Loïc at Lévézou Olympic for his 1st Triathlon

Lévézou M distance – 27 August 2016 – Villefranche de Panat (12) Aveyron, France


by Loïc Blanchard

Format: M distance, 1,5km swim, 40km bike (560D+/D-), 10km run

Organizer: Rodez Triathlon 12 (http://club.quomodo.com/triathlon12/)

More info: http://triathlon-du-levezou.fr

My very first triathlon

After joining Expatriés Triathlon in May 2016, I decided to go for my first triathlon in May with the XS format of Triathlon Pays de l’Ourcq. Then I wanted to try the M distance at Triathlon de Dienville, not far from Troyes. Unfortunately, the flooding around Paris and a knee injury right after that made these two events impossible to attend. I had to cancel. So when the opportunity of taking the start at another tri during my vacation in the south of France presented itself, I was very happy to seize it! The M distance of Triathlon du Lévézou was going to be my first try in tri.l13

I am a very poor swimmer. In fact, even if I grew up on an island in the Pacific Ocean, I really started to work on my front crawl swim technique when I joined the club. Luckily enough, I stayed for 2 weeks at a place near a small lake and Triathlon du Lévézou race location was only a 45 minutes ride from it. So I was able to swim every day, and practice my breathing and technique. The goal was to be able to breathe correctly and avoid drowning 😀 ! This was the big focus of my training, as I have been running long distance trails (Saintélyon) or urban races (half and full marathon) for quite a while now.

On race day, I was a bit worried as I had no idea how the transitions were going to happen and more generally what to do in order to have the best tri possible. What is the best position for my helmet if I don’t have aerobars? Should I put my bike repair kit in my trisuit from the start and swim with it? Do I use socks for the run? In the end, I decided to do what I thought would be the most comfortable for me without sacrificing too much time and I hoped for the best.

The swim part was 1,5km, Aussie style. I took the start right in front of the big crowd (around 200 competitors). First mistake. The day was sunny but quite windy and quickly all of us were drifting in the water. I noticed it a few minutes after we started to swim as, until that point, I was just following the guy in front of me without checking our direction. Second mistake. But at least I was able to maintain a better pace compared to what I was performing only a few weeks before without being out of breath.l12

I almost killed myself at the beginning of the second loop as I dived too early and smashed into the muddy bottom of the lake. Third and last mistake! I was quite happy to finally get out of the water and I was eager to start biking.

I knew the itinerary as I made a discovery ride the week before, so I was quite confident this would be helpful during this quite hilly ride (560 D+/-). And I was right! At some point, I passed by one of the volunteers who shouted « 31!!! » which confused me as I knew there were less than 31km remaining. And then I realized that he was counting competitors!

My only goal at the beginning of this first tri was to have a good time and avoid any injury or bike crash during T2. But then I thought that I might give it a try and increase my efforts for the remaining of the race, which I did. I overtook more than 15 people during the bike and arrived quite tired at the bike area, especially as the last section, at the feet of huge wind turbines, was extremely windy. And then off I was for the run! I did my transition so fast that I even forget my knee protection from Zamst… After a few kilometers I passed the first woman but was soon completely left on the side of the road by another one. She was running at an average 14km/h and I couldn’t do more than 12.

I finished after 2 hours and 37 minutes of relative fun and was happy to end up in the top 25 of my very first triathlon!

The organization was great, I loved the friendly atmosphere and the relaxed attitude of all of the competitors including the ones who meant business. But I also realize how much work there is left for me before HIM Pays d’Aix 2017!

Looking forward to training again with you guys 😉

Loic 1