Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

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Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

Postby gingertri » 05 Aug 2015 22:58

Where: around alpe d’huez area
When: 31st july for long distance - festival runs from 29th duathlon, 30th kids, 1st short distance)
Organiser: alpe d’huez triathlon
Course details: flat swim
Distance(s): 1.9k swim, 115k bike, 21-22k run
Marshalling: lots with flags on roundabouts! And referees in stripey tops
Facilities: feed stations (3 or 4) and water stops (extra one or two)
Technical: mountainous (undulating doesn’t cut it)
Freebies: kids size rucksack, adult size waterproof and a duathlon t-shirt for all finishers!
I’m not going to dwell on the past here!
Pre-race
Flying out on Wednesday before race is good! Lyon is but a 2h drive away. This gives you time to register and assemble the bike on the Thursday along with registering. I stayed at Beau soleil at the top which as it was end of season was 75% off! Weather can be roasting or rainy so take for both.
Race morning
Alarm went off at 6 and I put my stuff on with extra layers and grabbed a croissant and some fresh oj (coffee wasn’t on yet!). Run transition opened at 7am so off we went to drop off trainers and the all important cap, before continuing by bike down to the glacial lake (its 23k down a mountain with a wee bit of up hill (about 1k) – needless to say the extra layers helped, but I was still shivering at the bottom. Stood in the sun until I warmed and then lightened the load! Into the wetsuit to keep warm and fully did it up at 9am (post race brief – the only important bit – lake temp 15.5).
Swim
Got into the water (had a wetsuit swim cap on as extra warmth), did a wee than swam round a bit to get the water through the suit. Found my left goggle wouldn’t seal – the one thing I hate is leaky goggles! Supposedly a horn sounded the start (maybe a tiny whistle in the boat for those next to it! - from the highlights there was a horn!), all I saw was a surge at the front! So off I set, and stopped (NOTE: looked at highlights DO NOT start on the right!) No space over or through! I think some people at the front thought it was a breaststroke swim maybe! Took about 200m to get past them! Everyone made the first buoy at left turn at around the same time – so much so we’d created a 2ft surge! Rest of first lap without issues and goggle started to stick! Second lap near the finish and I heard screaming, so stopped – a guy was screaming his head off, me and 10 or so others stopped and waved but not water support (the referee was too intent on seeing that you went round the buoy!). anyhoo out of the water in 42minutes (about 5minutes slower than last time).
Bike
Got to tranisition, off with wetsuit and rolled on socks, put on jersey, gloves, cap and helmet then shoes. Got to mount line and it’s a straight up climb (hence why I had my shoes on) for a couple of minutes, then flat and descends down around the reservoir – I saw chrissie wellington who was supporting her 220 athlete shouted “go chrissie” and got a wave! A bit of flat through the first few 20km where I began my eating and drinking, and as it was a Friday, all the school kids were out on mass cheering us on! before you turn off for the first climb!
First climb: Alpe du grand serre (15k, 1000m climbing). It’s a long day to attack so I just set a rhythm, the switchbacks aren’t as extreme as alpe d’huez so it’s a long climb inbetween each one. Felt good all the way – more like a sportive feeling. I’d cut up 4 bars into bitesize chunks as its difficult to open and eat bars on 11-12% climbs and more so on descents. The descent off alpe du grand serre loses about 400m over 10k with a feed station somewhere I think as I traded my leaking high 5 bottle for an alpe d’huez bottle containing powerbar orange – think of these as the bottles you get at ironman but with more kudos! another slight rise and a further descent, before we reach climb number 2.
Second climb: Col d’ornon (15k ish with 800m climbing). This isn’t a steep climb at a leg sapping 4% for most of it on more bumpy rough roads, its also between two mountain ranges so absorbs and spits the heat at you, which makes it a lot harder. Dropped my chain once going back to big chain ring, but apart from that its sportive riding as usual! Got to top and stopped to pick up another alpe d’huez bottle as well as stopping for: orange segments, some ritz crackers with a strange ham tasting pink bit in the middle and some raisins. The descent from here is much nicer after an initial countryside descent past large fields and uninterested cows its onto nice wide sweeping descents the tdf pros love!
It flattens out after this as you start to approach alpe d’huez via bourg d’oisans. It’s a mandatory stop to make sure both bottles are full so I got more orange segments and ritzy type crackers.
Third climb: Alpe D’huez (15k and 1000m climbing). This is one of the hallowed climbs and you can still see all the chalk lines from the recent tdf visit! The very bottom lures you in with its innocent hanging baskets and two locals, but then kicks upto about 14%. I did the same as the other climbs and just set a rhythm (about 69rpm) and just enjoyed the climb! Saw the first switchback sign (21) didn’t read who’s it was as I wasn’t stopping for nothing! Keep going and suddenly i’m at 17! Then theres a water stop where I got a powerbar bottle with rather concentrated powerbar stuff in, so popped the cap of it whilst on my downtube and filled it with my other bottle of water. Like most people I drank and ate on the switchbacks as these are the lowest grade – its bad when you see 8% as a rather easy respite haha! Up we went past irish and dutch corner, past the churches and graveyards looking down over the side when you can to see the snake of riders which are miraculously evenly spaced! The crowds are amazing all the way through the race but you notice it more through huez village as its narrow and people have been drinking for a good few hours – so I went through and did big circles with my arm and the noise increased! You don’t do all the tdf climb as you turn off into transition through a tunnel before it! Total bike time: 5:40 (moving time, think I had 2 min of stops). This was about 50minutes quicker than the last moving time (probably much more in total!)
Run
The number of people at the fences near transition is huge! Got off my bike and said loudly “j’ai mal a la derriere” – much to the amusement of some kids there! Dropped bike off and put my right sock back on (I removed it on col d’ornon as shoe was a bit tight). Put trainers on and baseball cap and jogged out and downhill (isn’t this awesome I thought, my legs are fine……), and then it swings uphill! Feck! Ok I’ll walk! Through the aid station for some more ritz action and orange segment, then jogged the flats and walked the hill (repeat for 3 laps). The run goes out towards col du sarenne and is off road for a large part where it climbs again (why would they make you do hills on the run?!!), some of which is off road and some on some nice tarmac! From the top of the hill it a lovely tarmac descent down to the start again. At one point I spoke to a german guy racing with a large beard – related to jody I’m sure! I said I was struggling on the hills, he said you need to sing “you’ll never walk alone”…..so we did! Everyone else around us smiled and gave thumbs up! My legs did feel better then so I started jogging uphill! Saw him down below so shouted “you’ll never walk alone” to him. End of that lap and into the finish straight – I was running and high 5 aeroplaning everyone grinning wildly, then suddenly its all over, you get handed a t-shirt! Run time: 2:30!
Grabbed a plate of pasta and meat sauce with lots of cheese, ate and then sat in the ice baths for a few minutes!
What can I say, I was so happy to finish – I thought I’d be quite emotional, but I wasn’t! just plain happy
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Re: Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

