My 2015 triathlon season started on April 19th when I raced the Cannes International Triathlon Long Course. Four months in to training for the IRONMAN Nice that takes place end of June, the Cannes race offers the ideal test circumstances to find out where I stand and gives every triathlete the unique opportunity to 'race' with the world elite including IRONMAN world champion Sebastian Kienle and Olympic gold winner Jan Frodeno.
I arrived in Cannes on Thursday evening. On Friday I went with my mate Sebastian to the expo and registered for the race on Sunday. Sebastian made a last minute call and registered for the Olympic distance race. The course I registered for was the Long Course, a 2k swim followed by a 80k challenging bike leg finished by a flat 4 lap 16k run on the world famous La Croisette boulevard. Especially the bike course is very challenging with in total 1.600 meters elevation.
On Saturday I parked my bike in T1. During my final check up of the bike I found the back wheel somewhat low on pressure. Just to be sure I decided to put a new tube in it. Good decision since the tube I took out had a hole in it :)
The rest of the Saturday we spent carb loading at my favorite Italian restaurant Vesuvio. Sunday morning I woke up around 5.30AM, put on my tri suit, packed my wet suit, finish bag and drove by scooter to the start area. The start was at 7.30AM with windy conditions but luckily a relatively calm ocean. Well, at that time it seemed like a calm ocean... At 7.15AM I did a 100 meter warm up swim and after that I positioned myself somewhere in the middle of the first row of swimmers, just behind around 30 pro triathletes.
7.30AM, 3...2....1.... and off we went in the water. Wow these French men ran fast in the water, I quickly dropped back with 30ish guys in front of me and this is where the famous washing machine started. It became a mess of swimmers fighting for a good position. I received kicks, punches and had the feeling I was not moving at all. I kept struggling for the next 400 meters or so until I finally found some room and settled in my rhythm. We swam 2 laps of each 1.000 meters.
I exited the water in 128th position with 33 minutes on the clock, 6 minutes behind Kienle. The swim was overall disappointing since I swam 200 meters more than needed. Lesson learned, do never start in the middle of the pack. I quickly took of my wet suit and jumped on my bike.
The bike leg was challenging with lots of climbing and technical descents.
After 3 hours I came into T2, 35 minutes behind Kienle, quickly put on my Hoka Huakas and started with the final 16k run.
It was my 3rd run this season, since I just came back from a foot injury. I did ok, 1.13 hours where Kienle did his run in just over 53 minutes!! Overall I finished 167th out of 600 competitors, not bad for a second triathlon. More important, the test was successful, 2 more months to my first full distance IRONMAN race.