This is a classic French middle distance road triathlon race (1.9km swim • 93km bike • 21km run) which formerly hosted Ironman France. It was superbly well run and is a perfect race for friends and family to come and support; my mum came and she had a lovely time!
The swim began in Lake Gerardmer. It was the usual mass start and I endured the ‘hairy’ beginning that I have now become accustomed to in any tough European race. The fighting and jossling never seemed to let up. I exited in a good time however, feeling strong and ready to attack the bike.
The bike course snaked up and around steep hillsides that were covered in beautiful coniferous forests. The 3-loop mountainous course was a joy to ride albeit painful with some climbs reaching 15% gradient. The fantastic French support spurred me on and even mum managed to spot me and cheer me on each lap!
As expected my legs were feeling far from fresh when I came off the bike and into T2. I started the first lap somewhat cautiously being mindful to stop myself from blowing up. In retrospect this was a mistake as I made a feeble first lap run split compared to my final 2 when I finally got it together and motored my way past 3 other girls to cross the finish 8th pro woman.
The awards ceremony was no modest affair. The prize giving was on an imposing stage at the front of the hall and was displayed on huge ‘big screens’ for all the 1000’s of athletes and supporters to see. We were all crowded in row upon row of tresle tables heavily laden with the awards’ banquet of interesting pork delights! It was fun evening to finish a tough weekend of racing. Fortunately it was a reasonably short drive back to the Swiss Alps so I could squeeze in a few more days training before my next race; Xterra Switzerland, the final of the Xterra European Tour.