2 IM and a Crème Brûlée (too much)

L’Alpsman – 8st June 2018 & IM Nice 30th June 2018

Race Reporters: Antoine

This year I had the chance to do two IMs, in the space of 16 days, I will try to tell you about my adventure here.

First and foremost, triathlon may be an individual sport, but we do not succeed alone.

So a big thank you to my goddess who accepted that I make this adventure and who supported me during all the preparation; already that I can be boring naturally, then in the period of preparation…

The different coaches (to swim fast, you have to know how to swim slowly, naturally it’s like math’s, you have to be lazy but smart, like cycling in winter: you have to manage the wind).

All those with whom I had the opportunity to run, ride, swim or cross-country ski! The boost of the Villette, the Expat, Max, Pat, Will, Caro!

To Julien for his pertinent remarks between the 4th and the 5th beer one night of a Social Event: The big difference between a half and a full house is that you have to eat!

My parents for looking after me and making me pasta during the bike preparation weekends.

Max’s grandmother for those little dishes in Manton.

All the encouragement I received before and during the races, it’s a big source of motivation.

And all those I forget but who inspired me in this adventure.

And of course, a big congratulations to all the volunteers without whom these races would not be possible.

To you insomniac reader who has the courage to read my prose!

And of course the races?

Alpsman, a young test inspired by the Northman (the boat, both finishes):

Swimming in Lake Annecy, cycling in the Beauges and running around St Jorioz.

A XXL organization with a difficult bike section, and that has the distinction of having two finishes:

After the swim, the bike course, then the run is a 25km course (3 laps of the lake) with a bell. The competitors who arrive at the bell in less than 12 hours, can finish the last 17km of the marathon with a Trail until Semonz to win the title of “Top Finisher”.

Otherwise they finish their marathon at the lake (2 more laps) for a “Finisher Lake” medal.

After 6 months of intense preparation, but not very planned, I find myself embarking on the “Dragonfly” at 4:30. I reach my first podium of the day for the number of visits of the toilets on the boat.

Then it filled with guys (and some women) in combinations, I blah blah a little with the guys of the PSC to lower the pressure and exchange some jokes with Kevin.

The Dragonfly runs along the swim course, a series of buoys 1 to 15.

A short ride on the roof of the boat, the day rises, the first competitors get into the water, I feel divided between apprehension and the excitement: If I dive in from the roof of the boat, will I be disqualified?

It’s time, the start is in the water between two buoys, it’s quiet because there is room, and during the first half I find space with a comfortable speed to draft. There is a group about 50m ahead, I see a swimmer escape our group to join them, I try to follow but they’re too fast. It frustrates me a bit, it will motivate me to finish the swim.

Many people on the beach despite the early hour, it’s great all the encouragement. I do a T1 as usual, rather slow for an M but as it is an XXL it is rather fast.

I start riding my bike, a rocket passes me at 30km/h, how can the guy be so fast with 10m of momentum? I usually make myself overtake at the beginning of the bike but there I am impressed.

The beginning of the bike reassures me quickly, I lose places as usual … but everyone looks pretty cool, we know that the day will be long. I particularly appreciate the rise of Semnoz. Today I am fit. During my preparation, I arrived here with 100km and 2000m d + in the legs. I’m passed by the winner of last year.

I have a desire to catch up with him to explain to him that without my love for the creme brûlée, he would be only second but I remain quietly on my saddle to mouliner.

Arriving at the summit of Semnoz all is well, it is a little cool but the headlines are enough, I attack the descent with a little too much desire, I pass two competitors, it motivates me even more. There the road is soggy, and in some places there is a “trench” of 5 cm in the middle because of the work, but it does not bother me. I did my scoutings. Then the course passes on a road that I could never take quickly because there was a car race during my reconnaissance. A little fog and I start to fog on the glasses, I chained the curves with much pleasure, I pass a car, but I cannot distance it. A first warning: after a turn I overflow into the middle of the road, but hey it’s a race!

I continue to cycle especially as I can see another competitor in front of me … and obviously on a corner a bit technical I miss read it completely.

Braking much too late – I come off the road, then on the grass, then into the creek.

The bike falls in to the stream, I bang my plexus on the gallows and roll with in the cobbles and mud.

Like a feeling of déjà vu, but last time it was snowboarding.

I get up a little shocked, I get my bike back on the road, the car that followed me stops. How’s it going sir?

Yes I am fine, he can leave. But the wheels of my bike do not turn anymore … race finished, I will have to walk to the next station and I will never write this race report :'(

It’s all my fault, I walk with the bike to the inside of the bend.

Competitors pass (fast and stay on the road), you fell? No, I was cycling the bike course and it was too easy.

