Let’s be honest, I’m a triathlon trainaholic, I love pushing the limits of pain and I love coffee rides, but I have never been a race-every-weekend warrior. But why ? I don’t know if there is a bigger reason than another, but mainly I just don’t like planning and booking my life for the coming 6 months…
I’ve lived in Switzerland for few years now, and I am always like – wtf are you doing with your life – when I try to spontaneously organize an afterwork coffee or dinner! People seem to have a serious penchant for booking themselves for weeks ahead… where is the room for spontaneity, for freedom, for last-minute brainwaves and excitement?
But back into the subject (apologies, I was already getting lost in a bit of a rant) … I don’t race so much because you need to register months ahead… and I don’t want to be booked… except perhaps for a once-in-a lifetime experience… yeah, we all need exceptions from time to time.
I actually wish I raced more, because at the end of the day I train hard, I race for Strava KOMs and I kick my own backside to try and beat myself day after day… So why not toe a start line, show off from time to time, rip up a peloton, try to make a breakaway, a late attack, or throw out an elbow in a sprint finish?
That’s kind of how things came together and I ended up on the start line of La Tour Geneva Triathlon.
The Triathlon concept
I caught up with the girls from OC Sport in Lausanne earlier this year to discuss the Haute Route Alps – more about that soon – and they mentioned that I was also welcome to take part in the Geneva triathlon.
I thought it would be cool! Then I remembered that this year has been incredibly exciting and busy for me for various reasons and as a result swimming – that harsh, unforgiving, brutal aquatic sport I’m not very good at in the first place… – was the first activity to end up in the trash: a grand total of 10km of swim training over the last 4 months… Dammit, the first leg of the race could be a bit of an awkward moment… !
So he we are: 15th of July, I’m standing like an idiot on the beach with 200 other triathletes, all of us looking like stranded penguins in too-tight neoprene wetsuits.
Underneath mine is my old tri suit… Yeah, the one which is one size too big, because I was a bit fatter a few years ago – so now I look like Michelin-man who shrunk but didn’t get a new suit.
I’ll let you picture it.
The Triathlon Race
I’ve been put in the first wave, I have no idea why… But no time to think anymore, time we go ! Beeeeeeep the horn goes… baaam we hit the water, it’s washing machine time, you get an all-over, painful body massage for 1.5kms but hey it’s free! I make my way to the relative safety of the back of the pack… yeah I am leading from the back, yeah I got overtaken by a guy doing breaststroke BUT I don’t panic… There’s a bike course coming up, and my speed weapon is going to CRUSH THE CLOCK.
Here comes T1: Easy to spot my bike, the huge TT rocket is one of the last hanging on the rack. I’m pretty sure it grins at me, taking the piss “jeez mate that was a shitty slow swim”, then winking “get your skates on, let’s rock this course”!
Garmin is on – Strava prove it – I click down the gears; my 11 cog refuses join the party but that’s OK. I’m a cyclist and my legs can spin twice as fast as the average triathlete…
My Garmin gets into the game too: 44, 47, 51 km/h – here we go!
My bike and I tear round the five-lap, mainly flat course. The climb is a bitch, I would have been faster on my Foil roadbike but I’m speeding down the left of the road and leaving most other guys gasping for air on the right. I guess coming last out of the swim has its advantages, all I’m doing is overtaking.
Some friends are screaming along the course, the atmosphere is cool ! Awesome, I feel fast… dammit I am fast…
The 40 kilometres fit neatly into an hour as I roll into T2. Heyyyy looks I have plenty of space to rack my bike! Stay in race mode… Helmet off, runners on… Oh yeah running… I forgot that was part of a triathlon…
Still dealing with a toe injury, I try not to get too excited. I start off cruising at 4’/km pace… Easy, it’s super hot… I gulp some water and smile for the photographers, and all of a sudden the finish line appears… 25th ! A slightly longer-than-necessary swim, a funky bike and a reasonable run. Not so bad for a first this year, and SUPER FUN!
Next time, I promise, I’ll be back with 10 kilometres of swimming a week and a fixed foot! Stay tuned… the next one will be seriously serious !
Yes that does mean I might do another triathlon race soon…
Pictures from Emma BILHAM & Olivier BORGOGNON
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