Sines Portuguese Individual National Championships – Sines, PT – Olympic – May 21st 2017
Race reporter: Bruno
Why resting is part of training
3 weeks, 3 races… after a HIM, and a sprint it was the time for an Olympic race…. This time the race was the Portuguese individual national championship and took place in Sines, a village in the Atlantic coast between Lisbon and the south of Portugal.
Being organized on a Saturday it took place after lunch, an unusual situation for me as I do all my training early in the morning or later in the day. So the first question was what to eat and when… The second question was the weather. Forecasts indicated 30 degrees for the race time (16h) but bikes should be in transition at 14h.
So water, gels and other food would remain below a starring sun for at least 2.30 hours…. after some engineering both questions were solved before arriving Sines.
However a third one appeared after parking the car. When removing and assembling the bike I lost the rear shifts as the cable just broke… without any bike assistance in the zone and only with 30′ before the closure of the park the question was if I should I take part with the bike in such conditions.
The answer was easy, after making the 120km trip, with my family there to support me and having friends taking part in the race why not race? The max that could happen was an awful bike race and a worse run…. luckily I was able to move up the shifter a little bit up and I was praying it plus the front gears (36 and 52) would be sufficient to give me enough cadence and speed to catch a group of cyclists with a sustainable pace (drafting was allowed) and allow to manage the strong wind blowing at that time…
With around 170 participants, the swimming was relatively easy. Giving my low skills and not liking to be in the laundry machine I let everyone enter and I tried to find my rhythm. The 1.5km was composed of 2 laps in the bay (Atlantic fresh and clean water!) obliging us to get out the water and get in again…. good for the audience and photos but not so fun as it obliges to walk when you should be swimming… After 1.7km (I did again more meters than required) in 37′ I was happy when to get out of the water… first because I wasn’t feeling well, secondly because I finished it and third I was not the last one as at least 4 guys were behind me!!
When arriving to the transition finding the bike was easy…with a relative quick transition I entered the bike race and quickly realized how late I was. It took me at least 15/20′ to catch a group entering to the second lap (5 laps of 8km for 40km) when I was just in the first. It allowed me to realize as well that the 5 laps wouldn’t be an easy job. Keeping the pace was hard as the group had several differences of speed obliging it to change cadence and gears quite often… which I didn’t have… on top of that several changes of directions were imposed with 5 or 6 roundabouts. So the goal was to keep with the group the max that I could and then ride at my pace until other groups caught me and so on… in the end 1h09m for the 40km with an average speed of 34km which was not too bad at all…
Of course the run was awful. The 10km were composed of 4 laps of 2.5km but I was aware that things wouldn’t be easy. After the hard bike ride, the fatigue was huge. I knew that the bike was not the only reason, the HIM and the sprint done 2 and 1 week before were there. And maybe the marathon from early April as well… so the goal was to manage the best I could which I succeed in 43′ for the 10km putting me at 2h33m total. Not astonishing but better than my last 2 Olympic races, in spite of the different conditions especially on the bike as this one was much more flat (total of 200D+).
In the end I was happy with performance and again convinced that resting is key in training (being part of it) and that surprises can arrive when we don’t expect them (I tested the bike the day before…).
I can’t recommend the race as this is not a recurrent race. Indeed, as far as I understood, it was the first one organized in Sines after 10 years (the championship changes location every year) but I can recommend the area for holidays!
Next race will be in 4 weeks (sprint) as a preparation to the Paris triathlon. Hope to be able to learn to swim before then….