Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France 9-6-2019

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I qualified for the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France back in April of 2019. I didn’t go (or try to grab a roll-down slot) in 2018 since it was so far away in South Africa and the race was only a couple weeks after our full Ironman in Copenhagen. I thoroughly enjoyed the 2017 Worlds 70.3 in Chattanooga. So, I decided to try and qualify for the race in France. And thanks to the extra 25 slots from Women for Tri, I qualified as the 5th place women in my age group at Ironman 70.3 Texas. I was thrilled and so honored to race another World Championship event. And we both were very excited to travel to France for our first time! Overall it was another successful adventure! Thank you Nice!

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I will get the nitty-gritty details over with right now! I knew I wasn’t going to be completely recovered from the full Ironman I did 5 weeks previous in Whistler, British Columbia. And I knew there was no way this year I’d be competitive in a field of the top 253 women in the world within my age group. So, I didn’t worry about jet lag and arriving early. I didn’t have enough vacation time anyways to get there a week in advance. And then a high hamstring issue caused Lisa to make modifications in my training. With limited running and modified bike training, the goal was to just finish the race safely and good enough to have a solid middle-of-the-pack finish. While I am a little disappointed in not making the top 20% of my age-group like 2017, I had a respectable finish with all the variables thrown at me for this race. I wasn’t recovered. I was jet-lagged. I was hot in the swim wearing my wetsuit. I didn’t “race” down the 20+ mile crazy, dangerous descent. And I had to mind my hamstring a bit during the race. All and all I still had a respectable finish. It was by far my slowest bike spit and slowest result ever in a 70.3. My total time was 6:11:59 (eeeeek!). This is over 30 minutes slower than Chattanooga in 2017. And over an hour slower from my time in Texas!! Out of 253 women who finished I was 118th. Not stellar but not horrible either. I got the job done!

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Once again, we flew out of the Montreal Airport with a direct flight to Nice, France. One word of advice. Avoid Air Canada Rouge if possible. This is a budget airline with very uncomfortable seats and no movie screens on the seats. Luckily, I read during a good portion of the flight. But I do like movies to break up a 7.5-hour overnight flight! On Wednesday morning we arrived on time in Nice at 8:15am, but had to wait a solid hour for our luggage and bikes. I was definitely getting nervous as that was the longest, we ever waited. There were a lot of bikes coming off the oversized baggage belt. Once we had all our luggage Scott ordered our first Uber which worked great. We waited just a few minutes and then we were driven to our apartment in Nice which was about 15 minutes away. The driver was friendly and spoke 5 languages!

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Post-race celebration on our balcony

We rented a very nice apartment from AirB&B. This place was really great! It was a very convenient location from the race venue and a few minutes’ walk to the Mediterranean Sea. We were on the top floor with a large, wonderful balcony. The apartment itself was small but we had enough room and almost everything we needed. The apartment had been totally renovated with a modern kitchen and bathroom. It was stylish and spotless! The kitchen was well equipped. The A/C worked very well which was a relief since Nice was hot (low to mid 80sF). The bedroom was tiny with only room for the queen sized bed but the closet had plenty of space for clothes. Our favorite aspect was the balcony and comfy outdoor furniture. We enjoyed drinking Nespresso out there and wine after the race. Our host left us a bottle of wine which we enjoyed post-race. We were above one of the popular pedestrian walkways with lots of trendy restaurants. It was noisy and festive below but quiet in our apartment. I was surprised how quiet it was to sleep in our bedroom. If we ever come back to Nice, we’ll stay here again! Loved it!

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I wasn’t stressed out as I normally am before a race. And Scott agrees with this! I believe it was because I had no expectations or goals to meet. I wasn’t going to podium so I just had to finish respectfully and that wasn’t a tall order for me. I was happy to be in Nice and enjoyed Wednesday through Friday before the race. I loved going down to the Promenade de Anglais and walking along the sea. It was also very fun to just walk the streets from our apartment and enjoy the sites and old architecture. The most convenient aspect was having a very good vegan restaurant called the Copper Branch within a block from our accommodations. (more later in my Food and Beverage report). Feeling very tired and jet lagged on Wed, this place was an oasis. We sometimes ate twice a day at the Copper Branch during our entire stay!

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Wednesday afternoon after we unpacked and got some food into our bellies we ventured down to the promenade for a short run. It was sunny and glorious. It was our first time seeing the Mediterranean so that was exciting! Lots of tourists were out there and many of the athletes were also running or cycling. I only did a 20-minute run with my compromised hamstring. It was a little sore but nothing alarming. I could work with it for the race. With the race on Saturday I didn’t run again until race-day.

