HIM “Challenge” Lisbon / 6 May 2017
A traditional event in the Portuguese triathlon calendar, being the first time organized within the “Challenge” label. A good organization, slightly better than last year namely in the delivery of the dorsals, bags drop-off and the after race.
The event lasts 2 days, with several races being organized. Main races are an Olympic (called battle of sexes as ladies start first and men after having the latter the main goal to catch the ladies) and a HIM distance, both on Sunday. This time the HIM started first allowing the participation of more participants in the race course and an earlier end.
It was my second participation in this event, both in the HIM mode, being this race is quite special for me as it is organized at “my door”. A lot of friends and my Portuguese triathlon team took part in it and this was my first triathlon race ever (yes I start in triathlon in a HIM event without any experience and after 6 months of classes to learn how to swim…).
After a storm day in 2016, this year we had a summer day. At 7:35 the water temperature was at 18 degrees and 15 outside but at 13 o’clock we had 28 degrees and as consequence I got a new red tan… (Lisbon weather is not the Paris one).
The race went better than forecasted, being the swimming part the worst. A slow start as usual, being passed by several participants from age groups that started after mine… I really felt the “laundry machine” effect but at least I always had someone to help navigating in the water (even though we swam in a closed dock and without waves I needed help…). Total of 2.1km (I always swim more than what I need…) taking 44m (less 7m than last year).
A fast and flat bike course with 4 laps of 22km. Major difficulties are a climb of 1km in the turnaround and the cross winds always existing in one of the directions as we ride in a road next to the Tejo river outside Lisbon and without any protection against winds… Here the question is always how much we should push ourselves as we still need to manage 21 km after… Anyway a total of 2h40m to make the 90Km.
The run segment changed vs the previous year and it was for the better. It was composed of 4 laps still next to the Tejo River in a beautiful area with tourists, people walking, green areas, etc… meaning we always had someone supporting us. The worst is passing in front of a restaurant area where people are eating and food smell is painful for those running…. The start was made with a good pace and during the first 2 laps I even helped the elite lady ending in 5th position. As a consequence the last 2 laps where made at a slower pace to be sure I could finish and at the same time I tried to manage the heat.
Total of 5:03:54 showing that sub-5 is now the goal for 2018 (May 13th).
A good event for Expatries team members. The race is well organized, swimming doesn’t present major issues or difficulties, bike course is flat (700D+) and fast, being made a in a large and good route and the run is also flat and inside the “city” with people supporting the athletes all the time. On top of that flights (if booked early), hotels and food are not expensive and by definition weather is good at this time of!!
Next challenge is Verneuil team sprint with Expatries – César, Luca, James and Gauthier – hope I can recover before then…!