Kathryn at Choisy-au-Bac Sprint

Choisy-au-Bac S Triathlon – 14 May 2016

Kathryn Choisy au Bac 2016

by Kathryn Harrison

Choisy au Bac was to be my first triathlon back after injury and illness last year, with my last competition at Versailles last May seeming a distant memory. So I was a little apprehensive as to my ability to get round the course and questioning why I would want to get in a cold river so early in May! The day started off cold at a chilly 13°C, but as we weren’t racing until 3pm, the sun finally showed it’s face and the water temp was a balmy 16°C.
8 of us were competing from the team, with Cat coming along to cheer us on and take photos. It was a good rivalry between us all, as Sean and Mark were going head to head in the Vet3 category, Phil, Julien and Manuel in MS3 and Anais, Ozlem and I in WS3. WIth Anais having been away in South America and me in Madagasar, neither of us knew how fit the other one was or how much training she may have been doing in secret…
On arrival, it was evident that it was likely to be a quick race, due to the fairly strong current of the river. This was definitely felt as we entered the water and had to start swimming upstream just to stay above the start line. Us Expatries had managed to stay altogether in the water and were in the process of facing the other way trying to tread water upstream as the gun went off, and so were abut 50m back from the start!!
I am not a natural in open water, but it was a lovely wide river and once the panic had subsided with the usual thrashing of legs and arms around you, people soon spread out to get into their own rhythm. Very grateful for the fast current, everyone came out of the water in record time with fresh legs for the bike. I came out just behind Mark, but Anais had already got her wetsuit off and helmet on as I entered transition. Somehow I beat Mark out of T1, but he quickly passed by with a polite ‘Hello” shortly into the 20km. It was now my aim to catch up with Anais! The bike course was mostly flat, which meant you could get into the drop position and spin the legs. Thanks to Sam’s bike fit the day before, I felt good on the bike and was happy to average 30kph.
Now just the run to complete out and back along the river. This was great, as I got to see the guys come past me on their loop back – Julien sprinting effortlessly by, Sean and Mark side by side at this point, and a high-five from Manu. It was only a matter of time before Anais would catch me and after just over 2km at the turn, I was dismayed to see she was right on my heels. This spurred me on to keep up the pace, but I had nothing left as she calmly overtook me at 3.5km and so ended up crossing the line 20 seconds behind her! I put it down to altitude training hikes in South America!!
It was a great race had by all, largely thanked by the current and we celebrated with some beers next to the band afterwards. I would definitely recommend this race for next year. A nice small local tri (c. 300 competitors), it was a friendly atmosphere, but with good quality competition. Also, will likely be the only place that I could attempt to beat my time for a sprint! Unlikely to come close to this in Versailles triathlon next week…!