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Ironman World Championship Nice 2023: Part 4

First bike workout post-Ironman UK and I killed it … but that’s not = to 13 miles of climbing. (Credit: David Roher)

47 days to go: July 25

I registered for Ironman World Championships Nice and now I had to solve four pressing issues:

  1. Could I reach the top of the 13 mile climb on the bike course in time?

My friend Shlomo Rosenzweig who is an engineer and avid cyclist said my plan “could work … in theory.” I wasn’t sure what was more frightening. The possibility that I would pedaling straight uphill for two and a half hours on 13 miles of roads or the fact that I would have to race down the other side of the mountain at 50 miles per hour to make that bike course cut off.

(Great, that doesn’t sound reassuring.)

It wasn’t, but Shlomo’s calculations were enough for me to compartmentalize my fears and move forward.

(Out of sight, out of mind.)

  1. Could I find a place to stay with fewer than seven weeks to go?

Forty seven days seems like a lot of time.

(Unless you are trying to book a hotel room at the Ironman World Championships for which athletes from around the world were flying.)

My wife Janet found a few nice hotels near the finish line.

(Sold out.)

Then my wife Janet found a few nice hotels “not so near” the finish line.

(Sold out.)

“Kids … we are going to camp on the beaches of the French Riviera. Doesn’t that sound romantic?”


I called the Ironman sponsored European travel agency that had helped me book the trip to the UK.

“Hi, I’m going to be in Nice in September for the Ironman World Championships. Do you have any rooms?”

“Let me look…”

I sat on hold, watching the clock in my car tick away.

The 2023 “act of God” that changed everything for me. (Credit: David Roher)

(You have an analog clock in your car?)

Fine! It’s digital. If the agent didn’t have any rooms left, we would have problems like just how far away I would have to stay to be able to compete. Nice is not a big city, so who knows just how far…

“I have rooms…”

(I started breathing again.)

  1. Could I get ready for an Ironman triathlon, with a 13 mile climb into the mountains, in 47 days?

(How does one train for such a thing?)

I was now three weeks post Ironman UK, so my body was rested. I could resume training and I must have retained some of the fitness I developed for Ironman UK, but where would I start???

In 12 years of Ironman training, I had never been in a situation like this before. I didn’t even know if it was possible to get back to the peak of performance in 47 days. Every year I train from December to July to prepare for an Ironman triathlon. That’s a seven month process.

(Could you condense a 210 days training into 47 days?)

Swimming would be the easiest, running the most difficult and I still had no idea how I was going to train to climb a 13-mile-long mountain.

  1. What was I going to do about Ironman Mont-Tremblant Canada? I was also scheduled for that race.

(Do both of them!)

NO! Ironman Mont-Tremblant Canada was three weeks before Ironman World Championships Nice. I did not want to arrive in Nice, still exhausted from a previous Ironman … and I couldn’t afford to take three weeks off from hill training for those 13 miles that still haunted my dreams at night.



(Defer your entry until next year.)

We were lfewer than four weeks from Ironman Mont-Tremblant Canada. Our flight and hotel were charged and I didn’t think we could get a refund.





(You didn’t want to drive to Montreal, Canada?)

First of all, Mont-Tremblant is 90 minutes north of Montreal.

(And second?)

That makes the drive over 10 hours long.


Would you like to be stuck in a car with me for 10 hours?

(Point taken. So, what did you do about the race?)

An act of God intervened for me.

David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6. He can be reached at [email protected].

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