Paris Triathlon – 5 July 2015 – Olympic Distance Relay
by Wippy Wipada
Cycling 40K for a relay team of the Triathlon de Paris competition 2015:
A team, training, building team spirit, cheering each other on a race day and post race…
Forming our team was not a piece of cake as I am new to this distance but it’s a good discovery to be familiar with : swim 1.5k / bike 40k / run 10k!
Luckily Marie posted on the meet up that she was willing to do a 1.5k swimming part. Having said that right now I am still a crappy swimmer so it’s for the moment, a dream to finish the Triathlon de Paris or any M distance Triathlon as by myself is still far to reach.
Cycling 40k, I am a Triathlete newbie so It’s a challenge already.
Initially, I was also going to do the running part, then thankfully Rajah, a great runner accepted to join the team.
It is a fantastic way to experience such a race in a relay. After all, we are three together as we trust each other that the person is good at and happy with their element, especially willing to do a race in a relay – Marie to swim, Wippy to bike and Rajah to run.
As for me, taking part in a race that counts the most. It’s great to be able to think in a very innocent way like a kid, to enjoy a race, possibly want to win but more importantly to lift out of my head the competitive goal and achieve my personal best. Somehow as a team member of relay, then we all had to discuss about our direction.
For Rajah and me, this is the first season of our Triathlon experience so we aimed to enjoy and do the best we could. We all kept telling each other to take it easy. However, my determination was there, I went cycling as often as I could, at least 3 or 4 times a week as I didn’t want to let my team mates down.
Training together would not be possible if we came from a different discipline. Since we all are triathletes the opportunity of preparing for other upcoming Triathlon competitions allowed us to train together, go cycling together.
We were unable to go together to get our bibs as work schedules didn’t allow us to do so. As only one team member needs to collect them, I did it.
The day before race day we had to travel to Choisy-Le-Roi where the swimming and cycling departure took place. The running departure was located in the Champs de Mars next to the Eiffel Tower. We went there to leave my bike at the bike park as suggested by the organizer, checking out the huge bike park, the lake, figuring out how things would work. As a relay, we didn’t need to get things organized in advance for the T1-T2-T3 in the black / orange / blue bags. We would just bring our own stuff then our team member could take care of it then bring it to us later.
A common goal : no stress, keep calm and go! The only thing that three of us discussed before our race which could have put a pressure on us but great to do so is to set a goal that we must reach, should reach, want to reach, wish to achieve…
D-Day the 5th of July
A relaxing way to start is to always get there as early as possible. Many in the big Expatriés family took the same RER together as Nick organized it which was cool. Rajah my running lady traveled to Choisy-Le-Roi, which the organizers didn’t recommend. Nick and everyone including me opposing the idea of coming with us rather than waiting for me to start her run in Paris. It’s a risk and challenging whether Rajah would take the RER back on time before me. Suspense …
Three of us and many Expatriés team members, boys & girls, were there together before starting, we were cheering each other on. With the team, we were comforting each other which was light & relaxing to have a kind comprehension and stress-free mind set to accompany a race. Participating in a race itself could have made anyone nervous. This made me relax. We have made the right decision to be the team : Rajah and Marie are two coolest training & racing ladies as a relay team and they are in a good humor to be around.
Marie went to the start line on the other side of the lake while I was waiting for Marie at the a huge bike park of more than 3000 bikes. It was pretty easy for her to find me as she came to see where my bike was before the start of the race.
While cycling, I wondered if I would find Rajah easily. The worst would be to not to be able to find Rajah as my front wheel started to make some cranking noises and I knew something was wrong. I didn’t know what was wrong and I didn’t want to waste my time to stop as I am not mechanically good yet. I prefer to continue like that while focusing on a nice view along the Seine river and the beauty of Paris. I was riding through the most visited city on Earth. It was nice to have so many people cheering along the way 🙂 Staying positive!