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On Thursday morning Scott built up my bike and I took it for a short ride along the promenade. Being around 10am the promenade was packed with other athletes but I just needed to shake out my legs and make sure everything with my bike was working. Later we both got to swim in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time. It was very wavy and choppy but still very enjoyable. The water was warm so I wore my Roka skinsuit which worked well. The water was very salty and felt lovely. Scott enjoyed the waves and we both could see fish swimming around us. We also made our way to registration and the Ironman Store on Thursday.

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On Friday I did another bike ride but earlier in the morning. Getting out before 7am was much better with less people and congestion on the bike lanes. And the morning was beautiful with a stunning sunrise! I swam around 10am close to the swim course which was fun. Scott decided not to swim and watch the bag. There is a lot of theft in Nice and you have to be careful. The water wasn’t as wavy in the morning and again felt lovely. I really enjoyed swimming in the sea. Later in the afternoon I got my bike and transition bags down to the transition areas. A thunderstorm was moving into the area and we got hit after I dropped my bike off. I still had to drop my run bag off in T2 so we got soaked! It was a mini adventure for sure.

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I feel like I ate well the days before the race. We cooked pasta and the vegan mac and cheese I packed. We supplemented with lunches at the Copper Branch. Having an organic food market, a block away was also super helpful with meal preparation and additional food like yogurts, juice, soy milk, etc. I didn’t get a full night’s rest before my race but it wasn’t bad and I did manage a solid block of sleep. As usual we were up early so I could get to transition when it opened at 5am. I ate my usual oatmeal breakfast and then we made our way down to transition to drop off my bike bottles and shot blocks. That all went smoothly. Just a few athletes were there with us when it opened. It was announced that it would be wetsuit legal which was fine by me. But I didn’t know how hot I would feel swimming. We walked back home and had an hour and a half before we headed down to the swim start.

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I was worried about the crowds as everything felt so much busier and more congested compared to other Ironman events. So, we left the apartment a little sooner than planned. When we got down to the area right outside the swim start, I decided to do a warm up jog for 10 minutes as I wasn’t sure where I could do a warm up swim (it turned out there was room to swim on the left side of the swim start). I ran very easy and slowly due to my high hamstring issue. It might have been my slowest jog in ages but nothing hurt or felt sore. I was very happy about that! I then got my wetsuit on and said my good byes to Scott. And finally, I went into the swim start area to join my fellow age groupers.

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The Swim

I loved swimming in the Mediterranean Sea previous to the race. I had anticipated wearing my Roka skinsuit over my racing kit as the water temps were warm and coming in slightly higher than what is considered wetsuit-legal. Looking back, the skinsuit would have been ideal in the salty warm water. I brought both my skinsuit and wetsuit since we ended up wearing our wetsuits at the Worlds 70.3 in Chattanooga 2017 after much speculation. So, this was my first time feeling hot in the swim portion of any triathlon. The swim was not wetsuit legal for the men on Sunday which was a smart call! They got lucky!

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Overall, I was OK with my swim and time considering all the variables. My overall time was a 40.27. I didn’t have any real time goals. I was swimming well just before the race so I figured I could go under 40 minutes depending on how choppy the sea was on race day. The sea was much calmer than the times we swam before race day. Afternoons tended to be wavy and mornings were better. There was some decent chop heading across the course and heading back but nothing I couldn’t handle. The salty waters made us more buoyant, but not sure if that did help with speed/time in a wetsuit. Were we too buoyant? Overheating was my biggest concern on the swim so I had to pace myself accordingly.

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Once again, I was the last AG wave to go off at 8:37am. My Garmin posted a time of 8:39am so we must have lined up earlier. I ended up towards the back in almost the last 25% of my age group. I was hoping to get more up towards the middle but it was hard to stay on the outside where I’m most comfortable swimming. It was a rolling start within each age-group. 10 of us went off every few seconds. There was a tarp over the stones but still tricky to get into the water. Luckily, I didn’t have any real issues and I was off!

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The swim was a bit more crowded and aggressive compared to my previous 3 triathlons swims this year which was unlike Worlds 70.3 a couple years ago. It didn’t feel too crowded or congested but not as clear or relaxed as Ironman Canada in Whistler. I swam on the outside (Left) to keep out of trouble. The warm water made it easier to get into a rhythm. I felt I was swimming without problem in the beautiful blue water with gentle waves initially. I noticed I was a bit warm but wasn’t worried yet.

