I had now the time to reflect a little bit on the past 10 years of triathlon. It was a lot of training and dedication to get to this level of the Long Distance Format in the sport. For me, personally it never felt like a sacrifice. But if i take myself out of the bubble, for the close ones around me, it surely was a time where they had to make a lot of sacrifices.
My wife, my dad, my brother, my in laws, they have always supported me unconditionally. That is why i feel now is the time to step down from the Long Distance Format and the incredible training hours it requires on a weekly basis. I feel if i would continue then their unwavering support could turn into the exact opposite and i don’t want to do that. Besides, i have reached the highest highs in the Long Distance Game in Kona, and with outstanding performances worldwide over the past couple of years, capped off in 2020 with burners in IMNZ 8:41.00 in March before Covid, Slovakman 8.19.00 in August, and Austria Podersdorf LD triathlon in 8.08.00 in September.
I had the privilege to choose the moment i step down at my very best. And i am very thankful and grateful for that. I have left an extreme brutal sport, if done wrong, unscathed, in fact i am faster at 46 than i was when i started the sport at 35. my body feels and looks great due to consistent vegetarian nutrition, good sleep, meditation, pliability, balance and core training. I was lucky enough to have met Lubos Bilek 9 years ago and he has been my coach ever since. Lubos is the exact opposite of me and that is why we get along so well. He has an individual approach to each athlete and believe in the organic growth of basic endurance training fundamentals over a span of several years. He is not a ” Dictator ” coach that burns out athletes through the cookie cutter. He is very calm, collected and takes a highly scientific road that leads almost certainly to success, if you take a look at the athletes he has formed: Sebi Kienle, Ricarda Lisk, Svenja Bazlen, Andi Boecherer in the past, and now the new guns from Czech Republic Tomas Renc and Lukas Kocar, plus Pieter Heemeryck and world class Routinier Ruedi Wild. That speaks for itself.
Especially for this 2020 run of events, the seed was planted same day about 2 minutes after i finished the Kona race 2019, where i finished 9.00.00 on a hard day, 3rd in my AG, with the fastest marathon of all AG. I was not happy with the performance, especially on the swim, where i could not train for 10 weeks in the summer due to broken metacarpal due to my stupidity. i swam with 1 arm basically and i came out the water way late. also my bike power was missing. Surely, you have to take what you are dealt but i felt inside me that this was not my best performance. So i decided to up the ante and go into more details and i did that on a daily basis and that translated into much deeper performance, which was really satisfying for me. Back in March, just before COVID dropped on the world, i competed in IMNZ. very cool hard race with rough road surfaces and a very hilly run and i felt already very good there. COVID required all of us, i mean all of us, to modify our lives and in my particular case the training as well. I did not stop or quit or moan. long Zwift rides, indoor parking garage 30k runs, main living room workouts, dry swim sessions was the norm as we had very hard lockdown in Dubai for about a month, but my wife and i we had a good time and enjoyed it.
When lock down was over, the more specific prep started and the heat of May and June in Dubai is always a treat and makes you really fit. Training at 40c plus is great for your efficiency, when done right. so i got into really good shape.
Now a small other problem started: all the races i had planned got cancelled so i had to come up with alternatives. Since March i was actually thinking that with a pandemic there is no shot in hell that a US based company like IM is going ahead with races, same with Challenge. So i had to look at races which were great, but at the same time not held in urban areas, more like rural places. Slovakman and Podersdorf Long Distance fit that bill. These are established races, 17 and 33 years running in basically villages, so the probability of getting government approval is much higher if the protection concept is in place, which it was for both cases. So that gave me peace of mind and i could really pinpoint prepare for both races in my usual solitude and quietness. no comments. no tam tam. just train really really hard.
My wife was very supportive, my dad also in letting me prepare as i needed to be in peak form. I left for Switzerland and stay in my house in Pfaeffikon SZ on Lake Zuerich. it is a great location, as you have all the Alp passes in close proximity, 50m pools, great gyms, flat riding as well, great trails, good physio. i trained a lot with my friend Ruedi Wild, a world class triathlete who lives in the next village. We gave each other the beans lets say.
Commuting by air to the races was out, so i went by car which was easy and free flowing through Austria. Pietstany the location of Slovakman, is on a river, and relatively flat but always very windy. tough bike course and even tougher run course. i managed the race very well, was attentive at all times, and made the right decisions. I fought it out to the end with Tomas Renc, who pipped me just by a bit. But what is more important here is the fact that the race was properly organized with the right protection concept. And you can see that that was possible in these times. Plus this was the first race i ran with the Nike Alphaflys and they just rocked. so good.
i came back from the race and straight did a COVID test so that i knew i was not bringing anything home as my dad is in the high risk group. but regarding this COVID, i am always very responsible and forego any gatherings, handshakes, social going out and stuff. i think we as a society we are blessed with liberty and FOSpeech since 1789, we have been blessed with unstopped material wealth since the end of WW2, i think we have to be grateful and appreciative for these things and now during this time we should make sacrifices and take 2nd row in our individual needs.
Then as a surprise my wife visited me in Vienna and we spent a week there. Fucking amazing. I took no days off and trained again the day after Slovakman, albeit easy.
Once back in Swizzy, another block in August was up and i put it down very easily and my body felt great. no grain on the muscles really smooth.
Then Podersdorf came and i drove again straight through Austria close to the Hungarian border where the Lake Neusiedl and Podersdorf is. Very quaint little village, nothing going on really, great nature protection area. The Austria Triathlon organizer has had a very good protection concept by not allowing even spectators from the ouside. the finish area was sealed off. Podersdorf is a very flat swim, the lake is about 1.50m deep, which is surreal when you stand on your feet 2km from the shore. but very nice and clean water. we had a single TT start and i swan really well and come out near the front, which set me up well for the bike. which was very wind that day. it is even more exposed than Piestany as there are no woods there to keep the wind away. i had a very good day on the bike, as aerodynamics is very important on that course. i had 4.19.00 bike split on my trusted Cervelo P5, a very sleek bike that has been with me for a lot of great wins. the run as well was very windy on the way out, 4 loop course through the fields and vineyards. flat as well. i had a 2.49.00 marathon, same than in Piestany in the Alphaflys, a shoe made for Ironman since you feel less fatigue in the legs due to the mega cushioning. I just ran and did not think much as usual, just staying in the moment. When i got to the finish and i saw the time i was really happy for like 2 minutes. and then i forgot about it as usual.
Now Ironman racing is done. What is next for me? triathlon is part of my life, can’t be without it. I really like Ironman distance, but my love in triathlon belongs to 70.3 and Olympic non drafting distance racing, as it is purely about the athletic aspect. That is what i will do racingwise. I have some races in mind, so lets see what comes out of that.
also i feel like i have amassed a lot of knowledge in triathlon over the past 10 years and i would like to share that with the community. Instagram is a good tool for that find. moreover, i am putting together a way of helping advise people in triathlon, but not through traditional coaching, that is something i defo will not do. i shall keep you posted.
all in all i am very happy and proud and thankful to those that support me. Without you i would not have made it.
Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.
Olivier Jean-Nicolas Godart