Finally. The rain stopped. After 2-3 weeks with daily rain, it was just the right moment to stop.
Raining is not all that bad, but this Saturday I had such a hard time finishing the offroad cycling leg with that terrain just being dry. I don’t want to imagine going through that same course on a rainy day. But I will get to that as well.
Triathlon. Swimming x 1000m, cycling x 26 km, running x 9 km.
My second triathlon. Kind of. The first was earlier this year, at Izvorani, but it was a totally different format. That was a sprint triathlon and it was in reverse. We started with the running and finished swimming in a pool.
So, basically, I had no previous experience with, what I think to be, the usual format of a triathlon event.
In the event rules, I read it may be mandatory to wear a neoprene suit during the swimming leg. It was a hard task to find one. Asked friends, checked prices (didn’t expect to see those numbers), but, in the end, I managed to borrow one. It wasn’t a wetsuit but it was something. After all, it was my first time trying this so it was useless to spend all that money on something I don’t quite understand, yet. Luckily enough, it was a good fit.
I was nervous. I wasn’t sure about the transitions, how they are supposed to go, and I couldn’t focus on the technical details. All I had to do in fact was to follow whatever everybody else did.
So, I entered the water. It was not that cold. 18 degrees Celsius. I think even without the suit it was quite comfortable, once you got used to the water temperature. It felt weird when a small amount of water entered the suit, but I heard about this. It was normal.
We were aligned, and waiting for the start. There were to marks. One at 250 and one at 500. We had to make a loop after the second one. 250m straight. Until now I covered that distance only in swimming pools. 25m and 50m. 10 or 5 laps of those didn’t seem to be that much, but 250 at once looked slightly scary.
After the countdown, I was lost. I tried to swim, minding my own business, but I had problems with my direction. Everybody else was swimming straight, but I was swimming diagonally, towards the shore. Whenever I was back on track, I found it difficult to swim beside the other triathletes. Either they hit my legs with their hands, or I was hitting their legs with my hands. It was crowded, I was nervous, I was wasting oxygen, the underwater visibility was poor, I was zigzagging and sometimes I found myself in floating small branches.
It took me about 32 minutes to finish. And to think that I cover the same distance in 20 minutes in the swimming pool. But with all that zigzagging I probably covered more than 1000m.
Thankfully, I had some help in the transition to take out that neoprene suit. I had a sip of water, took my scrappy bike, and rushed out of the transition area. The start was alright. On the street, it was comfortable to keep up with everybody else, but the comfort ended shortly after when I entered the offroad part. I convinced myself the hard way that having a bike, with thicker tires, is not enough to call it a MTB and go on offroad tracks. Without a suspension fork, I felt all the road bumps in my hands. After a couple of km, I had problems with my hands. It was tough to control the bike because now it was painful to move my fingers after they absorbed all that shock. The cherry on the top, the chain was stuck on the last sprocket, and I was able just to shift from the middle to the higher chainring.
It took me 1h 12min to finish the cycling leg. A lot. I hope the shitty bike is not completely ruined. I mean, I won’t do the same mistake twice, but I still have to take it to the bike shop to fix the gears. Or I should probably just throw it away and buy a new one. If only this would be so simple, though.
The last part of the triathlon, the running, was the one I was most comfortable with. 9 km flat, 6 laps in a park, 42min 36s.
Total time 2h 26min 32s. I hoped to do better. The lack of experience it’s the keyword of this blog post, but it was a fun way to spend my birthday after all. The location was awesome, the organizers did a good job, the weather was sunny and hot, a nice change after the rainy weeks we had lately.
This was the last event before the IronMan on 24-25th June. I get excited every time I think about it. 4 more weeks to go. This reminds me I should end this post right about now and go training. Today I have an endurance run and a time trial swimming.
I wish you all a great Sunday! Either training, relaxing or both at the same time.