This weekend on the grounds of the Chateau de Chantilly, 19 ExpaTRIés participated in 7 waves of 4 events over the course of 2 days.
45 hours of collective efforts included more than 22 km of swimming, 750 km of cycling and 170 km of running.
Paul was first into the 15.7° water in his Sprint Plus event. As it is a distance unique unto itself, it was his first attempt and so he clocked a personal best. We knew he was ready for a bigger challenge when he finished his event with a smile on his face and energy to spare.
Nils was next out wearing his second skin, with Maciej in the same wave. Nils performed well throughout, scoring his personal best in all three efforts. A memorable send-off for his last event in France.
Meanwhile back in the girls’ Sprint camp…everyone decided to make Owen their emergency contact. Upon learning of the water temperature, Celine declared that she preferred Mediterranean triathlons and began petitioning candidates for a week of Tri camp in Majorca. Clare began petitioning for a team tour bus with a ladies’ room.
Jo discovered first hand why the instructions on the anklet chip read – attach before applying lubricant. And newlywed Louise spontaneously declared that she was completely covered in lubricant. Hmmm…
The transition area was conveniently divided into Waves so the girls were able to put their things together. (See later comment on how convenient Bertrand found the transition area setup…)
Celine was halfway to the first buoy before the horn finished blasting – doing backstroke to save her face from the cold. However it was Jo who was out of the swim first from the team coming in 2nd overall! Moments later back in the transition area…Clare found Karen sitting down, drying her toes. Whoops. All the gear and no idea.
Jo first, followed closely by Louise and Celine, proceeded out on the cycle route through the Chantilly forest which began with a 500m dirt road with riding on the left in honor of the British organisers. The Sprint groups did one 22-ish km loop while Paul did two loops of the same route. A few rises in the road and two notable declines peppered a mostly flat country race course. The colder weather of the morning began to show promise.
The 4km run wound its way around the grounds of the castle. It included mostly grass pathways that ended back at the Grand Canal where it all started.
Louise was the fastest woman on the team. Maciej was fastest among the male set. He, Louise, Celine and Nils came in under the hour and a half mark with Jo, Clare and Karen close behind. It was Karen’s first open water event, and it was the first event at that particular distance for all, so the entire day was full of personal bests.
Sunday began early with Sean and Nicholas embarking upon the half-ironman event labeled, the Gauntlet. They glided into the Grand Canal at 8 am when the air temperature was so fresh that getting into the water felt like getting out of the cold. After a 1.9 km swim, they took off for two laps of the Olympic distance cycle route plus an additional 5 km loop. This parcours changed from last year including several challenging hills and turns in the road.
The run crossed the grounds of the castle through the forest and gardens.
Meanwhile, back at the water’s edge, 9 more ExpaTRIés prepared for take-off.
Bertrand, Kathryn, Clea, Ross and Ed were participating in their first ever Olympic distance event.
First wave up, Johnny came flying out of the water quickly and continued at the same speed through to the end. He arrived in with a significant lead on the men’s side of the team. He had previously participated in the event. He performed a personal best time in all three disciplines.
Owen came in second of the men for his brilliant farewell performance with the club – even though he resorted to breaststroke halfway through the swim (to give the rest of the competitors a chance we can only assume). In his 2nd Olympic event, after Beauvais in June, he brought home a personal best for the distance, bearing in mind that this course has an additional 4 km on the cycle portion.
Ross (who participated under a code name) came out of the water exhausted – so he said, though he looked completely refreshed to the spectators. He did a fabulous job on both the bike and run portions as well, coming in only seconds behind Owen.
Kathryn wasn’t quite sure if she was up to the ice bucket swim challenge before she set out, yet she came bounding back in and made three outstanding performances.
As a result of the cold, Penny’s wetsuit decided it wanted to come out on the ride with her so she had to tug with her hands already stuck in the sleeves and finally resort to asking a competitor for help. She participated in the event last year and came back with a personal best this weekend.
Cat met up with her in transition for a quick chat and bounded off on her way to finish first among the women on the team with an impressive time. She scored her personal best on this course with again the additional 4 km of cycle over a standard Olympic distance event.
Worth noting is that Kathryn, Penny and Cat were just back from a week at Tri camp with various muscle pains reminding them why their coach had suggested they skip Thursday’s running practice. As if that was going to happen…
Meanwhile, back in transition one…Bertrand was so impressed with the bike layout, that he decided to go up and down the lane seeing what everyone else was riding. After a thorough investigation, he decided to go with his own…when he finally found it!
Ed showed up at the end of the race with war wounds from a battle with a rock in the road. He promises to start meditating right after his trip to Amsterdam so he can begin riding “Zen” as soon as his next competition.
Clea braved a calf injury while taking off her wetsuit and continued on to complete the entire 44 km cycle!!! Amazing. The only reason she didn’t do the run is because she could not exactly walk. She invented her own event: the swim & bike. She came in first!
When he finally decided to rejoin the group back at the finish line, Sean ended up beating his previous half-ironman time by over 30 minutes attaining his goal time of under 5:40. He had about no energy to spare. Way to give it all for the cause.
Close on his heals was Nicholas who recovered major time during his run portion to finish only minutes later. He pulled out all of the stops to cross the line in 5:44. An incredible effort.
Two outstanding half ironmen. They’ll get back to us with the other half they owe us very soon. Sean says he will start training again immediately this week…or…well, he was speaking under duress.
Impressive performances by each and every one, and well deserved picnics afterwards;-)