Ironman Vichy – 29 August 2015 – HIM distance
by Ed Van De Logt
The Ironman Vichy consists of 2 races, the Ironman 70.3 (which Adrian and I did) and the full Ironman distance. Being formerly part of the ‘Challenge’ series (Ironman’s big competitor), it was taken-over by the Ironman organisation last year.
Vichy is a pretty historic Spa town in the Auvergne, about 3 hours by direct train from Paris Gare Bercy.
The race centers around the Lake Allier (which looks more like a wide river) in the centre of Vichy.
The lake is also used for rowing, so it’s straighter than straight and therefore great for swimming i.e. swim for “1 km”, turn around a buoy and swim back. All was well marked with huge 500m and 1500 markers, just when you needed or didn’t need them depending on your swimming ability.
From there the cycle race goes through a 91km loop through the hilly Auvergne countryside, quite a rolling course with some hills.
Note: When Adrian told me afterwards that the first part of the bike course was all downhill, I figured that he had a good race (Should we call this ‘adrianitic drift’ in line with the ‘cardiac drift’ experienced by Julio in Chantilly?).
The Race ends with a 2 course loops around the lake…making up the half marathon.
The course is mainly paved, and most of the time in the sun, although there is a nice route through the park
Race check-in and preparations
Registration took place on Friday, where you got your papers, a little rucksack with 3 transition bags and 2 tattoos.
Following the tattoos, we parked our bikes at the bike check-in, handed in our transition bags, fully stuffed with our race gear for the day after & headed over to the pasta dinner (which was OK but not great).
We headed home on foot to the hotel and then did some more carb-loading at a cafe near the river, but with the race to start and then a relatively early bed.
With the elite starting at 7 am, we had an early breakfast at 530am and then headed over to the race area by taxi (instead of stressing ourselves with a 30 minute walk). The area was already full of athletes doing their last preparations.
Adrian had a great race on his second HIM; although he complained in the morning that the turn buoy looked too far away, he had good swim, followed by great bike ride and a good run, all ending in a 5hr 30 total time.
My own and first HIM race was a bit slower (4 beers slower, according to Adrian).
Having checked into room 666, I was not quite sure how to interpret this omen; would I race like possessed and break all records before or would it be like burning in I hell during the race? It turned out to be more like the latter…it was not pretty and not very fast, with a slow swim, a decent bike section followed by a painfully slow half marathon under the burning sun (not much shade on the course)…happy none the less…6hr32.
Both back by train on the same day, at different times, but with no air-con, both happy to be back home and have a rest.
A well organised longer distance, with a nice course and a mix of the pros and amateurs.
A good course for both first-timers and those that want to go fast.
Spectators are friendly….it’s not 3 rows thick of them…but they are personal and supportive.
On training for these….consistent training is key…clearly doing nothing for a month prior and not much run training in the last few months had an impact….well what’s new 🙂