Candice beats her target time at her 1st open water tri: Enghien

Enghien les Bains – XS distance – May 21st 2017

Race Reporter: Candice M


After having completed the Paris Super Sprint with the Expatries, in a moment on sheer madness, I registered for my first open water XS triathlon. A quick google search and 28€ later here I am bib #109 ready to face 400m in open water of an undetermined colour, 14km bike ride and 3 km run.

The night before the competition, I’m duly packaging my bag, crossing off my list and trying to remember all the great advice Bertrand and Kathryn H gave me. I am also preparing the children’s clothes as this is a family affair.

21st May 6:30 am, my first triathlon starts with my mummy duties of getting everyone ready, fed and buckled in the car seats whilst the hubby mounts the bike on the rack. Enghien here we come.

At 7:45 the parking is soon to be full but we find a wee spot and get the children, bike, bag and me on the road off to the “parc a velo”… When we get there, I remember clearly Kathryn’s words “find a landmark so you’re not lost”, here I am doing a reconnaissance from the water exit to my bike. The little ones are in full cheering mode with a “go mummy go”, I can’t let them down and keep thinking I want to beat my target at 1h05.

8:55 in the water and I remember another piece of advice from Bertrand, put your head in, do a few strokes… my stress level is rising on my internal Richter scale, breathe in and out, arms as far as you can.

9:00 we’re off and I had never imagined it would feel like a washing machine doubled with kicks and punches but I’m off. Front crawl here we go, I get kicked and I kick back till I’m a bit free of the pack. I start more using my legs for the last 50 meters and then it’s the exit. Johan and the little ones are cheering me on as I start the tedious process of getting out of the wet suit. Thank goodness I practiced at home.

I do my best to get on my bike and clip after the line and off. On the bike section, I’m overtaken but I overtake too which is exhilarating. I’m having my own Jeanie Longueau moment (albeit not at the same speed). My legs are ok, thanks to the home trainer and squats. I unclip 30m before the finish line to be sure to have “jambe au sol”. Looking back on the bike ride there’s a ton of opportunity to improve especially in the bends as I tended to brake instead of accelerate.

Once the bike is back on the rack, it’s off to the last piece the running. Having messed up the Garmin watch I don’t have my pace which nerve racking so I go by feel. I’ve decided to “pacman” overtake everyone I can so I’m slowly but surely moving up the rank.

On the last 500m I hear someone saying to their friend, hit the pavement it’s the last 500m… so I to decide to hit Enghien’s pavement hard and not let go.

56 minutes and 32 seconds later I can say I did it! Coming in 198/358.

I can’t thank Bertrand enough for his kind words during the Cergy Lake swim on the 7th and the 14th and for Kathryn’s advice.

Enghien, I’ll definitely be back  🙂