Postby md6 » 06 Aug 2015 09:30

Great report Si, I bet you've banished a few demons there too!

Sounds absolutely brutal, I don't think that I would be able to get to the bottom of the alp let alone up it in any state to be able to run! :lol:
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Re: Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

Postby gingertri » 06 Aug 2015 11:20

It's harder than ironman Zurich bike for sure! But as long as you keep it easy on the bike you're ok!

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Re: Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

Postby jonathon.e » 06 Aug 2015 17:25

Great race report, and superb race well done Si.

About this sock removal, was it really to prevent ruining them as you went uphill ?? :D
Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.
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Re: Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

Postby gingertri » 06 Aug 2015 17:43

Haha no walking was done on any of the bike section!

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Re: Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

Postby Worrying Will » 06 Aug 2015 20:41

Cracking si. You may have found my target race there rather than an ironmny
Thinks to much about it all
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Re: Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

Postby IanM » 06 Aug 2015 21:08

Awesome work Si!
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Re: Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

Postby King Sad » 06 Aug 2015 21:14

Top man :D Cracking report :D Cracking result :D Really well done, what an experience
It seemed like a good idea at the time :? .



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Re: Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

Postby gingertri » 06 Aug 2015 21:31

Will, there's a kids one and a short distance! Take some time after to climb some others as there's so many climbs there! It's about €220. I want to go back again for sure!

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Re: Alpe D'huez long distance tri 2015

Postby birdyman » 07 Aug 2015 07:28

Great effort and a great report. It sounds like quite a race, although you have been incredibly modest about your achievement.

Brilliant work.
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