On Monday we feature the World's 10 Interesting & Unusual Triathlons:
Our goal is to travel the world with you in search of the most unusual, fun, and interesting races from Peoria to Peking.
Today we travel to France for what is one of the most spectacular Ironman races in Europe. Ironman France is know for a grueling, but incredibly scenic bike course. It is hot, It is hilly, and it is breath taking and beautiful.
But before we take you to this unique race, please visit our newest partner: Ken Glah's Endurance Sports Travel.
Our feature World's 10 most Interesting & Unusual races---Triathlon is presented by Endurance Sports Travel who not only offer a great and affordable travel experience for Ironman races around the world, but they still also have slots to this sold out race---such as Ironman Austria.
Being a triathlete for a day
It is 4 a.m. in the morning. Between excitement and sleep, it’s time to wake up slowly and begin preparations for the long day. The night may have been short, and feelings of stress are becoming more and more evident. The athletes must be calm in order to benefit from their last steady moments. 5 a.m. is coming. It’s time to go to the Promenade des Anglais, the starting point of the race.
Now, it is 5 a.m. and the Bike Park opens it doors. Once my chip is fixed, and personal aid bags have been dropped off at the park entrance, I can make my last minute adjustments. Time is running out! It is already time to put the wetsuit on, leave my STREETWEAR bag and use my last minutes to warm up. 6:15, and everybody is out of the water and moving to the starting area. Although there is so much energy and cheer all around the event, the tension is tangible. I have got butterflies in my stomach.
Here we are! Everybody is off. 225,995 kilometers separate me from the Finish Line. Loads of spectators are already there to admire the start, and it is magic atmosphere. I am in a sea of swimmers. As we move ahead, the less we are crowded. When at last I get out of the water, I run towards the transition tent without a break. I change, and go through the Bike Park to grab my bike. Spectators yell “go, go!" to support us. The hinterland is awesome, and the setting is spectacular. My first sign of fatigue arrives. Fortunately, Promenade des Anglais is getting closer. When I enter into the Bike Park, a volunteer is already there, in front of a free rack to help me. It’s great! There is just time to swallow a banana, then I am already running on the Prom’ for the last part of the race.
It is as though the closer I get to the Finish Line, the more discomfort I feel. The heat is definitely getting to me. Fortunately, there are volunteers to give us water and there are mist sprinklers to make the atmosphere cooler. Even if the sun hits the thousands of spectators, they prefer the sport festivity than being in the sea. I don't really know how to thank them for that, because maybe I would have given up without their support. I can see the Finish Line. People touch my shoulders, yelling and cheering along the way. I am exhausted, but so happy. I am an Ironman! Once I have crossed the Finish Line, volunteers help me and hand me a finisher’s medal and T-shirt. They invite me to go to the "After finish area" to eat a good portion of food and have a well deserved rest at the expert hands of the masseurs.
I will always have fond memories of this great day. Although it has been hard, I have done something amazing.
* Click HERE to explore and travel to the rest of the World's 10 most Interesting & Unusual races.