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Antoine J. Desroches: What I learned at Ironman 70.3 Mallorca

Photo courtesy of Antoine J. Desroches
Photo courtesy of Antoine J. Desroches

Last weekend I raced Ironman 70.3 Mallorca, which was my first race in Europe. I was confident in my ability to perform well after a strong result at Ironman 70.3 Texas a few weeks prior and some solid workouts after.

However on race day I made some rookie mistakes.

Some say that after a bad race you should only look forward. However, I believe that it’s important to analyze your performance to learn from your mistakes. Here, I share the lessons I learned from my race.

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Know your equipment 

I let a local bike shop change my tubulars the day before the race. I decided to change my tubulars because it was supposed to rain a lot during the race and we had to go down a long downhill. I’ll admit, I don’t know how to change my own tublulars. This is something I need to learn soon. The shop installed slow tubulars meant for training, not racing but at the time because I didn’t know anything about tubulars (well, let’s be honest, about bike mechanics in general) I didn’t know that they were bad tubulars.

Double check everything

I did not double check my brakes before the race. When the bike shop changed my tubulars, they also adjusted my brakes and every time I stood on my bike the brakes were rubbing on my wheel. Hearing your brakes rubbing is probably the worst thing during a race, especially during a 10 km long climb.

Come prepared for the weather

It was rainy and really cold during the race and I was frozen during most of the bike ride, especially during the long downhill. A lot of the pros decided to drop out because of the weather. I considered dropping out many times when I had difficulty breaking because my hands were so frozen. I should have been more prepared and put on either sleeves or a jacket with gloves in the transition, even though it would have taken some extra time in T1. Check out Melanie McQuaid’s tips for racing in cold weather.

Photo courtesy of Antoine J. Desroches
Photo courtesy of Antoine J. Desroches

One bad leg doesn’t make for an entirely bad race

You won’t perform a single leg of the race as well as you could have. I think that what truly matters is how you are able to run after having difficulties in the first parts of the triathlon. It’s easy to DNF but I believe that you unless you are injured or at risk of injury, you should stay in the race. Consider it a training run for next time and build your mental toughness.

I had a poor ride and came off the bike far from the leaders. I knew that I wasn’t going to finish in the top 10 as I wanted but at least I could give everything I had on the run and finish with satisfaction for working as hard as I could.