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All beaches are made up of smooth stones in Nice

I was swimming past the slower women and a few went past me. I tried to stay closer to the buoys. I noticed the further I swam out the wavier it got but nothing bad so far. I was happy to see the red buoy for the first right turn. I had no issues getting around the first turn but I’m sure I could improve on this aspect of the swim. I probably swim a bit too far and wide. I was getting very warm at this point and was a little worried about overheating and had to keep my pace more moderate. I let water into my wetsuit which helped cool me off for a few minutes. I also tried to appreciate the beauty of swimming in the Mediterranean in a very special event. I was very lucky to be doing this epic and historic race in Nice!

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Practice swim on Friday morning

Swimming across wasn’t bad but felt a bit more congested with a few aggressive women but nothing I couldn’t handle. And it was definitely choppier out there. I was happy to see the last turn buoy and head back to shore. Again, it was feeling a little congested. I had one or two women who stuck around me for a while and I couldn’t shake them. I had contact especially on my feet but I was still moving along OK. I was still feeling warm and would let water into my wetsuit a couple more times to cool off. I didn’t dare swim quite as fast as I liked but did pretty good considering how warm I was.

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The swim felt like it went by a bit faster than other 70.3s and I thought I had broken 40 minutes. My PR 70.3 swim is 37 minutes and it felt like I was around that time or better. So, I was a little disappointed in the 40 minutes but also relieved it wasn’t worse being so warm. I was happy as usual to see the swim exit! There were plenty of volunteers helping us out of the water. And with the stones the volunteers were great! No sore feet!

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I was smiling and in good spirits after the swim and happy to run to transition and grab my bike. I saw Scott while I was in transition and that lifted my spirits more. I noticed my upper hamstring was not sore while running in transition which was great news. I was ready to head onto the next part of my “French adventure”. Lisa suggested coming up with a theme for this race so I decided it would be a fun adventure, nothing more or less.

 

The Bike

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I knew the Nice bike course was going to be epic. But I wasn’t paying attention to the new bike course specifically for the 70.3 World Championship and how it might be different from the normal 70.3 course in Nice. I was too concerned this summer with tackling the very mountainous Ironman bike course in Whistler, BC. And with a high hamstring issue two weeks after my full Ironman I didn’t do any long App Gaps rides where I’d get more practice climbing and descending hair-pin turns. I knew I wouldn’t be competitive in Nice so my bike time wasn’t a real concern. I was more concerned about the 20+ mile technical descent after 28 miles of mostly climbing. I really did love the bike course! We had 6 miles to warm up with a nice fast section out of Nice. Then it was 22 miles of climbing with some good steep pitches in the first few miles. We even got to climb up the famous Col de Vence which was amazing and beautiful. I didn’t like descending that long but it took us through some quaint French towns and gave us some breath-taking views of the mountains and countryside.

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Views of hilltop towns from the bike course

My bike split of 3:35:52 was a new personal worst but it was also the hilliest and most challenging course so far in my triathlon journey. I keep choosing races that are more difficult with big elevation gains! Looking at the splits on the tracker I was very competitive with my climb up the course but probably lost about 15-20 minutes on the descent. No exaggeration! I played it safe and decided I had more to lose than gain by riding too fast downhill. So, while I was disappointed in my time and placing in the bike, I was happy to finish safely. There were two bad crashes that I rode by on the descent with ambulances. Middle-aged mothers riding way too fast!

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I enjoyed the first few miles heading down the promenade and past the airport. I was feeling decent and my body parts including my upper hamstring felt fine. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was racing in France! I kept thinking of my theme for this race which was my “French Adventure”. I felt lucky to be there!

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We stopped at a trail head along the Col de Vence after the race

Once I headed away from the coast and towards the mountains the course felt a bit more congested. I was surprised by so many women on road bikes. But after the race I wished I had ridden a road bike too. The course would have been really awesome on a road bike. Even the men’s pro winner rode a road bike for this race!

