

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Bainsy - GREAT effort.

It's always a hard day in the office when it comes to an IM>
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fruit thief

Joined: 18 May 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ooo la la Bainsy, tres bon.
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Joined: 25 Mar 2005
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Location: Plymouth or Granada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:31 pm    Post subject: Bit of a long one.....sorry Reply with quote

Nice report Bainsy – you cover a lot of good stuff and bring back a few fond memories for me too.

OK – so here goes…..

Thursday night, Travelodge, Heston Eastbound – about 4 hours sleep dues to traffic.

Friday, good flight, picked up by training buddy in hire car, change from planned apartment due to noisy location, 4 hours sleep due to stifling heat and no air con. Thought the race brief lacked a certain je ne sais ‘quoi’. Didn’t really seem to get anyone fired up.

Saturday, 7am 30 minute dip in the sea with no wettie – bliss. Set out at 11 to drive bike course. Suddenly dawned on me that the Maritime Alpes are every bit as evil as the Pyrenees or the Sierra Nevada. Beautiful. Turned back at top of first col as we’d already been DRIVING 2 hours! Heat and noisy neighbours meant 2:30 sleep for today. That’s one day’s worth in 3 days – didn’t bode well.

Sunday – RACE DAY

4:00am – up and cramming muesli and bananas
4:45am – surreal ½ mile walk to the start
5:30am – Joe Blow track pump splits a pipe!
5:45am – into my wetsuit and starting to get very nervous, never done a swim start with more than 150 people
6:10am – got plenty of comments from spectators and other racers for having a well-timed full fat Marlboro whilst gazing over the prom wall. What the heck – it was gonna be a long day
6:15am – quick splash and position myself on the far right in the 1:25+
6:35am – GO!!


Virtually no physical stuff out on the edge. Leaky left goggle for 10 minutes but fixed it. Loved the swim. More swell on second lap after being surprised by a 40 minute split. Loved lap 2 even more, sun over the hills. Out in 1:20 (PB by 12 minutes – only one today though)

T1 – 6:55

Seemed really smooth and easy but took so long I think because it seemed about a mile long. And so to the best bit…


I love mountain roads on a bike. There’s nothing to compare to the sheer exhilaration of a long ascent, with the views that open up around every bend. This is why I booked into Nice and this is what I was looking forward to most. It didn’t disappoint. Once clipped in I think I rode the first mile along the prom without touching the bars once, so busy was I trying to stuff a malt loaf down my neck and slapping on tons of sunblock (to avoid detection on my return to work) The first few miles were a bit dull but only a warm up. Where the heck did they find that awful road through the greenhouses or whatever they were? 500m of 15% horror. Have to say I felt sorry for anyone on a tri-specific bike.
Made a point of speaking to almost anyone who had a British sounding first name on their dossard. Caught and chatted to ‘steve_r’ along with a few others. Passed the guy with one leg and felt extremely humble. I put a lot into doing this Ironman thing but even I feel very small sometimes.

After a couple of hours the climb began in earnest and what a fantastic climb it was. Not on a par with the big stuff in the Pyrenees for height but equally beautiful. Malt Loaf was starting to sit a bit heavy though so resolved that the one on my tri-bars was going to find a dumpster to end its day in (it’s at the 80km feed if anyone wants to go find it). This was the point at which I caught my only clubmate and steadfast winter training buddy Pete. We rode along and chatted just like it was one of our monthly winter centuries. It felt great to have someone I knew in the race with me. We did a good 4/5 miles together before the descent towards climb 2 took it’s toll on him and he waved me on as I turned to look for him.

The second climb and final dig were not so massive. Needing only a little stamina but no real grind. The descent was fabulous, especially the section after Buoyon. There were a few real OMG! Corners where the tri-specifics again seemed to be having some trouble. Not me, I’d forgotten all about the winter broken rib incident, and tore into the turns as best I could. The final 20km was a bit of a struggle into the wind but I stayed calm even though I knew I’d missed my 6:00 hour upper target. I came in at about 6:07. 30 minutes down on TLD last year but that was boring West Midlands, this was awesome mountain territory – I felt good.

T2 – Bit of a blur really but my watch says under 6 minutes.


