Cannes L distance – 17 April 2016
by Alex Léger Cattarini
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So here we are, at the first race of the season. With my friends, we arrived in a sunny and shiny Cannes on Saturday morning. When we entered in to the transition area to leave our bikes, we were amazed by the number of amazing TT bikes… This first L race of the season in France seemed to attract some of the most dedicated triathletes and we expected the overall level of this race to be probably higher than usual.
The morning of the race, the sun decided to take a day off and was replaced by an ominous sky. The swim leg started at 8 AM on a grey beach. It went okay, strong but not too violent. On T1, the back zip of my wet suit got locked and I lost some time finding someone from the organisation to help me to free myself from this neoprene armour. Once on the bike, probably due to the excitement, I didn’t feel cold despite the severe drop in temperature compared to the day before. After passing along the Festival Palace, we turned out of Cannes and started to climb the hill that goes up to Grasse before returning to the Palm Beach. Mid-way, it started to rain and we had to deal with some very slippery roads and traffic jams… usually not a good combination and I saw several participants falling down on the road. On top of that, the energy stations were miserable, mostly empty and located in awkward spots… At the end, the bike leg had been not a very pleasant moment but the job had been done. With a new pair of Noosa (Asics) on, I started the 4 loop- 16k run, which ended up being more about 17.5k. I managed to settle into my planned pace (4:15/20) easily but my legs felt a bit sore, not so much from the bike but more from a not very well managed tapering period and probably from a lack of sleep… Anyway, I stayed focused, even when I was overtaken by Andreas RAELERT, who finished 3rd at Kona last year and by David HAUS, a French Olympian (with a VO2 max of 85 for those understanding what it means…), with his characteristic smooth and flying stride. I crossed the finish line more than three minutes after my goal time, after 4:28:32. Considering the time lost in T1 and the extra km on the run, in a way, I had more or less achieved my objective.
As a conclusion, it was nice to experience again the excitement of the race and I will retain some lessons from this race. However, I was very much disappointed by the organisation and am not certain I’ll plan this race in the future…