From the French Riviera.
Kelly, your comment to me as I rolled into T2 on the bike was so absurd that I burst out laughing, and started to run with a smile on my face. Thanks for cheering; it was great to see you out there.
I have to say that I loved the course, and would rank it ahead of Kona for challenge, scenery, and overall satisfaction. The bike course was super challenging, as you noted, but the scenery was outstanding, and the technical nature of the course made it feel more like a real bike ride.
Ironman did an outstanding job, in my opinion, of managing the whole week, and taking care of athletes. The only exceptions, unfortunately, that I experienced were on race day.
The first was the poorly planned swim start, where the narrow entrance to the beach was clogged with people, because it was the same area where epic lines formed to get into the inadequate number of Porta potties that they had placed along that walkway. It was the fewest Porta potties I’ve seen at any race, and at one point it looked like some of the lines were 60 men deep. Crazy.
Second, was that a couple of eight stations ran out of Gatorade or water about an hour into my marathon. They didn’t get me supplied, but the race just can’t let that happen, especially on a course that hot.
All that said, I would love to do that course again.
I'm not fast enough to qualify so my thoughts on the race are limited to the viewing experience. I know the debate on leaving Kona is over so won't go there. My observation is on the combo of a very difficult bike course coupled with a less challenging run course. The bike took all but 3 or 4 out of contention and there wasn't anywhere on the run course where the course was going to provide a challenge. The distance and heat can always play a part, but the course didn't appear to. The result was, for me, a viewing experience without much drama. That is unfortunate. I'm not sure that 4 laps around a very flat and similar looking loop is the best. Trying very hard to not sound like a grumpy old man.
Kelly- this is a GREAT write up!! I watched the entire race and am not enticed to go next year. As much as I love Kona, the footage was amazing and your comments about accommodations etc are helpful. The socks make sense to me but the bladder/bottle on a hot hot day, sounds miserable. Seems like the heat surprised a lot of people.
Because I'm a nerd, I watched the Jim Manton video the other day where he tested some aero calf sleeves. It seemed like 5 watts was a reasonable savings, so if we go with that the rule is 5 watts works out to about 0.5 seconds/km. So over an Ironman, that equals about 90 seconds. I guess theoretically one could put them on in less time than 90 seconds, but let's say it takes you 45-60 seconds to put them on while wet. You're saving 30-45 seconds over the bike ride, which *maybe* is worth the extra stress/decision making/potential for screw up? I dunno. I prob wouldn't bother unless it was a wetsuit swim and I already had them on. But then again, I am not winning races so who cares what I think - ha!
I'm surprised anyone was wearing them in the swim because I thought the rules for a non-wetsuit swim prohibit that? IMO the time it would take to put on aero socks when wet, shove a bottle/fake fairing etc down the suit etc etc would pretty much negate the time savings. Shrug.
Lol you didn't want a slumber party with a stranger?
Here is the rule I'm referencing from the Ironman competition rules. Maybe we need a "Sockgate" to add to the "Centrelinegate" debate?
Section 4.01 (f) When the use of wetsuits is prohibited (see Section 4.03), clothing covering any part
of the arms below the elbows and clothing covering any of the leg below the knee is deemed illegal and is not permitted during the swim segment of the Race but may be worn after completion of the swim segment; (DSQ).
You definitely left us hanging as to why you had to not stay a the Airbnb!!
I don't think you are seeing compression socks, they are aero socks. Probably doesn't make sense to take the time to remove them in T2 when they would be neutral on the run.
Can't wait to hear about this sketchy AirBNB 😝