The IRONMAN World Championships in Nice, France, is an event that captures the hearts of both amateur enthusiasts and professional athletes alike. This picturesque coastal city plays host to one of the most prestigious triathlons in the world, attracting athletes, brands, and spectators from across the globe. In this blog we, Olly and Jamie, will share our first hand experience at this event from the perspectives of both a non-professional novice and a seasoned pro, shedding light on the unforgettable experiences and unique encounters that took place throughout the week.
Photos in the article are thanks to Benoit Cillard.
Olly: As someone not competing at a professional level and fairly new to the world of triathlon, the IRONMAN World Championships in Nice still offered me an incredible experience. Here are some key highlights from my perspective:
- Awesome Atmosphere: The event exuded an electrifying atmosphere, with excitement building throughout the week as athletes and fans gathered to celebrate their shared passion for triathlon. Nice, known for its beautiful Mediterranean climate and stunning views, provided a perfect backdrop for the championships.
- Expo Extravaganza: The Expo was a hub of activity, allowing me to meet and interact with various brands in the triathlon world. It was an excellent opportunity to gain insights and discover new products, as well as to meet ZONE3 customers and ambassadors face to face and hear their stories first hand. The Expo wasn't just about information; it offered free tasters, games, and even experience booths to test products and services, making the experience interactive and enjoyable.
- A Glimpse into the Athlete Lifestyle: Observing the daily routines of athletes and being able to try products such as various recovery methods and performance supplements, provided me with valuable insights into the commitment required for top-level performance.
- Engaging Podcasts: Two live podcasts by 'The Triathlon Hour' at the event proved to be captivating, even for someone like me who was initially unfamiliar with some of the subjects, showing the event's ability to entertain and inform was impressive.
- Inspiration to Train: I left the championships more inspired to train and diversify my workouts, having witnessed the dedication of the pros.
In conclusion, the IRONMAN World Championships in Nice left a lasting impression on me, and I would wholeheartedly recommend the event to others who are newer to the sport.
Jamie: As an elite athlete working at the IRONMAN World Championships in Nice, I had my own unique experiences. Here are some key insights from my perspective:
- Right Place Right Time: A real highlight of the trip was the extraordinary opportunities that arose from being in the heart of the action, such as a once in a lifetime opportunity cycling alongside Mark Cavendish and seeing Jan Frodeno walking along the beach!
- Triathlon Hour Podcast: Exclusive podcasts featuring top-level discussions allowed me to delve deeper into certain topics and gain valuable insights that I will take and implement into my own training. We also got to listen to the CEO’s of both IRONMAN and the PTO discuss the direction of the sport as a hole, giving us unique insight into how the sport will be developing over the next few years.
- Community stories: During a photoshoot on the beach by a friend in the industry: Benoit Cillard, there was a lovely encounter where 3 of the 4 people in the group next to us on the beach were wearing the ZONE3 Vanquish wetsuit, the 4th member had a wetsuit that was worn out, this was a significant moment for me as after a brief conversation I ended up lending him my suit for the race, and to see the positive impact this had on him really highlighted the community and solidarity within the triathlon world for me.
There was some down time before the flight home whilst the race was taking place, enough time for a quick 30k bike ride. 15k from home, I could see one of the athletes had punctured. I stopped and asked if he needed any help, sadly he had ripped through his last spare innertube and all his CO2 cannisters. I was able to put my spare inner tube into his tire, pop my second spare innertube into his saddle bag and gift my trusted minibike pump that I have used for the past 8 years. We managed to have a catchup on Instagram after the race and it's amazing to hear he executed a race he was proud of.
- The art of triathlon. Watching the IRONMAN World Championships playout in real time was a humbling experience, there are pro athletes and then there are the GOAT’s of our sport, these men have come close to mastering an impossible to master sport. Motivation is an understatement and watching Sam Laidlow execute his performance is fuel for the next 5 years of training for me.
The IRONMAN World Championships in Nice, viewed from both the eyes of an amateur and a professional, amplifies the magic of this event. Whether you're seeking inspiration for your personal fitness journey or eager to witness the top tiers of triathlon competition, Nice offers an unforgettable experience that transcends the world of IRONMAN. It's an event that showcases the dedication, passion, and camaraderie that make triathlon a truly exceptional sport.