Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer – XS

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[cml_media_alt id='10527']louise1[/cml_media_alt]Once a French naval air station, Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer is now a picturesque fishing village situated in south eastern France and on the 14th September 2014 was host to its 26th annual triathlon competition.  Two distances were available – XS and S.  I opted for the smaller distance in the morning as the sweltering heat of an afternoon race was certainly not appealing. This was definitely a wise move given that even the water temp was 22oc by 9:45am, needless to say that the wetsuit got left behind in the transition area.

Unfortunately I had a bit of a bad start with the 400m swim, setting off behind most of the competitors.  In my attempts to find an opening, I managed to get punched in the head (the person did apologise but I think that was only because a couple of swear word flew out my mouth).  Still slightly dazed from the blow, as we turned the corner I finally managed to compose myself and break out of my breaststroke/crawl melange.  My exit out the water was no better as I clambered out ungracefully on all fours.  So passing rather swiftly into the transition area, I grabbed my borrowed vintage Peugeot 531 racing bike which I managed to “enhance” slightly with the addition of cleats.

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Despite being only 8km, the bike leg was largely one big climb and then a descent with nasty hairpin turns. This meant, much to the dislike of my fellow competitors, me slamming on the breaks round on every corner.

The run element was short and sweet, 3km of climb and then downhill which gave me enough time to catch my breath before crossing the finish line in a sprint.[cml_media_alt id='10529']Louise4[/cml_media_alt]

My finish time was 49:00mins which was unfortunately one short of a spot on the podium in the senior women’s category.  My disappointment however was soon forgotten as all competitors were automatically entered into a free tom-bola with decathlon sporting paraphernalia up for grabs – I came away with a shiny new bike lock!! I would certainly recommend this triathlon to anyone planning a trip to the south of France in September, if not for the freebies then definitely for the beautiful scenery, great weather and atmosphere.