More sunscreen and chuck the tube to my ever-patient wife standing about 1km into the marathon. Damn it’s hot! Glad I brought a hat right from the start. Did 23 minutes to the turnaround and thought I might actually be on for a good marathon. Did 26 minutes for the next leg – a pattern is starting to emerge. I gradually got slower, and slower, and slower. I like those Powerbar gels though. With the flat coke they got me through in the end. I managed to ‘hi-5’ my buddy on almost every leg as he started the run about 15 minutes behind me. This became just a war of attrition. I saw 3:45 slip away, saw my sub 11 dreams slip away and finally topped 4 for my marathon (so much for the Taunton sub 3 in April). I didn’t care though ‘cos I was having a wonderful day. I spoke to a couple of TriTalk regulars on the run, including Jim. Boy was I glad to pick up that last chou-chou and get into the final lap. I think I may have got a bit faster near the end but my legs were feeling pretty heavy and I was a little bloated from all the coke I’d been drinking. Running again after each feed station got harder each time but I did discipline myself to miss a couple altogether. As I started the final lap I even stopped to kiss my ever-present and long suffering wife.


Into the chute and I have one of very few photos of me running which shows me smiling. My wife took it and says this race was the first time she’d ever seen me grinning like a Cheshire cat from start to finish. I purposely lagged back a couple of seconds in the chute to let the guy in front get a good solo photo and make sure I got one too.

11:48:54 – about 20 minutes slower than TLD last year but a whole world apart in terms of atmosphere and difficulty. I have learnt that the marathon at the end of an Ironman is only a marathon because the distance is the same. In any other respect it bears no resemblance to a straight road run. It takes more mental toughness than I’ve shown in my two attempts so far. This one was a better effort, quicker than TLD by a few minutes and of a far higher quality, but I still have a long way to go before my resolve allows me to make the 3:30 I know I should be able to do.


A fantastic weekend, too little sleep though. Great city, great food, great atmosphere. Loved the whole race from starting gun to finish chute. Would I do it again? Damn right I would! Will I do it next year? Probably not, as there are other fish to fry. So when do entries open for the Norseman?

Oh and………..I’m an Ironman!

Just been for an hour's run in my new 'Finisher' shirt - Makes you feel the dog's.
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Legs of Jelly

Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 6408
Location: Cheltenham, I believe I have my mojo back!!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great reports, you finished the race thats all that matters and you feel the pride!!! Great stuff. Cool
Race Hard Suffer In Silence

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Joined: 02 Mar 2006
Posts: 924
Location: in a warm happy place watching the baby P4F's in very small trikit on very small tribikes

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

superb effort from the both of you in France .... the bike sounds something else indeed .... enjoy the aftermath !!!
has bounced back from bad RTA & is training for 2012..........Lakeland100 & IM Sweden or Wales beckon
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Joined: 20 Oct 2006
Posts: 117
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great reports. Now my turn.

Got there,
Got up,

Hot and hilly,
Not as quick as wanted,
Second slowest IM ever,
But not bad for 46 year old.

What next? Confused
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Joined: 22 Sep 2004
Posts: 5125
Location: Tooting (hopefully not for much longer)

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well done everyone
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Joined: 10 Sep 2005
Posts: 3093
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great report bainsy - gives a real flavour for the day and the emotion that goes into it. most importantly though, did you beat binksy.
Tri blog | Follow my snowsports blog at Skipedia | Supported by Profeet Custom
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Joined: 15 Apr 2005
Posts: 3282
Location: Aiming high and missing!

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My turn please. Nice is a fabulous venue but just too hot. Found the swim hard going, battered to death and found the course markings realy hard to sight. Consequently well down and came in at 1.09hrs. Too long in transition as usual. Bike was awesome and given my total disregard for sustained training stunned I gor through it. Descents were fabulous and up to 46mph on large sections of it. Headwind at mile 90 just killed me and ended my hope of a sub6 hr bike.
Marathon was just awful. No shade on the course and it just seemed interminable. So glad it finished and I found the last two laps just pure unmitigated hell.
Would I do it again, yes but I would need at least three days off on the other side of it to recover.
Great race and I liked the idea of putting names above your race number. Crowd would stir you on and it was good to speak to people on the bike.
Cheers all,
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Spectre Pilot

Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 226
Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Mr Bains Smile

Good report. It sounds like you had a very emotional race.

Switzerland was very nice (apart from the insanely crowded and aggressive swim) and I managed to get round a bit quicker than I did in Austria last year:!: The sun eventually decided to come out for us on race day, but it was definitely not as hot as you had in Nice.


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Joined: 25 Jan 2006
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Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my report. I was going to do a much longer one, but after the race I don't want to dwell on it too much. I finished and can now move onto the next target.

Having entered around Christmas, it seemed a long time away. The plan was to build up the training towards the end of March and be comfortable at around 80 miles on the bike and have built up to 2 hour runs. The reality was different, a total of 44 miles on the bike in Feb and 68 in March and the longest of 40 miles. Not good! My running wasn't much better and only two 10 mile runs being of any note. Easter was a trip to Florida with the family and so only able to run. The result was a return after the holiday, with only 9 weeks to the race and with a taper it meant only 7 weeks training. The 7 weeks went as well as could be expected and I arrived in Nice in good shape.

