Boucles de Seine

Nick, (Vincent), Jamie, Sean, Richard, Kristine, Thomas, Ross, Suzie, Shannon, Paul G

James and Nick were the first to arrive at the Moisson Base de Loisirs, which was surprising as they had both cycled from Paris – a decision which they had both agreed was the right one when they met at 9am at the usual Grande Cascade meeting point, as there was hardly a cloud in the sky and it was going to be a beautiful day.

When the Yarsley / Feddersen clan arrived, base camp was set up just outside of the restaurant, strategically (although we didn’t know it) in front of a very well cleaned full length window, into which we saw at least 3 people walk straight into (one carrying a tray of lunch !) After holding back much hilarity, we went to pick up the dossards, which, at a push, I could have probably printed out at home – no chip, no T shirt but also no fuss.

The french contingent Thomas and Vincent randomly turned up (they hadn’t signed up) as did the youngsters Sean and Jamie, scampering around causing trouble, then came Ross for his first competition just like Shannon and finally Paul G, who is becoming a real veteren now, and is getting so blazé about it all that he didn’t even bother bringing a race belt, or bike shoes !!

This was probably THE best ‘first triathlon’ as the referees didn’t give you too much hassle to get into and out of transition, we were all allowed to set-up where we liked – so we all got to be together, lots of time to relax, nice and warm, then a gentle meander semi-wetsuitted down to the clean sandy lake edge, which was the perfect temperature.

But the serenity didn’t last for long as the horn sounded and the 400 competitors dashed into the water, straight out to the first buoy. As it was Ross’ first competition he was a little hesitant on getting into the water, but a hearty shove from nick saw him crash face first into the water, he came up breathing so all was good. Shannon, normally a good swimmer seemed to forget how to swim for the first few hundred meters, but round the first buoy and things evened out again, and everyone swam well.

Nick was the first out of the water, not sure who was next, but Jamie was not, he was almost last out, but then in true Jamie (or in fact it seems Veteran Male category) style proceeded to pick off all those in front of him, one by one on the bike course…. which was easy – the ride felt like it was constantly downhill, only 18km as well so it was a real test to see if you could go hard, and keep the speed up until the end, for all except for Paul G, who having swum well, got 250m on his bike before his chain snapped and it was race over – but he could be happy for 2 things, he wasn’t far when it happened, and the weather was nice !

Onto the run, and as expected not much shade, nick had heard someone cheering for the 3rd place girl so knew he was doing surprisingly well, but as usual started off on the run way too quick and by 4km was really feeling it, especially as there was a little hill to climb – the end couldn’t come quick enough. Jamie as usual was charging round and after 2km caught up Sean who up until that moment was in 2nd place, Jamies eyes then moved onto nick to take first place, however by then nick had already finished 10 minutes in front.

Thomas was doing well until the run, when the decision not to wear socks caught up with him and painful blisters forced him to remove his shoes while running, something highly unadvisable on rough terrain. Having finished the swim well Rich was getting more and more tired but he battled round, as only he can – little did he know that his ‘ever young’ wife was gaining ground on him, however he crossed the line comfortably ahead of her by 2 minutes.

We hadn’t heard much from Suzie, Ross or Shannon – Ross was on his ‘city bike’ so the ride was going to be slow ‘You must be a good swimmer’ was the kindest comment he heard as yet another competitor past him. The girls ploughed on – reat determination from both of them, then the run, only 5km which seems so easy on paper but after the swim and bike a real test of their strength, and they all made it round well.

At the finish everyone re-grouped down in the lake for a cooling off paddle, joined by James – the days official photographer and Kristine’s girls – the official ‘scream at you in transition and run the last 10m with you’ crew – the cans of tonic water (!) were handed out, and everyone basked in the sun – a job well done……

….well nearly well done, James and Nick then had the unenviable task of cycling the 75km home, although they were accompanied for the first 20km by Thomas and Vincent who introduced them to the wonder suburbian life of Mantes la Jolie, and helped negotiate the house fire and motorbike stunt men they saw on the way. The ride home although having to go through a couple of commercial estates is actually quite nice and more than anything – some great training ;-)