I see the damage, it is only the mud that prevents the wheels from turning, the front wheel is slightly bent but nothing too serious. The gods of sort are with me today! (Thanks Stéphane !!!) Despite the crash I can continue! I slip and I miss the next turn: there was still mud on the rims. A competitor points out that we are only 40km away, and that the road bike is better on the road.

I continue, playing on the adjustment of the front brake pivot during the rest of the race so that the wheel does not rub.

The rest of the bike will be less agitated, the two passages of Col des Prés are difficult, but I have the chance to know this part of the course and I see that the other competitors also suffer. It’s steep and the sun starts to hit.

Magic of Strava, my GPS tells me that patlapatate has passed here and that it was much faster.

The end of the bike is very hard, it starts to get hot, I followed a group that was stronger than me, and I pay for it, an innocuous remark makes me very happy: it’s the last climb!

More descents on St.Jorioz my GPS goes out for lack of battery, and I doubt a little about my remaining battery for the run, finally to make the 25km to the bell.

Arrived at the transition, I take a little time to change, I ask a volunteer if there is a marathon relay available? He answers correctly that I would regret it.

It left for the run, three laps at the lake Annecy.

I made my first km, passed the bell: big atmosphere, the speaker screaming and yes the winner just behind me, finishing his 25km before attacking the Semnoz, I think to wait for him to explain that without the sun cream he would burn… but I keep running.

I feel that all the competitors are very cool, I see Tristan not so tired.

End of the first quiet lap, after a quick calculation, it should be good for the Semnoz, not hurried joy but it’s nice, I even think I’m accelerating. Somewhere between not very fast and not fast.

The three rounds pass, I meet Kevin on my last, he says congratulations for the Semnoz, he does not look too tired either. Finally he is a good cyclist.

The moment of arriving at the bell brings immense pleasure, some photos and a piece of cheese to break the sweet taste.

Some kisses for my favorite supporter and I continue.

Finally running for the climb, I tell myself that I will take a few places, after a kilometer bitumen leaves room for mud and trail.

Curiously we went the way that goes up and not down, it goes up and it’s hilly.

The trail is in the woods, I do not see the top it is that long, a micro break and I try to revive on the rolling parts. It will be my last mistake, I’m exhausted and I pay it as at the end of the bike, I’m completely KO, I have no battery, I finished walking very slowly.

I’m so tired that I cannot remember this part, I wake up at the restaurant with my goddess, a fondue and my finisher medal.

Am I really finished?

I admit the end is hard, but as I know I will finish, even going as fast as Shmou in swimming. I savor my senator’s training and I make my second podium of the day with a record amount of Tomme de Savoie eaten at ravito.

Finally it is the exit of the undergrowth, we see the summit and the arrival, it is the last kilometer. A true liberation. My goddess is waiting for me on the road she will do the last 500m with me. (An escort is allowed during the trail)

It is still day, the view at the top of the Semnoz is still beautiful, we see the Mont Blanc, it makes you want to do the UTMB…

I am very happy to have finished my first IM (sorry XXL)!

An event that I loved, yes it’s (very) hard, especially the bike, but really magical.



15 days later. I did a little swimming weekend between the two to recover: impossible to resist a race in the basin of Villette, especially when you live next door!

IM France Nice is a “label” IM, the American!!! A little commercial, but very good organization. People who follow you on the website know better than you where you are! (“Hey you pee 34.7 km” – “Well, how do you know?”)

The triathlon is really too easy, I’m too easy in swim I looks like a dolphin, cycle I feel like riding a bike, I’m going to attack the course for the world record and then the alarm clock rings.

It’s 3am, I’m not hungry, (not even for a crème brûlée) and we’ll have to eat before leaving for Nice.

Final preparations, inflating the tires, elastic on the shoes, I take my time and head to the start, the sea is very calm.

The day rises and we are listen to the speaker who breaks our ears and sets the mood, of many spectators.

I place myself close to the starting line, I would like to pass under the bar of 1 hour in the swim.

I did 1 hour and 20 seconds at the Alpsman, with salt water it seems possible.

It makes me very happy to see Benjamin who passes by for an unpressurized IM, and who congratulates me for the Alpsman.

The pros go, the water is 23.2, they are without combi. Then it’s our departure, the rolling start is really happiness. The first km goes very well, a little shaken at the first buoy, but just imagine the same buoy with a mass start of 2000 competitors, I think it’s cool!

The water is very clear, I find space without much problem. Then after the second turn, about 1.5km from the start, my forearms become heavy, more and more heavy, I’m tired, but it’s not like that the usual tiredness?

And then my elbows become heavy, I understand that the combi has a problem, it is torn? Salt maybe? I make a wrinkle on the wrists, it’s worse, the elbows are two big pockets of water. Even the shoulders start to be heavy.

