Triathlon de Chateau de Chantilly – 29 August 2015 – Super Sprint
by Evelyne Ferraris
For my first foray into the world of triathlon, I decided to sign up for the Super Sprint (400m/20km/4km) course at Chantilly. Since I spent more time and energy registering for the race and buying the necessary equipment, rather than actually training for it, my goal was just to finish this thing through sheer bravado and dumb determination.
I arrived almost three hours early as the sun was rising behind the castle and was one of the first people to set up on the racks. I put my wetsuit on a full hour in advance to try and stave off the cold and went to see what was in store for me as the Condé athletes set off.
There were no pre-race jitters as Karen and I painfully hobbled over the pebbles to make our way down to the sulfur-smelling lake, joining Hilary and Laura in the female-only swim start. Setting off for the swim in front crawl, I immediately decided to shift down a gear and go most of the way in breaststroke to spare my energy. This turned out to be a successful strategy for dodging the woman zig-zagging in back crawl ahead of me and all the other errant swimmers who dared to get in my path.
At T1 my fears of wrestling with my wetsuit were unfounded as the thing just glided off, aided by whatever substances were in that murky water. However, the next few minutes exiting the castle grounds through the gravel dirt road were interminable as I cursed my saddle and prayed for the stones to have mercy on my tires, as I suddenly realized that I’d left my bike pump neatly laid out on the mat in the transition area.
I had done a 40km bike ride around Chantilly with the group the weekend before, so the 20km course was very familiar and just breezed by as I stuck to a steady pace, occasionally breaking it to catch up and overtake whomever I’d spot with a worse bike than mine.
The 4K run through the back trails and park was probably the most serene way I’ve ever ended a race. Despite the fact that I couldn’t actually see the finish line hidden behind the tent and didn’t get to end on a sprint finish, I was just happy to have reached my goal of clocking in at a (hopefully) respectable time. I finished in 1:35 (position 262/456 overall, 49/97 in my category). My untrained muscles were definitely fresh for the race and I haven’t felt a twinge since then, so I think I can chalk this one up as a success!
After the race we were all treated to a lovely picnic with a view of the castle by the rest of the ExpaTRIes team who came out to support. All in all, the location, organization, and fellow competitors for this race will make it a hard act to follow, but I’m already scouring the triathlon calendars looking for my next one!t