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The first few miles of the long ascent had a few shorter but steeper pitches. I rode up well and would pass a few women but then they would pass me on a flatter section with a slight downhill. There was a lot of leap-frogging with other female athletes. I didn’t mind too much as that normally happens especially in the beginning of the bike leg. I love climbing so I just kept riding up steadily keeping my heart rate in check. But I did notice my HR was higher than normal but it didn’t quite feel as high as it was. I felt OK so I just made sure there were no crazy spikes. Before the Col de Vence there was a section with a longer gradual uphill that felt very enjoyable to ride. And I could even see ocean views in the distance a few times. I was in awe! I could stay in my aero bars riding in a nice groove during this section. It didn’t last as long as I would have liked. We went through a few towns with beautiful scenery and then came the signs for the Col de Vence.

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The Col de Vence was stark but beautiful. Less trees and more rocky terrain made me feel like I was in a far-away-land. I loved all the hair-pin turns. This was why I flew here! I was truly enjoying this part of the course. My heart rate was still rather high but I was feeling fine! Climbing is what I did best when I raced over 20 years ago. My upper left hamstring started to get a bit cranky on the last few miles in the Col de Vence but it wasn’t chronic or intense. Luckily it did ease up and felt fine on the rest of the ride.

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I nabbed the second photo of the Col de Vence

After the Col de Vence there were several hilltop towns we biked through. We enjoyed driving the course after the race to visit a few towns and appreciate the beauty. The descent was much worse looking in the car. I was glad I hadn’t seen the course previous to the race or I would have been much more stressed before the race. On the bike it wasn’t bad but it was dangerous if you rode it too fast and didn’t slow down through the towns. There were speed bumps and many technical sections in the towns. I have a fear of certain heights and wasn’t too scared but didn’t want to look down on some of the corners where there were big drop offs. I could have been scared, but instead focused on the roads and riding safely. That kept my mind busy. Scott thought the course was absolutely insane and thought it was a bit terrifying. But I swear that riding it was much better than driving it! That being said one male athlete on Sunday crashed and fell 20 feet down a drop-off. Luckily, he will be OK. The men’s race had several bad crashes as well from riding too fast.

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There were too many women passing me on the descent. I passed many on the long climb. But they were faster on the descents taking more chances than myself. I tried to keep up a few times but then felt too uncomfortable and decided it just wasn’t worth it. That being said, Scott does think I ride too slowly on the descents nowadays. I used to be faster in the 1990s when I raced. Now that I’m older I just don’t enjoy going fast downhill anymore. Plus, three friends crashed this year and ended up in the hospital. That also weighed on my mind. I didn’t want to join that club! So, while I’m happy to have finished safely, I’m torn about my descending in a race. I do need to ride downhills faster on my next race if I want to qualify for a world championship race again!

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The last 6 miles were fast and flat and I was just so happy to have the long descent behind me. My hands were sore from breaking. I felt cold on parts of the descent. It was stressful and I was happy to have it behind me! I tried to make up a little time on the last section. The promenade was a bit congested so I didn’t ride it as fast as I had planned. But it was good enough. I was happy to arrive at transition and rack my bike!

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The Run

I didn’t think or worry too much about the run leading up to the race since I was focused on my sore upper hamstring and then worrying about the bike course when I got to Nice. I knew the run course was flat taking place mostly on the promenade or next to it. And I did a couple morning bike rides to view the course. It’s actually a beautiful course which takes place mostly along the Mediterranean Sea along the Nice’s famous waterfront, Promenade des Anglais. While the flat course was not difficult, the hot sun made the run feel very toasty! I’ll admit I was not ready to be that hot! I didn’t sit in the sauna like I normally do before a hot race. It wasn’t my hottest 70.3 run but it was up there!

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My goal was to run around 8-minute miles or better for this run but I wasn’t committed to anything concrete. It was more of a loose target. I had no idea how my upper hamstring would behave, so I didn’t put much pressure on myself. My goal was to run well but not too fast to injure myself further. I got lucky and my hamstring pain wasn’t bad. It was the sun that slowed me down. My time of 1:46:23 was average for me. I know that without the hamstring issue I would have been able to run more than a 10-mile long run between my Ironman at the end of July and this race. But with minimal running this wasn’t a bad result. I’ll take it!

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Shake out run along the course after a long flight!

My transition between the bike and run wasn’t fast but I wasn’t worried about placing or being competitive so I sat down to change into my running socks and shoes. I took a quick porto-poty stop before the run which helped me feel much better. I couldn’t tell where the run officially started so I hit my Garmin a couple minutes late. I was happy to be on the run but it felt quite warm right off! I did notice my hamstring was a little cranky, but it wasn’t bad and never got too much worse. It sometimes dulled and even went away briefly so it was never a constant chronic issue. It was something I just noticed throughout the run, much like background noise.

