I’m flying over the English Channel en route to Paris. This is the first of three return trips over the Channel to France this season and each occasion is for a significant event in my calendar.
First, the Paris Marathon this weekend. My first marathon of the season and a chance to see if my change in training strategy this year works over longer distances, as it has proven effective up to half marathon distance. With a racing season dotted with longer races, this marathon will be a personal test to see how I may fare later in the season as well as benchmarking me against previous years.
Second: the Ironman in Nice. This time last year this event was just a non-committal whisper. Now this behemoth event is so close I can translate every training session into a tangible benefit on race day. This is a relatively early Ironman in the season, so I shall forego some additional months’ training where I would have benefitted from the longer daylight hours to cycle and warmer water to swim outdoors. However, training essentially started a year ago when I first envisaged myself completing an Ironman, and it should stand me in grand shape for the second half of the summer season.
My final flight over the Channel shall be for l’etape du Tour in July. Out of the three events, this is the one that I have wanted to do for the longest time. To ride a course in France on closed roads against competitive cyclists, taking on serious mountains with technical descents, it’s the stuff of dreams! I’m hoping that my cycle training for the Ironman will pay off, plus it will will be great to be in France during the Tour, especially after following the tour through Yorkshire and down to London.
Apart from acting as pivotal points in this spring/summer’s racing season, these events are giving me a great excuse to re-familiarise myslf with parts of France that I have not visited in years as well as exploring places that are entirely new to me. Looking back at the coastal town lights on the coast of England under a darkening rainbow coloured sky, my mind is already focused on the first of my three French challenges ahead. Next stop, Paris!