Stockholm ITU Triathlon – M distance – 25 July 2016
by Sean Hurst
Stockholm ITU Triathlon weekend 25 (July 2016)
Barely a fortnight had passed since getting back from Luxembourg when we were packing the bikes up again and flying off to Stockholm for the ITU race.
We timed our arrival so we could see the Elites race on Saturday afternoon ahead of ‘normal’ people racing on Sunday. The bike course for the Elites was 9 laps of a tight city centre course with the run course being 4 laps around the Old City / King’s palace. Wherever you stood you were guaranteed some action every few minutes.
After seeing tens, if not hundreds, of 000s of people around the ITU race course in Leeds a few weeks ago we were surprised how few people (except on the finishing chute) there were watching. I think, may be, the Brownlee brothers are a slightly bigger draw for the crowd in North Yorkshire than in Sweden but so much better for us though as you could touch the triathletes as they went past if you chose to do so given how close they were.
We were able to get on the finish line for the ladies race where Flora Duffy romped home for her first ITU gold medal, Andrea Hewitt (NZL) was second and Helen Jenkins (GBR) third. Both Cat and I got a high-5 from Flora just before she crossed the line so if I don’t wash for a few weeks may be some of her triathlon magic will rub off on me. I can but try!
After a 12 in Leeds, Alistair and Johnny did it again this weekend. When on form the brothers are just incredible and the others didn’t really stand a chance. Bring on the Olympics vs Gomez and Mola!
Sunday saw a reasonably early start as we were in the first two waves starting at 8.00 and 8:10 respectively which were reserved for licenced athletes only. There were 23 waves in total the first 810 for Olympic distance and the rest for sprint distance. We didn’t have to rack our bikes the night before which felt very civilised and hassle-free but given how many competitors there were the transition area was the largest I’ve ever seen and was at least 500m long.
Stockholm is on the Baltic Sea but the water was surprisingly ‘warm’ at 18°C.
We started from the same pontoon where the Elites had dived off the day before but they made us start in the water which most probably saved many pairs of goggles from coming off. We did a different (and safer) bike course heading out of town and back 4 times but it included a bridge you had to cross 8 times in total which got the heart rate going to say the least. The run course was exactly the same as the Elites did and, given that we were in the first two waves, was nice and quiet. It gave the impression that we were far ahead of everybody else but in reality it meant most of the others just hadn’t started yet! The blue carpeted ‘hill’ up the side of the Palace was a killer but the 4th time meant we could take the left fork and head up the finishing chute.
Job done and a welcome pint of alcohol free Erdinger lager to celebrate !
Karen Decter asked for a picture of Cat and I together on the podium but the above pic was the best I could do. And might be the closest I’ll ever come to getting the top spot!
We stayed an extra couple of days to do the the tourist thing and I couldn’t recommend Stockholm more highly. It’s a beautiful, historic City with very friendly people, some great shopping, but a bit of a pain to find a decent restaurant open on a Sunday or Monday night!
Tills nästa år
Sean & Cat
P.S. Note to Roberto yes, a girl from Bermuda did beat me by nearly 40 minutes!! But, I was able to stalk her at the finish line!!