Versailles Triathlon de la Reine, May 29th, 2022 (S) – Selectif D3
Race Reporter: Mareike
Racers: Klaske, Charlotte, Juliette, Kanza, Delphine, Nathanaelle, Pierre, Michiel, Étienne, Louis, Alvaro, Carlos, Pierre-Olivier, Johan, Maxime, John, Daniel, Tobias, Sébastien, Julio, Aytug
I wanted to do this race already last year, but it got canceled because of Covid. So this year I would have done it either way, but additionally it was the qualification for the D3 semi-finale.The club is organizing a competition team to participate in the national D3 competition this season.
The logistics for the Versailles triathlon are rather easy, if you are living in Paris. You can take your bike with you in the RER C to Versailles Château Rive Gauche in less than an hour and you don’t need to stay overnight. The cherry on top is the Expatriés picnic where you can share good moments before and after the race.
For the sprint distance there are two departures: one in the morning for the licensed men and one in the afternoon for the non-licensed men and all women.
When I arrived at the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses the triathlon du roi (that’s what they call the race for the licensed men) had already finished. The weather was not as good as the weeks before and everybody looked a bit cold. The water temperature was only at 17°C, so the wetsuit was just about not mandatory, but I chose to wear it as it gives me confidence for the swim.
For the start men were asked to keep to the left of the starting line and women to the right. I’m not sure that makes a difference, but okay. I was able to find a good rhythm for my breathing early on and just followed the feet in front of me. Around the buoys it got a bit hectic again and in the second half I saw more and more people swimming on their backs or doing breast strokes which can be bothersome as you have to swim around, but I was still feeling strong. In Versailles you have to swim a rectangle before you exit the water on a swimming ramp, helped by volunteers.
After coming out of the water you don’t really get a break, because the transition area is on a hill and you have to run uphill right away. I was so happy when I finally reached my bike. Once on the bike I was able to find a group to ride with and profit from the fact that drafting was allowed on this race. I didn’t like the bike course itself that much to be honest. The biggest plus in my opinion is that there were no cars. But there were some chicanes, a bumpy surface and one very steep climb after a downhill part. I saw some athletes that actually fell off their bikes there, because they didn’t change gears fast enough and lost balance. Luckily, the organizers as well as other expats had warned me about this difficulty before the race. But still, the steep climb drained a lot of energy.
T2 was super unpleasant as you have to pass the whole transition area downhill. I was still wearing my biking shoes which maybe I would do differently next time. In addition the ground is very uneven with holes in it. Right in front of me a girl that I had rode with before fell face first on this section. People were at her side very fast, but she told me later that they didn’t let her finish the race. Warned like this I proceeded with care. The following run uphill, again passing the whole transition area, with my bike at hand seemed endless.
The running course led us twice around the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses. The first part is lined with spectators where I passed Expats encouraging the athletes. The course is mostly flat on a sandy path, with one short climb up to a statue where they hand you a chouchou to count rounds and downhill again to the spectators.
At the finish it is great to see everýone else from the club and also to meet the people you rode with on the bike. And of course there is some food and drinks provided by the organization.
All in all, I think it was a successful day for the Expatriés. Congratulations again to Klaske who finished second in the non-licensed women category! The boys and the girls competition team also qualified for the D3 semi-finale and will race on 26th June in Pontarlier. It was great to see this many Expatriés in a competition together, cheering each other, so I would really recommend this race to everyone, but be careful in the transition area and on the bike part.