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IM France

gpgp Posts: 4
Anyone doing IM france this year? I done IM UK last year and I was wondering if anyone could tell me how hard IM France would be in comparison?


  • trilife1trilife1 Posts: 2
    hi gp. as i am also a new member, i will jump in here and try to answer your queary .i have done both{ the uk twice in fact}and i will have to say that france is the easiest/the mountain section being very over rated.

    good luck.
  • gpgp Posts: 4
    Hi Trilife1,

    Thanks for the info, I was thinking as much. IMUK is a tough event. Are you doing any IM events this year? I'm going to do Nice in June and the UK in September, really looking forward to doing France.

    How did you find the heat in France?

  • trilife1trilife1 Posts: 2
    i went to nice 6 days b4 the race, and got some good sun on my skin. in my mind this makes all the difference. last thing you want is to burn on race day.i also heard that wearing sunblock can limit your bodys abilty to sweat,or inhibit its abiltly to effectivly regulate its tempreture,as it can block pours.

    apart from this, just keep drinking loads of water b4 and during the race.

    plenty of wine after!!!!!!!!!!
  • lele Posts: 3

    heard horror stories about the climbing. is 39/25 going to be enough for the hills, sorry, mountains?
  • pacmanpacman Posts: 109
    Hey there le,

    going to france aswell this year and looking forward to it after uk last year. from what I've heard the climbs are long but not as severe, good luck with the training.
  • pacmanpacman Posts: 109
    Come on you guys - lets get this link going again.

    How is the training going. Is anybody else finding it really difficult to get out on the bike with the chilly evenings? Are people using programmes ? Do people feel like they're on course, a bit ahead a bit behind?

    For me i think the only part of my training that's going well is the swim. I'm completely avoiding the other two. I've out on the bike about 5 times in the last 2 months and the longest I';ve gone fpor is about 60K, it started pissing rain then and I decided a pint beside a warm fire was more important.

    Come on guys and girls I need a bit of motivation!!!

  • hi Patrick,

    my training is going ok - up to 2 hours run @ 75% heart rate or lower and long bike of 85 mls on a couple of spins.

    but ............ my swimming is terrible !!!! I just learned to swim my first length in December . I can now do 3.8 k in spilts but at a very slow pace(2 hours ish) really dreading open water but I have no choice do I - but just to get on with it ! any suggestions on getting faster in the water ?

    my goal is to get 12 - 16 hours training each week ( 3 weeks hard and one easy per month)


  • pacmanpacman Posts: 109
    Sounds like your really doing the work - 2 hour runs and 85 mile bikes are well into the zone. Thats just what I need to hear to give me a kick in the ass.

    With regard to the swim it sounds like either a stamina problem or a stroke technique thing. Given that your core fitness is probably really high from all the cardio on the bike and run, I'd say either your struggling with breathing in the water, which can affect stamina or your technique needs refinment, poor technique means that your putting much more effort in to get the same distance.

    Are you breathing to each side, what distance splits are you doing 6 x 600 or 2 by 1.9K, this may make a difference to overall endurance.

    Anyway good luck with it sounds like your putting some quality training in.
  • thanks for the sound advice - a couple of people have pointed out to me in the last week that my technigue was poor. I will be getting 1-1 lessons from this week on so hopefully this will get me going faster.

    did a mock half ironman on Sunday with a no of club mates and it went really well. I was really surprised how well it went in terms of not suffering until last couple of miles on the run. The only thing that alarmed me was that I found it hard to drink my last bottle of energy drink (infinite) my system had a enough of it at that stage - I am going to have to figure out a plan b for France.

    I am pretty sure I will stick with infinite as my energy drink as it is the only drink that has stopped me from getting cramp - maybe what happened on sunday was because I did not take any water on board between taking the drink ? has anyboby got any observations you could advise me on for re fueling during ironman races.

