*** thanks to Steve Coutard for this race report ***
Embrun is a little city in the heart of the southern Alpes with a beautiful lake, this charming town situated at 700m altitude organize a triathlon for the last 29 years every 15 th August and the race is called Embrunman (3,8km, 188km and a Marathon).
Embrunman is well known for the bike leg which could be the hardest stage of tour de France with 188km and 5000 m climbing, the “Col de l’Izoard” (2500m high) is the hardest part at half way.
At 6am we are about 1000 to start our swim in the lake of Serre Poncon in a dark but warm (24c) water, the sun didn`t rise yet so you have to wear yellow googles in order to see properly.
The sun start to rise after the first swim lap so you can see the surrounding mountains during the second and last lap, what a beauty!
A quick warm tea after the swim and off on the bike for a very very hilly route!
Straight away you climb up from 700m to 1300m for the first 25km but the wonderful view of the lake below us now helps and i know that it will be a long long day so I start to eat and try to take it easy.
For the next 30km the bike is up and down with a nice road through the Gorges du Thil and suddenly the ascension of Col de l`Izoard begins with a nonstop 40km climbing start..
During the climb you can see Ski station and I don`t even want to look at the summit…it`s hard and I already start to feel the climb in my legs, Dubai is different for sure…
At the summit you can take the bag you gave to the organization the morning but mine wasn`t there!! Oh no! where are my sandwich, my bars/gels and my salt stick capsules!!! Anyway I have to carry on and I still have some gels and bars, I have done half way but I can feel some cramps coming up in my thighs…the descent was great and I feel alright on the flat but very slow on the climb and the cramps are not getting any better!
At that stage, I was scared as I have done the race 3 years ago and I know that the climbing is far from being done and the last 50km are very hard with a long climb until the last moment…and here I am doing the last kilometers and not feeling well at all, the bike has killed me!! I have cramps and worry for the coming marathon…
The run start and I still have cramps so I walk during any ascent…yes even the run is full of climbing… After 10km the cramps are so bad that every step is really painful and I had to give up after 12km.
It is sad but I couldn`t carry on and I didn`t want to walk the last 30km, as I was targeting a time, anyway, c`est la vie and I will be back!
I will need to change a bit my training and I might include some squat/weight lifting as my legs couldn`t climb properly, losing a bit of weight won`t be useless for sure :)