Swim - We weren't allowed into the water for the final 15 minutes and so wasn't able to check the goggles. As it turned out, they leaked badly for the first 500m and so had to stop and re-adjust several times. I even managed to lose my nose clip, which wasn't good and the salt water going up my nose was a bit of a shock. The swim went went and despite the problems, exited lap 1 in 35 mins. The second lap was better, but surprisingly more congested. Came out in 70 mins and was pleased.

T1 - a long run up to collect the bag and managed to get out in around 7 mins.

Bike - It was great to be on the bike and looking forward to the challenge. The plan was to eat powerbars for the first few hours and then move onto gels and energy drink later. That was my first mistake of the day. It was all going well and with aid stations every 20k, there didn't seem to be much problem in getting water, drinks etc. 20k went past and took on a bottle of water, 40k came and hadn't quite finished one bottle, so left the aid station with 1 full bottle of water and a nearly empty one. I wasn't concerned, but should have thought it through better. The next aid station was two thirds the way up a 12 mile and 1000m ascent climb. 20k on the flat only takes 40 mins, but 20 up mountain pass takes a lot longer. It was also more difficult to eat a powerbar going up a mountain (energy drink would have been the sensible option). Struggled up the hill and with the heat, lack of fuel and limited training, it was begining to take its toll. Took on energy drink at aid station 3, but that went quickly and reached the top at 70k in a poor condition. What made it worse was the aid station at the top was only a special needs area and I made the mistake of thinking I could get water, energy drink as well. There was an area for ditching bottles and thats what I did (second mistake). So, with no special needs bag and no water, feeling cr%p and 9k to the next aid station, I was close to quitting. Struggled on slowly trying to recover and realising that I needed energy quickly. Number 507 went by and he had 4 bottles on his bike and very kindly agreed to let me have a near full bottle of coke. This got me going again and for the rest of the bike course I was taking on fluids and what I could eat. The last 40 miles went well and by the time I reached the last 12 miles into Nice I was actually feeling good and pushing on into the wind and T2. The time was very slow, but at least I had a chance of finishing.

T2 - was feeling a bit sunburnt and was just taking off the tri-suit when a lady offered to put some suncream on my back. It was one of the highlights of the day, she must have spent about 2 mins massaging suncream all over my back and shoulders. It was fantastic.

Run - Despite the slow bike and fuel problems, I actually felt good. The first 5k went really well and so did the second. I was on a run walk of 6 mins run and 1 min walk. I was looking forward to a steady run to the end. The final straw for the day came at the end of the 3rd 5k when my IT band started hurting. It turned into a much shorter run and longer walk for the next 5k and by the end of the second lap it was very painful. It was then that I was joined by Ironchamp and managed to force myself to run/walk with him and the company/chatting was a good distraction. However by the end of the next 5k, that was it, anything beyond 100 metres was excrutiating. It was a long walk for a t shirt, medal and the satisfaction of finishing the race within the cutoff.

Final time was 15.24. A bit of an anti-climax crossing the line, but finishing the race was my only goal for the event and then onto L'Orient. How do I feel now? A bit fed up at the recurring IT band problem which has been with me for about 4 years. I thought it was under control with the knee support and limiting the training, but obviously not. I am however in better shape now than I had hoped for after the race (a long walk acts as a great warm down). The physio has started work on the IT band and I am confident of getting to the starting line for the world champs on the 15th July. I am due a good race and hope it can hold out for 20k.

It was great to chat to fellow TTers, it was a great boost.
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Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A short addition to my report. We travelled back late Monday night and I had to go to work on Tuesday to attend a course with a few students that I have known for some time. In fact one was the wife of one of the first students I taught when I started 8 years ago. They were very excited to ask me how I had done as they had sponsored me and were impressed by the challenge. I then asked how they they had got on with their course work and was greeted with the news that the lady mentioned above was in a state of shock having had her husband diagnosed with cancer and was taking it very badly.

It brought me down with a bump and made me realise why I had finally got round to entering an IM after 16 years gap. Life is too short and we just need to get on with things while we can. It is ironic that I chose to do the raise and try and raise money for cancer research!

If anyone would like to sponsor me, you are still able to by following the link below.


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Joined: 10 Apr 2005
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Location: United Arab Emirates or an airport

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If anyone finished between 12:07 and the end (except the 20 seconds when steve_r finished Mad ) then PM me if you want an short video of your finish time from the streamed ironman live content.

All I need is your time, number, an idea of what you were wearing and your name so I can check with the announcer.
Arguing with engineers is like wrestling in mud with a pig - after a while you realise they like it
newMan : I don't know why you think you can address me like that! Don't ever reply directly to any of my posts again please.
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