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After a few turns and running through a tunnel I was out onto the promenade heading towards the airport. I was on the road and sharing it with the cyclists still heading the opposite direction to transition. There were people cheering us on but the crowds thinned out as I headed towards the airport. I saw Scott taking photos and cheering me on as I got onto the promenade. It was great to see him! There were many women around me so I never felt alone but the course wasn’t crowded which was helpful.

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The Hoka One One drummers were one of my favorite highlights of the race!

The first couple miles went fine and I was feeling quite decent. There was a nice head-wind and a few trees offered brief shade here and there. I was running my fastest during these initial miles but knew that it was only getting hotter and I still had a long way to go. So, I slowed it down just a little to make sure the wheels didn’t fall off later. I’m good about pacing and being realistic!

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The turnaround took a bit longer than expected. I didn’t find out where exactly it was before the race, so I just kept hoping it would come up soon! There were a couple aid stations before the turnaround with plenty of water and one still had some ice which I grabbed. That always helps! After turning around, the course was back on the bike path along the airport. It was hotter heading back towards the finish area with a tail wind. There was a small bit of shade from the fencing by the airport but it didn’t last long and I was soon out in the blazing sun! But it was less than 3 miles to the turnaround. I was still running around an 8 minute-mile pace for much of the way back feeling quite hot! I did my best to admire the stunningly beautiful blue waters of the sea. It was truly a spectacular site along the promenade with the mountains in the distance and the gorgeous water. A once in a life time experience! But at the same time my body was feeling the effects of the whole race and heat.

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As I got closer to the finish the crowds were larger and enthusiastic. It was fun to run along the sun shelters full of cheering spectators. I saw Scott again taking photos and yelling “go Joyce”. I could hear the announcer at the finish and turned around to do my second loop. I’m always happy to be halfway done. It feels like a mental boost! Heading back out I noticed I was definitely not feeling as well as I did the first time through. The breeze helped but I was still feeling the effects of the heat and it was getting warmer. Being the last female age group wave to go off I knew I would be running during the warmest part of the day! The aid stations were mostly out of ice being the last wave so that was a bit disappointing. I took extra water to dump over my head. I took my GUs every 30 minutes which helped as well.

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Again, I was grateful to reach the turnaround and head back. The first half of my run I managed to run around 8-minute miles. It was the second half where things slowed down a bit. Heading out on the second loop my pace averaged 8:10 to 8:28 for miles 6-9 which isn’t too bad but I just couldn’t move much faster in the heat. The last few miles averaged mostly 8:24 but I managed to run an 8:05 pace on mile 13. I still tried to appreciate the beauty along the promenade. And I savored the last mile with more crowd support. I was in France doing something unique and quite epic! My spirits soared when I heard the announcer and saw the finish area. I was thrilled to run down the carpet and cross the finish line! I celebrated the finish for this one! I raised my hands and even high-fived a spectator. I was truly elated to finish that race where so many things could have gone wrong but didn’t! The sweet lady who gave me my finishers medal told me I looked great after I told her that was the hardest 70.3, I’ve ever done! I’m pretty sure I looked like I finished one of my hardest races!

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Afterthoughts

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While I didn’t have my best race in Nice, France it was still an amazing day! While it would have been a better swim for me without a wetsuit, I still did well for my first-time racing in the sea. I felt very strong and confident riding 22 miles up a very long climb on the bike. I stayed safe on the crazy, long descent. And I managed a respectable run dealing with a high hamstring issue. The Mediterranean Sea was the most beautiful body of water I have ever swam. I got to race my bike in French Alps and run along the famous French Riviera. I am truly lucky and grateful for my “French adventure”.  Many thanks to everyone who made the day possible. Huge thank you to the volunteers. And I couldn’t have gotten to the race start with out my coach Lisa and Scott who is by far the best husband in the world!

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I must have been very tired as we slept in on Sunday but did manage to get out to watch a few of the male pros finish their run on Sunday. My legs weren’t terrible and my high hamstring survived the race. It was sore but not nearly as bad as I expected. Walking seemed to help it. Swimming in the sea also felt lovely and nice for my fatigued legs. I think the salt water helped a lot. On Monday we rented a car for the day and drove most of the bike race course. I wanted Scott to see what I raced on since it was absolutely insane and yet beautiful and breathtaking. He couldn’t believe that we all raced that course! It was scary driving it on many places! We also drove to Monte Carlo in Monaco for the afternoon. We didn’t stay long since there weren’t many cafes or places to eat and relax. Plus, we were very tired from the long drive around the course where stopped in a couple hill towns.