I pull the forearms to the max, the combi is completely relaxed, it reminds me of the t-shirt swim race, I pull as much as possible but it will be long time to the end of swim, 500m more, but now my shoulders are swollen with water, I will not give up my combi in the ocean, the Mediterranean is already so polluted. I tinker with it all I can, but as soon as I swim, there is more and more water in the shoulders. I notice a canoe, I hang on.

Me: Hello, the abandonment of combi is disqualification?

Canoe: Uh, I do not know!

Me: My combi is torn; the shoulders are filled with water I will drown if I continue to swim with it.

Me: Cat’s eyes in Shrek.

Canoe: uh, you can leave it to me …

Me: ok. (special dedication to Mary 🙂

I remove my combi in the water, I leave it to her and I finish swimming.

Leaving the water, I see Cocotte and Vivin and say that I found that there were a lot of supporters in the Alpsman, there are whole forums that encourage you, it’s beautiful America.

Transition 1, I hesitate for the lines, I take them and left for a tour in the hinterland of Nice.

The beginning of cycling must be the moment when I regret the two IMs, my body speaks to me, you remember how you finished 15 days ago, are you sure you want to do that again?

I cheer myself up by telling myself that having swum less quickly than usual I will be quicker on my bike.

At the end of 20km, two competitors are arguing just in front of me in the middle of the road, I do not see the cobbles, and hear a nice sound of carbon wheel that passes on stone.

It annoys me, I pass them, and as soon as I am ahead, pshhhhhhhhhh, the nice noise of a good puncture. Flashing, stop, I stop the bike, and very carefully I change the tube.

It must be said that I took a single cartridge and a single tube.

The tire has nothing in it, I inflate at once with the cartridge and I leave, I lost about fifteen minutes. Nothing serious, but the bike has a problem, it hits every turn of the wheel, I stop again, I check that no spokes are broken. The wheel is ok, but there is a hernia on the top of the tire.

I’m afraid that the air chamber is bent in the tire and it will pierce or explode. I’m going to do 160km with this Sword of Damocles, moreover the front tire makes the wheel much less stable and less reassuring in the decent.

In short the bike looks ok, I will not complain, 15 days earlier I made a huge fall and finally I could finish, we cannot always be lucky.

The rest of the bike is going well, I meet Cocotte who announces to me that Benji is in front and Chmou behind. I will catch Benji at about ten kilometers from the finish.

Transition, 2, a big mistake: I leave my gps on the bike between the sun and the rain, it will not survive. I see Benji running, he will do the marathon in less than 4 hours!

As with my habit for running, I start very slowly. The marathon is two atmospheres: the airport, its calm and monotony, the promenade with all the supporters is quite and the delirious speaker announces: YOU ARE AR … no, still 3/2/1 turns.

Then it’s the arrival, a little thought for all the friends who have arrived, those who are still running, or those who are at the red cross.

Finally I’ll be able to eat some crème brûlée!

Experience sharing: Without pretensions, but if you also want to do 1, 2, n, IM and you seek advice:

You will become boring.
It’s an adventure that gets ready with your surroundings. During the 6 months you will train, there is no time do anything else. You will have to pay attention to your sleep, to your diet. All this has an impact on your life and also that of your loved ones.

The training plan.
In general, beyond the training plan, we must always seek to improve our weak points. (It’s not about me, it’s from Guy Hemmerlin)

For me it was to lose weight (It counts a lot on 4000D + & for the run)

To be better in running especially after the bike: the trails made in winter helped me to have the habit of running (very) tired.

It’s up to you to know your weak points and to know what you can invest to correct them, and what are the areas that you will need.

The preparation of the course.
It depends on the people, but for me it did me a lot of good to be able to anticipate the difficulties of cycling on the Alpsman.

I was able to do 4/5 weekends on the course. Because of the SNCF strike I could not do any training in Nice, without regret but I lost time and I did not really enjoy the beauty of the region.

Take your time for the Alpsman, I would advise to start by doing the L of Alpes d’Huez (I have done 2 the last two years) then to Alpsman the following season.

The supporters.
Especially during the marathon have your loved ones, your friends who support you this is great.

It can also be a bit frustrating when you feel like you’re running really fast, and the people who walk you around are going almost twice as fast as you are.

2 IM in 16 days?
Regarding the sequence of the two IM, the Alpsman ends with a trail, it is hard but much easier for the recovery than a marathon.

Being modest and aware that it does not matter to fail, my first goal was just to finish both races. I’m doing good times for my level, but I’m aware that there is a bit of luck.

Difficult weather, for example, would have changed a lot. The weather was nice: no rain on Alspman, not too hot in Nice.

Take pleasure in training and racing! And finally, my best of relevant remarks,

A colleague: Antoine, to make all these distances, your bike, is it electric?

My mother: Ah you do triathlon, you have a license for your rifle !!!! ????

And my goddess: Yeah 2 IM top finisher, you think take out the trash when leaving.