Luis battled the wind at Cannes International Triathlon

Cannes International Triathlon – April 21st 2019 (L)

Race Reporter: Luis

The Cannes International Triathlon is one of the toughest L distance races I have ever done. It is absolutely beautiful and totally worth it. You swim 2000m in the Mediterranean Sea, bike 107km in the mountains (2000m D+), and run 16km around the yacht harbours.

This year there were 1,100 athletes including top professionals such as Tim Don and Cameron Wurf. The day starts very early with transition opening at 6:30am, giving you plenty of time for final preparations before the 8am start. It was a very windy day with choppy 14 degree water. Not what I was expecting coming to the south of France, but luckily I was able to buy a neoprene swim cap at the expo the day before.

The swim was a mass start, and the usual carnage and battling for space occurred when over a thousand athletes swim towards the first buoy. I had a tough time for the first few hundred meters, but so did everyone else. This was a 2 loop course with an Australian exit and a short beach run in the middle. After exiting the 2nd loop I saw my time of 29:56 (1,800m), which is a 1:37/100m average speed. I was very happy with that time and quickly made my way through transition.

The bike course started out flat cycling along the water for the first 10km. This part of the course was extremely windy. The wind was so strong that an athlete in front of me got picked up by the wind and crashed. I continued and hoped he wasn’t too hurt, but it was quite a dramatic crash. The rest of the bike course was all mountains. Lots and lots of climbing and beautiful smooth windy roads. I reached speeds of over 80km/h on some of the descents, passing almost everyone in my sights including some of the motorcycle referees. This was extremely fun. About 45km into the bike course I started loosing control of my rear wheel. I immediately knew I had a flat and pulled over to fix it. Interestingly there was still a good amount of air in the tire so I knew it was a slow leak. I decided not to change the inner-tube and just pump it back up to finish the race. Unfortunately I had a CO2 pump/cartridge failure and couldn’t pump up my tire.  I was stranded without a pump and athletes passing by me. Luckily I had just passed an aid station, so I decided to walk there. It was a little over 1 km uphill, walking in my cleats, watching everyone go by. Once I got to the aid station, I pumped up my tire and got on my way. My estimated time loss was approximately 18-19 minutes. I finished the bike course with no more problems, made my way through T2, had a gel, and started on the run course.

The run course in Cannes is a little bit boring. You run 4 loops around the yacht harbour, with a few out and back sections. It’s mostly flat and all on pavement. Technically it should be a fast run course, but after a very difficult bike ride it’s hard to find the legs to push on the run. I had a few good km’s averaging 4:20 pace, but I couldn’t maintain it. I ended up dropping down to a 4:45 average. Although this isn’t great, considering how tired I was at this point of the race, I was happy I was able to maintain this pace to the end. I finished in 5hrs 57min, which is 1 min faster than last year. In the end I was very happy with my race and a good start to the season, however, I still have unfinished business here and will be returning in the future.