Gonzalo takes on Nice Ironman 70.3 as they do a dry run for the World Championships 2019

Ironman 70.3 Nice – 16th September 2018 (L)

Race Reporter: Gonzalo

First of all, I want to dedicate a special thank you to my good friend Stone Cantwell and his wife Luz. They traveled all the way from New Orleans, Louisiana (USA) to join myself and my family for this race. Also, all the Expats and their family’s presence in Nice during the weekend. Thank you all for the fantastic support and help through the race.

We went on Friday morning to pick up the bib number and from the first moment we felt something different on this event compared with any other Ironman 70.3. Nice will be hosting the World Championship 70.3 next year, so for this race, the Ironman management was testing the organization, infrastructure and equipment. There were a lot of security personnel, metal detectors and bag screening during the expo and throughout the day of the race, even to enter in the bike transition area.  Even the race speaker was the same that was in South Africa world Championship two weeks ago.

There were 2500 athletes; and the drop off and the transitions areas were organized like a full ironman. There were 3 transition bags; the white for your regular clothes, the red for the bike stuff and the blue for the run stuff. You could not leave anything close to your bike. All your material needed to be in the drop off bag transition area the day before the race.

The swim.

Roll down system. Different lines with estimated swimming times and free to stay wherever you wanted to start. This was my first experience with this system and I have to say, it was a good experience because I did not receive as many punches like in other races. The water was an amazing crystal blue and I could even see some fish in the first 200 meters.

The bike. +1400

Everybody that has ridden in Nice before knows that this race is about climbing.  After the first 10.2 km, you attack the surprising ascent of Puget. 5 very irregular kilometers along this stair-way-like road, it started with two ramps of 10 and 15% inclination with lengths of 600m and 400m.

Col de Vence.

The famous climb that you can see present in some cycling races like the “Le tour de France”. At the 27th kilometer, we turned right to attack the main climb of the course. A legendary mountain pass in the countryside outside of Nice, the Col de Vence is 9.7 km long with elevation gain of 643 m and average grade of 6.63%. Throughout each kilometer, a sign encouraged you by counting the remaining kilometers and announcing the grade of the next kilometer. The steepest kilometer is the 4th. There is a long straight line, and the grade is regular. If you are planning to do this race the next season, remember to conserve some energy on the last 2 km because there is still a false flat shortly after the summit. The landscape was amazing though, so I kept my head up and absorbed the incredible scenery as mountain after mountain stretched out into the distance.

The Run

Two laps in “the promenade des Anglais” in front of the ocean. The temperature was very high, over thirty degrees under the sun. There were not many covered areas and this made the second lap much tougher.  In the first kilometers, I saw coach Sylvain giving me support and this was a big surprise for me. This gave me some energy to push a little more.

Overall, fantastic organization and very high level o age group triathletes already qualified for the World Championship 2019 or with good chances. Most age groupers were coming from different parts of the world  with the objective to get to know the circuit to dispute the Ironman 70.3 World Championship the following year.