RACE: Cannes International Triathlon 2015
On April 19th 2015, Rory raced in his first Long distance (2k/80k/16k) triathlon in Cannes and came 12th in a stella field including Jan Frodeno and Sebastian Kienle.
This is his report of the race:
Swim: There was a gun instead of a hooter which caught me off guard. I dived in behind a wall of Pro men searching for clear water. The Age-groupers started a couple seconds after us and already I could feel them tugging on my feet. By the time I found a gap the lead pack had 30m on me which was too much to chase down. I felt a bit dejected and the rest of the swim went by slowly. I swam much of the 2nd lap alone, trying to tell myself I was still in the race.
Bike: The first part of the course was along the seafront before heading inland. I set about chasing the athletes in front. 10k into the bike I was jostling position with two other athletes, trying to remember when to eat and what the legal draft distance was. It occurred to me that without a powermeter and on a rolling course I didn’t really have any idea how to pace the bike leg. At that point Sebastian Kienle came steaming past and I decided to follow him. The pace felt hard but manageable. We quickly dropped the other athletes and I felt as if I was back in the race. This lasted for another 10k or so until we reached a technical descent and a car separated us. The next time I saw Sebastian he was 500m up the road!
The course continued to head upwards and I was racing alone again, munching my way through my GU chomps. I tried to gauge my effort on the 10k climb and felt as I was working well but I had no idea where I was position wise. Coming off the top of the climb I knew I was halfway through the bike; unfortunately I was already desperate to start the run! The descent was fairly straightforward at first but became increasingly technical. The last 20k off the bike felt pretty tough and 3 athletes overtook me.
Run: I had a new experience in T2 when volunteers took my bike from me – no racking required in half ironmans 🙂 Also for the first time ever in a triathlon I sat down and put on socks! (While I was cycling I could see blood emerging from my shoe while I was cycling…) The run was a straight out and back along the seafront for 4 laps. I felt good for the 1st k or so and then I began to slow. Unlike Slateman I hadn’t bonked, I was just pretty hammered after the crazy bike course. My feet were burning up and I was starting to cramp but I found a rhythm. Several swigs of coke and red bull later I hit the finish chute in 12th place.
The race was a steep learning curve but a great experience. Despite having a tough day out I enjoyed myself (well for most of it! ) and feel as I have plenty more to offer over this distance. I now know a lot more about what is required for long course racing and will definitely look to do another one at some point.
by Rory Atkins (this race report first appeared on Rory’s website here http://roryatkins.com/2015/04/24/cannes-triathlon/