Ladies first…Aurelie’s tale:
Belfort long distance triathlon is my first Half Ironman , well nearly “Half Ironman” as it’s not standard distances, with 1.9km swim, 87km bike, 20km run.
The triathlon event is around the Malsaucy Lake which is also a natural park near Belfort. Distance L, M, S, trikids, are held in the same weekend.
The staff run it like pros, they welcomed the world long distance championships 2 years ago and we can still feel it, through their equipment that makes the transition “special” and the Marshall’s excessive regulatory attitude.
We were 530 participants for the L format.
As a race debrief and to illustrate how I felt, I will share with you the main thoughts I had along the race.
“START …. OMG, are they all very good swimmers ? And why have I the feeling to fight like in a Game of Thrones battle? It’s been too long since my last open water triathlon in France (indeed, in 2008) I forgot how the first swim part was”
“I should have listened to Nick my wetsuit is f****** wonderfully useless for the floating effect”
Australian Exit after 950mt : “now we can start to swim properly”
31.48 min for this first part.
After the transition in a special transition area, apart from the bike park, let’s go for the successions of bumps before the big one, aka Le Ballon D’Alsace.
To be true I was clearly not confident in my capacities for the bike part :
“Ok if I get to the end of the bike, I get to the end of the race”
20k : “Woohoo, how many bumps will we get before attacking the Ballon? I should have trained more ….”
50k : “Now serious things start, 10k ahead climbing and I’ll be on the top. I should have trained more ….”
58k : “Phouuuuu since I started to climb up the Ballon, I stick to a speed of 10k/hour… My legs, my back hurt me, but I have other competitors on my side suffering as well. I should have trained more 🙂 “
61 until 87k : “let’s ride dooooown !” Few bumps but nothing compared to before.
3h26 later, I get to the bike park with a big smile on my face : “Yepee!! I’m gonna finish this race!!!”
3 loops around the lake with a lot of people and staff cheering you.
1st loop “Let’s go, let’s go, I feel well, I’m nearly finished!”
2.5km, Alexandre ran by me (he already overpassed me in the bike portion) running brilliantly well for his second loop.
2nd loop “ok finally it might take a little more to finish, let’s focus on my run, try to lift up these f***** elbows and legs of mine”
3rd loop : I overpass a woman in the bump and cheer her, we talk a little and decide to catch up to two other women ahead, then I let her go, I just don’t feel I can push more. I’ve got a persistent headache.
17k : I catch a guy walking, cheer him “Come on, keep up, we’re nearly finished !” He sticks with me, then wants to stop again and I keep on cheering him saying all the things I would like to hear in this moment to lift me up “come on, give everything to regret nothing. So then tonight you will celebrate your performance!” We finish together, and with my kids and nephews to cross the line. Just a perfect moment.
5h52 for myself and a smashing 5h06 for Alexandre !
The day after I took part to the S format in relay for the swim. We signed up two family teams. Our team did 1st on the podium and the other 3rd !
If you want to take part to this event next year here few positive points among others:
– not too far from Paris and quite convenient to get there if you are ready to rent a car when arriving, otherwise you need to cycle to Malsaucy (10k)
– Malsaucy is a nice area when the sun gets there. Well known for the “eurockeennes” music festival held every year in July.
– a professional organization, a lot of staff all over the race, roads well secured.
– a great atmosphere, two very efficient and fun speakers to set the right mood.
– the French Photographer Thierry Sourbier covers the event !
– cost : I think it is one of the less expensive long distance triathlon , certainly because it has no 70.3 label
And now Alex fills in the story from his side…
Aurelie, so humble… You forgot to mention that you finished 5th of your category and 3rd lady out of the water! There were not only good swimmers last Saturday but you were clearly among the happy few. When we crossed, you always show your smiling face also witnessed by Thierry Sourlier :
For me, the Triathlon of Belfort is a very good deal: easy access (for a non-Paris event…), great scenery, good organisation and reasonable entry fees. My race was executed as part of my training for Nice and the music played without too many mistakes.
The swim section was probably the hardest with some navigation weaknesses. Thankfully, the little orange boat intervened to put me back on track before I could reach the wrong shore…
T1 proved how difficult it was to put on my biking gloves with wet hands… During the first miles on the bike, my leg muscles had not entirely recovered from the long run (35k) and ride (150k) the previous week end. So I tried to keep a sustainable rhythm while enjoying the magnificent scenery around. When the climb of the Ballon d’Alsace showed up, I was a bit (unpleasantly) surprised by the degree of the slope and struggled to maintain my cadence above 70 with my 25-teeth cassette in the back. To ease the pain, as Aurelie, I switched from a sitting to a standing position. Once on top, it’s a nice and fast downhill section for almost 15k, allowing you to gently improve your average speed. Taking things (too…) easy on T2, I almost forgot about my clips and just missed falling in front of the referee…
The run section is very similar to the one in Cergy, with a series of loops around the lake and a nice little climb – not so nice for your legs though. On my 2nd loop, I came across Aurelie standing good and proud.
I crossed the finish line with 6 minutes more than my objective which might have been too optimistic considering the profile of the race. Anyway, I could definitely take some lessons from this race, notably with respect to the fueling management, transitions and about my swim navigation issues. I might check on my Garmin whether I could set up an alarm when I am getting (that) lost… If you want to have a glimpse of this great event, check the pictures of Thierry Sourbier here.