Well Sunday saw me compete in the 2008 Monaco 70.3 event. We arrived in Monte Carlo on the Friday and I immediately noticed the heat. Saturday was hot too. I was sweating in the shade thinking “wow, this will be a hot race”.
Saturday saw all the bags and bikes getting put into transition. We also completed brief swim, bike and run efforts to get the body moving correctly.
I woke up at 4h45 on Sunday morning and noticed that it had been raining. We ate and then got down to the start area. Got the wetsuit on and handed in the street wear bag.
I placed myself midway forward and on the left. The signal to start went and I headed into the water. I started well and ran out of space so ended up being squeeze further to the left in the water. Unfortunately this meant navigating around the pier / water break along with many other athletes. In the mass start I ended up not being able to swim and got my toe dragged on a rock ending up with a cut toe. After the race I noticed rip in my wetsuit that looks like it came from an encounter with the rocks too. Doh! I’m not sure how easy it will be to get repaired but I am going to contact Sailfish Wetsuits to see what they can do for me. I am really not lucky with my wetsuit in the swim starts!
During the swim I ended up feeling like I was far out to sea with other swimmers drifting towards the beach. I’m convinced I was swimming relatively straight towards the next buoys with everyone else doing an odd route… could everyone else really not have been going straight? I got to the second turn buoy and headed in to the beach. The swim back to shore felt good. I got into more of a racing rhythm than my slower catchup like stroke. I felt fast. I got out the water in 41 minutes.
Slow and leisurely is th way to describe T1. I put on loads of sunscreen and generally dawdled. Out the tent I started the long run through the bike park. By the time I got to my bike I noticed one of my socks didn’t feel right so I adjusted it – more time lost!
The bike had three major climbs to cover. I felt good on the bike and felt reasonable strong on the climbs. I was keeping my eye on the distance covered and eased off slightly just before the climbs to ensure my legs were not “maxed out” starting the climbs. Of course, the 34/50 and 12-25 gearing on my bike probably helped, but my legs had to keep the pedals going.
I descent after the first climb was a little hair-raising. Lots of switch backs and blind turns with some rough bits of road. My hands got a good workout with all the breaking involved. The roads were meant to be closed but there was traffic to contend with on a few short sections of the race, including part of the descent back to Monte Carlo.
I kept to my plan of a bottle of RIDE and three gels each hour – much like for the Austria 70.3 race. I must admit that I had a couple of sips of coke on the bike ride too which was a welcome change.
All in all, the bike was not as tough as I originally expected. In hindsight I could perhaps have pushed a bit harder on the bike. A time of 3h41:54 on the bike.
The long run through the bike racking area seemed to take ages to complete. Into the tent and off with the bike shoes and socks and on with the cycling footwear.
As soon as I set out on the run I knew it was going to be a long run. My tummy felt full and bloated – similar to the Austria 70.3 race. Perhaps I am consuming too many calories on the bike resulting in my sore stomach? This is something I need to try and get right.
The run consisted of 4.5 laps. The run course is fairly flat apart from the long climb up to the Monte Carlo casino and then the descent back down to the beachfront road. I managed to run up the climb on the first lap but not the second, third or fourth. I did not feel comfortable for the first 3.5 laps. After picking up my fourth wrist band my tummy started feeling better and I managed to run virtually the whole of the last lap back to the finish. I felt relatively good on the last lap and I hope to get some timing figures for the 4.5 laps. I think the splits will be quite interesting.
I ran up the hill to the casino and over the finishing line completing the 21.1km in a time of 2h20:01. Not a great half marathon time at all. Roughly 10 minutes slower than my Austria 70.3 run time – although the Austria 70.3 run is much flatter.
Well a tough race, particularly the run. The bike is not that tough but is certainly slow going. The swim start is tricky due to the narrow exit from the swim area out to the sea. I think that I would start on the right of the start area if I was to start this race again. The toughest part of the race for me was the run. All in all a enjoyable and pretty well organised race.
Now to plan for the next one…