Nevers Tri, August 14, 2021 (S)
Race Reporters: Marieke
Nevers offers the M and S distance and I think it is a great event for people that are new to triathlon, especially the S distance that is done “contre le montre” which means that one single person starts every 30 seconds and you don’t have to swim in a crowd. Also with this mode it is very easy to find your bike in transition, because people arrive more or less in the order the bikes are waiting. The highlight of the M distance is probably the part of the bike leg that is done on the formula 1 track in Magny and clocked additionally. But I’ve heard this part has quite a few ups and downs.
Overall the event was well organized: easy exit out of the water via a ramp, simple transition area with only one rag, almost no cars, but volunteers at every turn of the bike leg, several refreshment points on the run and a tombola. At least I won something in the tombola…
After almost two years of Corona induced dormancy, the race in Nevers was a good opportunity for me to make the best of the calm summer in Paris. Without the regular training sessions because of the holidays my preparation could have been a bit better, but I really wanted to do a race again (my second in total) and the S distance seemed feasible and besides what’s the worst that can happen?
I took the train from Paris (only 2 hours) with my bike and I arrived on Saturday in time to cheer Sean on the M distance. The M is not done “contre le montre” like the S so everyone starts at the same time for two and a half rounds swimming in the port de la jonction, an artificial sidearm of the Loire that leads into a canal. Afterwards they left for the bike leg which took them, as already mentioned, partly over the formula 1 course in Magny. And finally a run along the canal.
After weeks of cold weather, the weekend of the race the sun was burning mercilessly. Just from watching the M race I got a bit worried for the next day. My body doesn’t really like hot weather and the prospect of doing a triathlon did not make me look forward to the next day. Also I had trained open water swimming in the weeks before, but always with my wet suit and of course it was not allowed with over 25°C water temperature. I knew I had to find my own speed for the race and try not be disappointed with myself.
The race started with a jump into the water and I’m writing this because it took me by surprise. Waiting in line for my start time I was wondering if my goggles and cap would hold the dive and I was hoping not to hit the water on my belly, but everything went well. For the S you have to swim one round of the port and I was taking my time, not wanting to push too hard without my wet suit. In the transition zone I was nevertheless feeling exhausted, dreading the quite long run to my bike. I had decided before to choose comfort over time and pride, so after putting my shoes AND my socks on I was off on my bike. This was actually the part I enjoyed most, feeling fast and overtaking some people, enjoying the views on the very few climbs. I should have paced myself a bit to keep some energy for the run, but I felt like I would struggle on the run part no matter what. And I did struggle on the run. Not all of it was in the sun, but it was really hot and the course follows the canal, so at least no climbs, but you have to run in one direction for half of the time knowing that you have to run it all back again. I thought I would never reach the return point. In the end I was luckily only doing an S and I reached the finish line (whoop whoop), but full disclosure I didn’t finish all of it running and that’s okay for me. There will be a next time with more preparation!