Just finished up with my first race for french GP Club Vitrolles here in France 🇫🇷 . Man, what an experience! Honestly probably the coolest race and most enjoyable experience I have ever had in Triathlon, yes including the Commonwealth Games. It is ridiculous how big Triathlon is here in France, everyone competes from 8 years old till literally 70 years of age. The spread is massive, and they have three different divisions or so called categories, Ie D1,D2, and D3. D1 being the toughest or highest level.
The race itself was in Bescanon, which was about a six hour drive from our team base in Vitrolles. Picking up two team mates on the drive, the other one a Belguim or Belguin? Any how he would meet us there at the hotel. We only had four members in our team for this race, some other teams had five, but our other member was competing in the World Military Champs in Sweden. We covered the course in 59min&35 sec, 24 seconds off the podium, in 4th place. The distances were not the traditional sprint distance, with a 750 swim, 21.8 km bike with 194 m elevation bike/“velo” ( so yes not flat at all) and finish of with a 5km run. To give you an indication of the intensity I set a new threshold bike power output on this course. Averaging 423 W over the 28 min of the bike leg… Ok yes I am a big boy for a hilly course but the pace was incredible. On the run we dropped our first member after 300m as he completely sacrificed himself on the bike, now we were only three and we had to finish with this number as the time for the team is taken on the third member to cross the finish line… I felt very strong in the run, after the first km, running in front for most of the race and surprisingly my knee which has been troubling me for a while now held up really well. So in the end, 4th place for the team; and obviously wanting a little more but honestly we couldn’t have raced better giving the circumstances. I am very proud of the team and everyone’s performances. As Lionel Sanders says, “I live for the battle , the result is secondary.” And in this case the battle was beautiful, I should’ve raced in France a long time ago already. Definitely a new favourite.
The bike course is what really made the race special to me. It was a 2 lap hilly course with three very technical descents, wet roads and trying to dodge the roundabouts and navigate around other monuments and churches. The scenery was beautiful aswell, we literally raced through two old little medieval towns, probably older than any building in South Africa. The history and architecture is something that always intrigues me in Europe. The spectators were great on course as well, quite a big crowd and so motivating especially up the climbs with the traditional shouts of “Allez, allez, allez.”
Back on the bus now, a six hour drive and back into the pool tomorrow morning at 6am. Still two weeks remaining here with another individual race over the weekend and then a final African cup in Morocco on my way back home in two weeks time.
Jp out ✌️