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Monte Carlo!

Tuesday it poured all day long! Luckily there were vendors selling umbrellas in the streets so we were good for walking around and enjoying a few glasses of wine. It turned out to be a very enjoyable day in spite of the weather. We talked to a friendly bartender from Syria who used to be an Accountant in his homeland with a big house and happy life. He told us how the war killed many of his friends, family and destroyed his home. He will eventually become a French resident. I will not forget him. We are very fortunate living in Vermont.

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Wednesday was our last full day in Nice. We treated ourselves to day passes at one of the beach venues that had comfy beach chairs with umbrellas and mattresses. That was so nice and relaxing. We also did a very lovely open water swim in the sea and enjoyed a lunch with nice views of the sea. It was decadent but I felt we deserved to be pampered for one afternoon. That evening we did a lot of walking around Old Nice which was so quaint and amazing. We were in search of some local art work that could easily fit into our luggage. And luckily, we found the perfect painting by a local artist! As we walked home to our apartment along the promenade, I felt sad to leave the next day. I also felt so lucky for another epic race experience in an exciting destination! Thank you, Universe!

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Strolling in Old Nice

 

Food and Beverage Report

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Being vegan and traveling to France sounds like it might be challenging. However, we did amazingly well in Nice! Looking on the Happycow website there were quite a few vegan, vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants. We got very lucky in booking an AirB&B that was a block away from a wonderful 100% vegan restaurant! This place was gold for us! The Copper Branch is a Canadian restaurant franchise. Most locations are in Canada with a few in the USA (Florida and NYC). We loved this place! It had healthy whole food options as well as comfort food such as mock chicken wings made of soy. Those were addicting and I’m not a huge consumer of mock meats. They served breakfast as well as lunch/dinner. And they even served local ice cream made with almond milk. We had that one night and it was amazing! We ate there at least once a day, sometimes twice since it was just a minute walk from our apartment. The service was efficient and the staff was young and friendly enough.

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There were several vegetarian restaurants in Old Nice but we never made it out that far for dinner. It would have been a 10-15-minute walk but we weren’t in Nice long enough. We did walk about 20 minutes in the rain to a small and cute boutique vegan café called Amour Patisserie Vegetale just north of Old Nice. This was a cozy café with a friendly staff. I wanted to love my meal but the scrambled tofu was made to mimic real eggs. They used some sort of sulfur flavoring and too much salt. I had to give it to Scott who did eat most of it. Everything on the menu was vegan, gluten-free and organic. We did take home 3 of the fancy looking pastries. These were raw-vegan desserts which tasted like the ones I used to make. They were yummy and very healthy at the same time. I would still recommend giving this place a try. I bet the waffles would have been good. Just don’t do the scrambled tofu especially if you never liked real eggs!

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On Wednesday we purchased day passes to Le Lido Plage that had a clearly marked vegan lunch option on their menu. There was even a lovely white wine that was labeled as vegan which we also ordered. Our meal was a tasty pasta dish with vegetables and pieces of tofu that took the place of cheese. This was a nice combination and we enjoyed our meal looking out at the Mediterranean Sea on the French Riviera. I was a happy girl!

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A block away from our AirB&B we found the Biocoop Nice which was a healthy food market with many vegan options and organic produce. It was a really nice market and we did 95% of our food shopping there. We found vegan yogurts, kombucha, tofu, mock meats (for our pasta), and plenty of non-dairy milk options. We even purchased a bottle of red wine that was marked vegan (not filtered with fish bladders of egg whites). The staff was friendly and we enjoyed shopping there.

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I wish we had more time to try the other restaurants that served vegan food. Having the Copper Branch so close made us a bit lazy in trying new places. But if we come back to Nice in the future, we will surely try the other restaurants. Thank you Nice for being so progressive!

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It is now officially off-season for me. At the moment, I’m currently rehabbing my sore high hamstring/tendon. This can be a long lasting and frustrating issue. But I found a good health practitioner who is helping me. I’m swimming and doing a little gravel riding on our dirt roads. I’ll get back to running very soon. I’m being very conservative at the moment since I want to make sure I’m 100% when I start up with training again for 2020. We are both signed up for Ironman Wales next September! I am so excited about that! It will be Ironman #5 and I’ll be 50 years old young!!

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Lots of exciting changes for 2020! Stay tuned! And thanks for stopping by!

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