Climbing some walls at Carcassonne triathlon!

Triathlon de Carcassonne – 20 mai 2018 (M)

Race Reporter: Patrick

I went this time as far as Carcassonne because a friend of mine from the region decided to start his triathlon adventure with a Sprint distance while I registered for the Olympic one. A good occasion to share good moments together. The first of many I hope!! The triathlon spirit seems to have grabbed him..

The location is superb, starting on the side of the lake Cavayère. The swim was nice in a 17 degrees water – A real pleasure! I did my PB in 29:30 mins but it could have all started in catastrophe if Marianne would not have indicated me, 10 seconds before the start, that I still had my googles on the front head.. Lol !! That would have been quite a surprise with the pack rolling over me while I would be searching for them.. Thank you! :p

Then, the race continued with a ride in the country side with narrow roads that were not closed to traffic. Some downhill sections were dangerous and not well indicated with some gravel.. Sometime some cars taking two thirds of the roads were coming up with blinking lights.. 😮 !! Not great really.. I saw 2 crashes on the side road, and heard about a third one. Well, despite this negative side of the story, the ride was beautiful. Such nice views, one overlooking the castle was a highlight ! Overall there were 3 climbs at 5-8% gradient, with a total of 14 km long. I felt very good, certainly due to all the pasta eaten for the last 3 days ;), and I passed quite a few cyclists on the hills. That’s a good feeling I experienced for the first time!

Then came the run.. 2 laps of 5 km around the lake. I started it with some fatigue as I got a strong back pain for the last 5 km of the ride. My goal was to do the 10 km in less than 50 mins for the first time in my triathlons. Well.. my optimism collapsed when I got confronted to the series of walls – literally walls for me (10 to 50 m long with gradient higher than 10%) – along the way. They broke my legs, but mainly my mental strength. Many runners were walking up them, I got through with little steps and arms down to keep my HR low.. the truth is I did not enjoy them!! It shows the importance of the preparation. I knew the cycling path but I forgot to do a proper research on the running one. It is better to know in advance what to expect.. then you can tackle the obstacles with almost some stimulating enthusiasm and not a mixed of surprise and pain. A quick analysis with Google Maps told me it was ‘almost flat’.. I took it for granted and told myself that it could be at worst a ‘rolling path’ around the lake. No, it was a series of 12 walls that I had to do twice :O !! Next time, I will do proper research, and the best way is to look at the Strava segments from athletes from the past season..

Overall, I found that triathlon quite hard and I do not recommend it for newcomers in Olympic distance. It is better to start with a flatter one.. The organisation is good and very simple with many dedicated persons – « Ambiance Triathlon-buvette garantie! » I found the level of the competitors quite high with many being members of regional clubs. I received a blue cap as a souvenir!

My primary objective was to finish that triathlon in less than 3 hours.. Mission accomplished with 2H59mins.. and 54 seconds. 🙂 I would not have succeeded without the strong and enthusiastic support of my two fans that went to 5 different locations to heartily cheer me and others. So good to see them every time ! Thank you!