Brick in France
. . . or as the locals might say, “La brique en France”.
Today’s our last day here, and I wanted to ‘go out with a bang’. So I set out for a brick at Olympic distance - 25 mile bike and 10k run. For the bike, I extended the route from earlier in the week, and went from Gabian to Fos, Montesquieu, Vailhan, Neffies, and Roujan. I’ve traced this out on the Gmaps Pedometer, though my inability to follow curves means this has come out a bit light on the map for the mileage - Gmaps reckons it was 20.25 miles, while my cycle computer clocked it at 24.2. I’m inclined to believe the latter, which tallies pretty well with road sign distances between towns.
The run course was from Gabian to Fouzillhon & Pouzolles - a 10k route I’ve described before.
Before setting off, I had breakfast of cereal, half a banana, and (luxury) a cup of coffee. I prepared 1.5litres of fluids, made up from “syrop” - the french equivalent of fruit squash, but with a ludicrously high sugar content to counteract the benefits of the pure fruit juice used in the ingredients. Bad for teeth . . . good for fuel and hydration. One bottle was to take on the bike, and one was for transition & after the run.
I also made up some ‘gel fuel’. No peanut butter in the cupboard, so I mashed up the other half of my breakfast banana, and mixed this with honey before spooning it into my Stinger Flask.
The bike section went really well - I kept an eye on my watch, drank every ten minutes, and ate some of the gel (which tastes & went down even better than the peanut butter mix) every 20. It rained heavily last night, but the bigger roads were mainly dry. The descents from Montesquieu & into Neffies were both still a little damp, so there was a little wheel-locking turning into a couple of the hairpins . . . but nothing to worry about. If you’re in the area and thinking of trying this route yourself, I have to warn you though that the road from Vailhan to the D15 above Neffies is pretty rough - my hands were fairly buzzing by the end!
My bike split was 1:17:04 (18.something mph), and I did a leisurely transition (in the laundry room - Mother-in-Law and Daughter were playing tennis in the cave, and really didn’t need to see my butt to ruin their concentration), gulped down some more liquid, and headed out, complete with cap & shades to maintain the appearance of being Serious About My Training. And the run was just great too - I didn’t really push it, but still clocked a time of less than 48 minutes, which is only 30 seconds a mile slower than I did the Easter Sunday 10k. I’m doubly chuffed about this, as not only was it after the cycling, but my 10k circuit here’s pretty hilly.
So what have I learnt from this?
- Training here’s A LOT EASIER when the weather’s temperate - it was only 18C when I set off.
- Olympic distance bike & run aren’t too bad at all - I can certainly do this.
- Fuel & fluids are essential! I was exercising for over two hours (about the longest I’ve ever done), and felt fine throughout - a little thirsty toward the end of the run, but that’s all. I also think having the drink every X minutes, and eat every Y minutes is a big help, as it made sure that I didn’t just forget, and then try to take on a huge volume to compensate.
- Wife STILL hasn’t got the hang of triathlon distances. Over lunch, she asked, “So what you did today was what you’d do in an IronMan - apart from the swim?” I shouldn’t have corrected her, as she’s nervous about what such a race would do to my body, so giving her that “Oh, he can do this easily” kind of confidence might have been a good idea.
- Following naturally on from that: IronMan decision to be made this weekend.