Ironman 70.3 World Championship Nice - Pacing Strategy

Hi, I’ll be racing the Ironman 70.3 World Championship race in 2 weeks (September 2019) and I wonder how I should adjust my pacing strategy for this unique course profile. The course has a major climb and a technically difficult descent in it and elevation adds up to >1300m.

I wonder what my strategy for pacing should be. In rolling hills terrain I would try to pace evenly and hold myself back on the climbs, but then use the momentum and try to hold my target power as well while descending. However, with a major climb and a major descent, I doubt that this would be working.

What could be a recommended % of FTP going uphill (let’s say I would target 80% on the flats)? Is power slightly below FTP (in sweet spot zone) acceptable knowing that I would stay well below my 80% target power on the winding roads going back down?

Any advice is highly recommended.

Hello! How did it go?
I am wondering too about pacing strategies for half/full distance triathlon. Standard advice is to keep 80-85% intensity with as low VI you can get, but as you say hills complicate things! Also when you take into account FOP/BOP dynamics, slingshot drafting etc. It would be nice to have some rules of thumb on how to play into actual race dynamics!

It actually went pretty well. I tried to stay below a certain threshold (which was around FTP plus a little buffer for the very steep sections) on that one big climb in the Nice 70.3 race. Overall, I got to a NP result that was in the ballpark of where I wanted to be.

That Nice bike course is pretty unique and I don’t think there are many similar courses out there. There was an initial flat section followed by a real climb up to a mountain pass followed by a long (and dangerous) descent down to a final flat part. Most other races I know of are either pan flat or rolling hills. While I was trying to shoot down from the top initially, I soon decided for myself that it’s not worth the risk going all out. Plus, while there was a rule that no one should cross the middle line of the road, many people did and the faster guys from the back often overtook in a pretty dangerous manner. There were also a few bad crashes that I saw and that didn’t really lift up my motivation to go faster downhill.

For rolling hills (which would apply to most races) I still think the best strategy is to hold yourself a bit back on the uphill and really try to keep the target power on the way down (instead of hammering on the uphills and recovering on the downhills). This smoother power profile will result in a faster overall speed and mean fewer “burnt matches”…

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