Climbing back to the road level after a tunnel in Paris was the hardest part as I put in more efforts than usual. Sometimes I asked myself why I was doing this crazy thing as I could just say that my bike was not ok, sorry girls!! Along the way, nice Louise then Catherine passed me while cheering me on. My fighting spirit was there but my bike was not cooperating with my will. Almost arriving at the Eiffel Tower, adorable Marie-Anne offered me help but I didn’t want to make everyone waste time on me.
Thank you so much. My good will said to me in my thoughts through this struggle, as a team member in a relay, I didn’t want to let my team down. For this, probably my training paid off as I did continue peddling consistently the whole time on my two wheels and my feet didn’t even touch the ground once. I continued spinning through the end. The relay team bike transition area was separated from the rest of the bike transition area. After parking my bike and leaving my helmet with my cycling shoes, I ran in bear feet (as I never wear socks while cycling).
At the end of the bike park area, I saw smiling Rajah. I sprinted and passed one lady to give Rajah the bracelet to carry on her 10K run to the finish line. Marie came to see me with all my belonging which was only a small bag with my running shoes then we went to wait for Rajah 50 metres before the finish line. I was delighted to spot still smiling Rajah about 50 metres away, then when she arrived to the spot, Marie and I ran by her side to go through the finish line together.
After my race, another good surprise was that they gave us all an individual medal with a nice small Eiffel Tower shape as a souvenir at the finish line while some other races give only the Golden, Silver and Bronze medals for the top winners.
The finish line was located at Stade Emilie-Antoine. Rajah and I went to get some water and fruit. I enjoyed savoring a juicy water melon in the hot weather but there were also bananas, cakes, some dried fruits, nuts, ham, cheese, bread etc. I saw many people rushed to get a green drink and I wanted to have some as I have never seen it at any races. I went to get a glass but I didn’t like it at all as it smelled like toothpaste. I got some orange juice and water, then I headed back to collect my bike at the bike park near the Eiffel Tower so that I could take a selfie with the medal and the Eiffel Tower background.
A moment with myself, I was with my thoughts flashing back to the moment when I was wondering about what happened to my bike. I should never blame anyone and I would better take my own responsibility so I didn’t inform the organizer about it as its minor problem.
I remembered about 5K, I ran into a small but very high road bump with a certain speed, this possibly caused my brake to stick my front wheel. Before getting there, no one would have shouted or informed me about this road bump while I noticed many water bottles scattered around and there was some crashes earlier.
Along the way, I spotted at least 5 guys changing an inner tube along the road. I saw some walking with the bike and noticed some broken bikes along the way while I was cycling through. Grateful I didn’t have to face this and be able to finish my part in one piece with no injuries! Moreover, later on, I found out that I was not the last to arrive on my bike even though my brake stuck my front wheel and I had to push twice as hard. Hugo helped me after a race to discover what the problem was and how to avoid or prevent it or fix it myself the next time.
Personally, deep down in our spirit, bearing in mind that we gave it all we could to try our best during our race, the result was that Marie largely reached what she wanted and forever amazing runner Rajah got there where she should (even during her fasting Ramadan period).
I am the only one who only came up with only a must do to the problem with my bike. We can always learn from a mistake in order to not repeat it and particularly from now on focus on a proper training to get better: “practice makes perfection”
Living by myself for many years in Paris, no family, no friends, no romantic French lover to come around, no worry!! The great thing about being a member of the Expatriés team is that we are always surrounded by wonderful people to train with, accompany you to a race, to cheer you up during a race and to share with you a friendly heart-warming festivity after a race like a fantastic picnic with good laughs that we enjoyed together with the chilled champagnes and some lovely food with a view of Eiffel Tower, the most romantic city in the world ” la vie est belle” unforgettably!
I could never thank you enough to Nick, our El Presidente, my relay team, everyone for continual supports & precious advice. Also some others girls & boys who came around to cheer and especially Karen who carried all the Champagne bottles with her magical caddy to enjoy this celebratory moment with us all together, another memorable day.
Sport is fun with the Expatriés team and becomes the greatest fun with such great energy from every each team member!
P.S. Thank you again sweet Karen! Also I saw her cleaning the picnic spot before leaving, making many round trips to throw all the garbage in a bin, our extraordinary Karen. I did help a bit but she was faster than me.