Blessington Triathlon 2017 – Céline Le Berre

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What a Mess !

Here it is, tomorrow morning I will race my first Irish triathlon, which will also be by the way the second one in my life ! I am super excited, feeling well, I’ve trained as much as I could. Let’s see the result on the finish line, my secret goal is to be under 1h30, but no word that’s a secret …

It’s 7pm, after having eating my plate of pasta, with some cheese of course (special treat), I prepare my stuff, shoes, wetsuit, bike … Let’s check with the Pulse Newbies group on WhatsApp the pressure I should inflate my tyres – 90 to 100 psi, well, after a conversion to bars, yes I know I have to get used to it, my bike is ready too. Time to have a look around outside and take advantage of this lovely weather before having a great sleep. Everything is clear.

After a nice and warm evening, I come back home and I don’t know why, maybe because it was on my way, I check the pressure of my tyres. Oh crap, the rear one is flat. I try to inflate it without success…. it looks like I need to change the tube, great it is 10.15pm, really is it a time to change a tube ? Tube changed, inflated …. bam, it blows up again ! Really strange, I have to said I am getting a bit nervous, not sure I still have a spare tube, … Let’s have a look at that mess. Well, that’s worst that I thought, the tyre seems to be completely broken at one point and this is exactly the point where the tube is punctured ! It’s 10.30 pm, what can I do ? Let’s send a message on the WhatsApp group and see if people are still up. Oh yes, thanks god, people are not asleep yet. The conclusion is simple, I need a new tyre, how to get one? Message on Facebook and in parallel I get two answers…. Problem solved, tomorrow morning on my way to Blessington, I’m gonna stop at Brian’s and get this sorted. The evening could have been quieter but finally I can get some rest and relieve my stress. I fall asleep thinking it is better I’ve found it out tonight rather than tomorrow morning.

I wake up early, nice breakfast, everything in the car heading to change that tyre. I plan to arrive quite early at Blessington to have time to prepare all my stuff at the transition and feeling nice and relaxed. It’s 8am, I am at Brian’s home only to realise that there has been a misunderstanding and that Brian does not have any spare tyre but only spare tubes ! Ohhhh, back to stress again, will I really be able to race today ? How does that happen to me ? I am heading to Blessington, Brian is confident that there will be some people there, maybe from Cycle SuperStore or others, who will have some spare tyres. I might have to buy one but really do I care about that !?

wetsuit and trisuit laid out ready for racing

Stuck behind a tractor on the narrow roads, I am feeling more and more nervous. Hope this so expected event won’t get transformed in a nightmare. Arriving at Blessington, I head quickly to the registration office, no Cycle SuperStore or any others there. The race director makes an announcement to try to sort me out. It is 8.45am, the transition closes in 45 minutes, I might have the time to go back to Dublin and maybe head to Chris or someone else who propose on facebook ! Dilemma, wait or not wait ! And if, nothing would come … 8.55am, last chance, I check with the organization if they will let me enter the transition after it closes as I plan to head to Dublin. “Don’t worry, someone has left and will bring you a new tyre”, … oh really, is it right ? Will I finally get sorted ? It looks like it, I begin to smile again, I just have to wait …. 9.05am, 9.10am, 9.13am “Don’t worry he will arrive, you will be grand”, I really envy this optimism that is much more present in the Irish spirit than in the French one, I am doing my best but right now, I can’t stay really calm, I will be grand, I will be grand, really !!!!! And that’s true 9.18am, I have a new tyre, one minute later the tyre and tube are in place and inflated. I’m ready to go to transition and to race ! Excellent, big smile, I am entering transition less than 10 minutes before closing, not really what I’ve planned but let’s be honest, at one stage I thought I wouldn’t even race today so I’m smiling. The good thing is that after such a mess, I line up on the departure line without any stress, just happy to be part of it. I’ve done the warm-up  as I’ve been told to, I just need to keep calm and whatever happens now, I just have to enjoy it.

Go, that’s it, the chrono is on, fighting a bit with the people around me, I try to get the advantage and to find a direct line to the buoy, the first one is easy to see, a big yellow one, but then the following are smaller and red. I have to say that it’s not really easy to see them, anyway I keep going, maybe rushing to much  because my technique is slipping, I’m trying to focus on my stroke, next buoy, let’s keep close to it, well too close maybe, I have to go through the mooring ropes, maybe not the easiest way. It’s 17 minutes on my watch, I am out of the water, not to bad, but I was expecting a bit better, no time to think about that, let’s get rid of the wetsuit, my fear since the beginning but it shouldn’t have been. The main problem didn’t come from that but from the fact that I’ve lost my bike ! Indeed I count the lanes when I enter, shoudln’t be too hard 5-6 lanes only, but I manage to pick up the wrong one. Once I find my stuff, the wetsuit comes off pretty quick and I’m on the bike. A bit hilly, I like it, I am feeling great, overtaking on the uphill and getting passed on the downhill, hmmm I think I need to improve that, I’m too nervous about falling maybe and slowing down too much apparently, I will keep that in mind for the improvement list, let’s enjoy the landscape and keep hydrated, it is getting really hot and I had the bad idea to wear a short-sleeve jacket over my tri-suit – indeed this jacket is a lucky charm that I got for my first triathlon, but was that a good reason to wear it today ?! Average of 31 km/h on my bike counter, I guess that’s the effect of the red and black tyre, 14% more efficient I’ve been told !!!

The Bike is over already, I dismount right before the yellow line, no problem there, I change my shoes and feel ready for the run, I’ve done better than expected on the bike, I am still on track to achieve my secret goal. But the referee pulls me to one side at the transition exit. What have I done ?!, I feel like a child who has done a bad thing and is gonna get punished. The idea that I might be suspended and not able to finish the race crosses my mind. The referee, probably understanding  that I was a bit nervous, calms me down and gives me 10 seconds penalty for taking off my helmet too soon when i entered Transition – not so bad, at least i can keep racing.

The first part of the run is uphill and really tough, I have to walk for few meters as I can’t feel my legs, I allow someone to pass me so that I can follow her. Now I’m at Km 3, only 2 to go, I have a look at my watch, 1hr 30 is still possible, I am pushing myself, hard, really hard, if there is the slightest chance to make it I dont want to miss it !!

Finish line, 1h29 on my watch I don’t know the seconds but I don’t mind I’ve done it !


IMG_20170618_132335676   run

A great race, a lot of lessons for later. And be sure that from now, I have a spare tyre and tube at my place, if anyway needs it once, he can give me a call !

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