  • MalMal Posts: 9
    Hi Le,

    You posted a question about gearing for France - I went last week for training. I spun a 39 * 27 up the main climbs. With that gear I was out of the saddle on the short 10 % climb at the beginning but that doesn't matter as it is very short. Half way up the main climb, there is a 7 % section where I struggled a little with my gearing - it is only for 2-3k though. Overall, I thought a 39 * 27 was fine for the day BUT what if there is a heavy headwind against us on the day whilst going up the mountain - then I would run into some trouble. For that reason, I put a compact chainset on the bike. a 34 / 50 - this will give the flexibility required if the messy stuff hits the fan. Also, you do not need a 53 ring for the descent as it is so twisty that you rarely get much above 30 MPH. It is a lovely cycle and once you get over Col De l'ecre at 43 miles, it is quite straight forward. The climbs are long but not steep.

    Now - I have a question and I may post a new topic for this - I cannot go a day on power bars and I need something real in my special needs bag. I am thinking a big sandwich - can anyone make a suggestion? Also, what are you lads having for the brekkie that day. I am going for porridge and usually I have scrambled eggs as well with toast but perhaps I need something more carbo orientated.
  • lele Posts: 3
    thanks mal,

    i'm probably going to chance it with the 39/25. the climbs dont appear to be severe, just long, and all over by 43 miles so should be able to recover after that.

    not sure what the deal is with special needs bags. they dont seem to hand them out as standard. i normally put a frozen perpeteum drink in there (tastes pretty bad but does the trick) and spare tire, wet wipes to freshen up a bit and a power bar.

    not sure what the manual says on breakfast but i basically stuff my face leading up to a day before, lighten up a little bit on the day before, then start stuffing my face again from the night before the race. probably exactly the wrong thing to do but being a big lad its very difficult getting enough calories in on race day.

    good luck for training! the race day is too close for my liking!

  • MalMal Posts: 9
    Yep, you should be grand with the 39*25. The winds tend to be based on the coast and while I was there, the wind on the main climbs was minimal. I am just super cautious as this is my first (and last ironman) and I want to make sure I see that line.

    Thanks for the ideas re food.

    Best of luck - I may see you there..

  • pacmanpacman Posts: 109
    Hey guys,

    Mal its brilliant that you got a chance to get over there and do a bit of training, and don't say that it's going to be your last - I said that last year about IMUK (my first) and here I am again!

    The question I have is about the bike aswell. Are ye guys using tri bikes or road bikes. I think for the out of the saddle stuff and hairpin descents i think I would prefer a road bike - but my tri bike is a much better machine.

    About breakfast i always go with the porridge on race day. A bit of fruit helps aswell and plenty of carb liquid. In the special needs bag I don't think I would manage something more savoury like a sandwich, especially if it's hot. There was aletter in 220 before from someone who couldn't tolerate power bars gels etc. and there were a few suggestions made - I'll try and dig it out.
  • MalMal Posts: 9
    Hi Pacman,

    From looking at the official DVD, a lot of the top people used tri specific bikes last year. (acutally I met last years ladies winner when training - she was very nice and asked me to join them - at which point I bid my leave).

    The ascents are quite gradual and hence if your tri bike is much better - I think you would be OK on it - just make sure you have the rights gear ratios on it. They are not steep but loooonnnnggggg - you will need to be able to spin up them or pay the price later.

    I wasn't sure whether to put the tri bars on my road bike - but now that I have been over the course, there is plenty of use for them and I will be clipping them on.

    The descents have a handful of hairpins but are generally quite flowing and pleasant - tight in spots but with closed roads, they should be grand. The biggest risk will be the 2500 others descending with you.

    In short - I would use my tri bike if 1) it was much better than my road bike and 2) if I had a tri bike.

    Don't be daunted by the cycle - it is great and you will feel like you are in the Tour.


