Epic France – Day 6

FranceDay6.jpg

Swim: 1km
Bike: 39km / 1,220m
Run: 29k
Hours: 4h45

I don’t think today was ever described as an easy day. I believe the correct phrase was “Special Events” day. The idea is to get done by lunch so people have a chance to relax if they want. In the past this has been swim events and an easy ride and run. Not this time. I think circumstances meant getting pool time was not so easy so no 400 IM. Saddens me because it’s always a laugh and also it’s easy points. Fairer not to have it. Instead it was aquathlon and a long climb for KOM points.

Yet again I didn’t sleep that well. Not only very hot but also my mind was very active. I was feeling pretty stunned that my legs weren’t aching. I knew I would be ready to hit the climb hard and was hoping for a good aquathon.

6:45am we met for pre race coffees. Then down to the Lake for a typical Epic style aquathon. Point out a couple of buoys and send someone out as turn marker on the run. Normally John is generous with the swim distance as it benefits him (and me) but not this time .. it was definitely short but didn’t effect the result.

My first goal was to drop John on the swim. My second was to be running before he’d removed his wetsuit. I am pleased to announce I achieved both. Unfortunately as I started the swim I confirmed my shoulder isn’t right after the 200 fly a couple of days ago. I had to ease up on my sprint and just swim steady (I had massage on it after breakfast which helped a little) but it was still enough to drop John ! I was focussed on a quick transition and just shoved my feet in my vibrams with sand on. It was OK. I headed off at 4:10 KM pace and held that the whole 5k. I held john off till the first turnaround (it was two laps), held Clas off till halfway and held Zach off till the finish for 3rd place. The best aquathon by far that I’ve done on Epic Camp and I was very pleased.

We had a really leisurely breakfast which I made the most of. The yellow was looking ever more certain with that result.

[interlude there as went for a beer with Scott, Douglas and the Poles – a fantastic 500ml of Leffe. I have taken the advice of my friend Roger and am making sure I enjoy the social aspect of this camp. I’m having wine with dinner, beers and not rushing off always to maximise training]

day6power

At 10:30 we set out for todays ride. Not long at just under 40km but not easy. 1200+m of ascent in 16km. I’d decided I would hit it hard from the start and was pleased I managed to split the group. It didn’t happen with my first surge but I was really chuffed that I managed to put in a second surge of 350 watts to split out myself, Clas, Zach, Rob and Ian. It was just as I’d hoped. Clas, Zach and Rob are ahead of me in the KOM and I don’t really see I can do anything about it. The only times I’ve beaten Zach and Rob has been due to them not covering my early move. I purely wanted to secure my place in 4th in the KOM. It was one tough climb. How tough it was and my return to fitness are witnessed by the fact if gave me my best ever CP from 1h to 1h20 … the climb took about 1h10 and I average just over 300 watts. VERY PLEASED. The profile and power above shows the initial surge and then settling to around 300 watts. Then easing slight to a very comfortable pace before noticing Russ slowly creeping up and having to push the pace on again. Chuffed to bits with 4th at the top and further cementing my hold on yellow.

We had a super relaxed lunch at the top with views of Mont Blanc. I had considered dashing back to do my long run and a long swim but I came to my senses. It wasn’t needed, my shoulder would thank me for not swimming and it was good to relax and have lunch with everyone. It was fun.

The descent was awesome. I then went to my room and drank lots before heading off on my long run. This I felt would secure my yellow jersey. The aim was 24km in over 2 hrs for 5 points. The plan was to run out along the lake comfortable for 12km and push the pace back hoping for just over 2hrs. However, I was thrown a curve ball about availability of water on the route. I was under the impression that there’d be water fountains along the way and though I found the first couple as indicated after 2km I saw none. I’d set out with just tiny Fuel Belt bottles and ended up running the 12km out in the 30+c heat to my turn point. I arrived in about 1:05 and felt that I should be OK for just over 2 hours total. Then the heat hit me and the lack of water. I headed to a camp site to some water down and have an ice cream. Unfortunately I’d  probably got  into a bad state and the run back was torture. I ran to 16km then had to run walk – 3 min walks, 2km run for three cycles before I got to the water fountain. Then I managed the last few KMs ok to finish in 2h27. A very tough run.

This evening was great fun. Chatted a lot with Rob and it felt like I’d met a kindred spirit in terms of all my recent thoughts about the global economy, peak oil, world population and economic growth. It was very nice to chat.

Post dinner, as I mentioned, I went for beer with Scott and Douglas. A very relaxing hour sat outside in the warm evening air. This is what it’s all about… living the dream ;o)

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