My first Triathlon by Guillaume Donetti
Here is a little story about my first triathlon ever that I did at Enghien the 22nd of May 2016. I hope this is not completely boring and you guys enjoy it. Triathlon was a challenge I gave myself almost a year ago: to finish an Olympic distance triathlon for my 25th birthday. It was a challenge as I had never really practiced swimming and biking before. I started training as regularly as I could and looked for a race nearby Paris I could register in. After reading a lot of positive reactions on forums about Enghien, I waited for the opening of the registrations and signed in the same day they opened. The day after, it was sold out and I felt kind of lucky. But I did not know much about the race and I did not really pay much attention to the main difficulty of the race: the sharp hill of the biking part! Weeks passed and I felt more and more anxious as I gathered information which did not really reassured me: the water was said to be horrible and the hill pretty difficult to climb (1.4km long with 7% average and a part at almost 13% from what I read), but I did not care, I signed in and I would continue and complete my challenge.
Race day! And for once, weather forecast was accurate: it was cloudy and rainy, as expected. Arriving pretty early at Enghien was a good thing as the first difficulty of the day was to be able to park the car somewhere, anywhere! The tension was at its climax waiting to store the gear in the transition area, but as soon as the gear was dropped and the wetsuit up, the adrenaline was back! A last bit of energy snacks and everyone goes to the lake for the start at 1PM.
The water was pretty warm, almost 18°C as the staff said, and more green than blue as expected. One had to be careful not to drink any of the water in order not to feel dizzy. What the hell was I doing here to swim in that water? I started with the last guys, in order not to get into the “washing machine” with the better swimmers, and just tried to swim at a normal pace, staying calm and regular. Nevertheless, the “fight” when turning around the buoys was inevitable, kicking and being kicked. I could not manage to have a clear freestyle and I had to slow down a few times to find my way to the next buoy and start swimming regularly again. It was the first time I was swimming 1500m without a break and I really felt that the wetsuit help a lot. A last sprint to catch the exit, having some difficulties to get up and run a bit, but I noticed that the rain was definitely going to play a role in this afternoon. I exited the water after almost 36 minutes which was a good time for me, as I am a bad swimmer, for two reasons. First, it was under the 50 minutes limit meaning disqualification. And second, after spending around 3 minutes in transition, I took my bike and realize I had an extra 10 minutes to complete the biking part and its hill to climb three times.
I started easy to get my muscles working and tried a bit to go on the aero-bars, but it turns out that was not the best option for me with the slippy roads and the different streets one had to take. After around 8 km, I arrived to the first climb and the pace went down drastically. What the hell was I doing here? Some people cheering us under the water were an extra-energy! And after the 1.4km climb up, the best part was of course the journey down to the hill again, and a speed of almost 55 km/h! The first loop was made with envy, the second with motivation, and the third with pain. Many people just put foot on the ground… After the last climb, I remembered the advice I had and went easy on the bike to keep some energy for the run. I finished in almost 1h34min, for a total of 2h13min, which was good news for me again as I was under the 2h30min limit and could continue.
The run around the lake was flat but the rain had doubled and one thing was for sure: running with wet shoes is far from enjoyable, especially for the first ten minutes after the bike. What the hell was I doing here? The two loops run went pretty good and I finished in 47min for a total time of 3h00’18”. It was a deception not to be able to break the 3h barrier, but that was not the most important as I found an answer to the question I was asking myself during the race: what was I doing here? I had FUN !!