  • pacmanpacman Posts: 109
    I have defo improved since getting a kick in the ass from reading these latest posts. If feels much realer as I think I have been in denial about the fact that this is a June event. I very rarely do my main event of the summer until August so I think 'there's plenty of time' has been going on in the back of my head. Did a 2 hour run yedsterday and managed to keep the hr reasonable and my swim is still good. I'm managing the 3.8 in the pool in 1.15, without really killing myself. The only thats lagging behind now is the bike. I just can't seem to get my sh*t together and get a long bike in.
  • the bellythe belly Posts: 125
    [:)]hi there im doing the dam thing...[:)] some say the uk 2005 ironman bike route was harder than NICE? some say not.. who do you believe?[:@][&:]... 39/27 sound good to me on a road bike ... and is it true that the big climbs are over soon? and the last part is easy....i just hope i can finish...[&:]
  • MalMal Posts: 9
    Hi Pacman,

    Yes – the hard climbs are over after 43 miles.

    There is a good course profile on the Ironman France site.

    The first 10 miles are flat. Then you have a short steep 1 k climb. Then it is a false flat (i.e. flat but always a little bit up) for miles 10 ish to 31. Then 12 miles gradual climb.

    That takes you to mile 43 and Col de L’ecre. That is the worst over but there is more climbing.

    I will have a look at my notes tonight and drop you a little more detail then.

    Overall, I was happy with the cycle and found it tough but quite fair and enjoyable. I am only looking to finish this race and am forecasting 13-14 hours. I averaged 15.6 MPH on the cycle and felt grand after it. I tell you this so you see that I am in no way an elite athelete - I am just doing the race to finish and I found the cycle fine.

  • pacmanpacman Posts: 109
    Hi Mal,

    Cheers for that - gives me a bit of confidence - I think I've decided to fit the drop bars from my road bike to the tri bike and add on some tri bars. So that'll dive me the best of both worlds.

    It sounds like you're getting some good training in and I wouldn't rule out better than 13 hours. I know it's about finishing it and I had the same idea last year and ended up doing 12.09. I don't think I'll manage it this year though my training was much more organised last year.

    I got a good 4k swim in today and I'm finally getting out on the bike. it looks that things are going to saettle down committments wise aswell and I'll have the next two months of weekends pretty much free. So here it goes...!

    All the best with the training.

  • MalMal Posts: 9
    OK - a little later than promised - the rest of the bike course review for what its worth.

    After Col de L'ecre - you go through a plain in the middle of the mountains - there are a couple of little draining hills which come as a surprise as they are not marked on the course profile - but really they are short and they finish after Caussols and you have a nice descent and some grand flats before the Col de la Sin which is an easy climb.

    Shortly after you get to a brilliant winding descent that brings you almost to Greolieres. About 3 k from Greolieres the road goes up again and there is a bit of a climb into the town. (This is a great place to stop for a coffee or lunch if you are training (altough I have also considered it on the day but I guess thats not the idea)).

    After Greoliere there is a nice descent before you hit the last long climb of the day - it starts easy and then steepens a little and flattens closer to the top but all in all - this is not tough climb at all and quite pleasent as you roll through the trees and one of the few areas in the day where you will get a little shade.

    Then it is flat to Cote de Coursegoules - the course profile says this climb is only 1.1 k but it is at least 4. There is a short tough section after about a k and then it is just a steady climb to the top.

    After that it is a charge to the bottom of the mountain. The descent is quite technical and I rarely got above 30mph. But it is really enjoyable. The Cote du broc climb is grand and almost a welcome break from the concentration required in the descent.

    Then it is a flat run to the marathon.

    All in all - the tough stuff is over after Col de L'ecre - so then just enjoy it and try to get the legs ready....
  • pacmanpacman Posts: 109
    Cheers for the advice about the bike leg Mal. Training is going a bit better now. I'm going to do my own 1/2 IM tomorrow to see what kind of shape I'm in. I'll be taking it very easy though. Good luck guys.

  • pacmanpacman Posts: 109
    Final question about the bike course Mal - whats the road surface like?
  • MalMal Posts: 9
    Road surface is great - nice and smooth - the very odd pothole on the descent and one funny bump in the road that you won't see until you are over it and thinking how you could have fallen off there....

    I was over it twice and didn't see it either time!!
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