On September 6, 2014, the 30 th edition of the Montreal Spirit Triathlon (Canada) took place.
Several triathlons organized on the same day (sprint, Olympic, half-spirit and spirit) even relay triathlons and also two duathlons. 8 races in total on the same day.
Swimming is done in a pool designed for rowing, it is a large swimming pool 2km long by 100m wide. The bike is a 4.4km loop to be repeated a number of times depending on the distance to be covered (41 laps in my case!), The bike loop takes place on the F1 track, the Gilles Villeneuve circuit. So the coating is fresh and the course is rolling. Running is also a loop that is 4.7km (9 laps to be completed for the marathon).
For my first long distance triathlon and second triathlon in life, it is ideal, many participants test themselves on their 1st long distance here because of the ease of the course (no bumps on the bike, swimming with not too much wave and fresh water, then several loops, so many encouragement).
To come back to the race, 8 weeks before the start, a friend suggests that I register with him on the half-spirit, I watch the event and I am tempted, and rather tempted by the Spirit (long distance). I look at my athletic history from the previous weeks / months and tell myself that it can do it… and so I sign up for the long haul. All that remains is to prepare an ironman distance in 8 weeks, I who have never run a marathon and my longest bike ride is 150km but I have time and I can do 25-28h of sport for weeks. So the weeks are very busy with each one: 5 running trips, 4 cycling trips and 1 swimming training only. But I am confident and arrive sufficiently prepared, at least that’s what I tell myself.
Objectives: less than 11 hours, and to make a top 3 in my age group. (Few “young” in this kind of competition) At the top of my 29 years old, I tell myself that there should not be many under 30!
Preparations for the race: the weather forecast announces shitty weather, rains and thunderstorms all morning. So I prepare for the worst and I do not retain the idea of a jacket or any other item of clothing that will be soaked drowned anyway… I will spend the day sorting out. Even if it means being soaked as much as having only one thickness.
On September 6, wake up 4:30 am, have breakfast and on the way, I arrive around 5:30 am on the site, I take my electronic chip and install it on the bike (to count the laps automatically) then I have my bib number marked. as well as my age (I would be classified with the age group 30-34 because I would be 30 years old before the end of the year, rule of athletics).
At the start of the swim at 7 am we had beautiful perspectives for the day with beautiful colors present in the sky. I even tell myself that we are going to have a very good day.
7am, departure for a long day, with first a swim (water at 22 ° C), fairly quiet (only 44 brave participants, 40 men and 4 women) so no fighting at the start, no shots! It’s truly pleasent. It’s going well, I’m at my own pace, not very quickly, but it’s fine. I go out in 1h17min, no longer in terms of time, but it’s not bad either, me who had never swam more than 40min in open water. (On the other hand a good burn in the neck because of the combination). And as soon as it comes out of the water, a few drops are already falling!
1st Express Transition, in 2:32, still a lot of bikes present! I count that 13 bikes already left (which places me 14th).
Then early in the bike, without having 100m, I meet my colleague who is already at its 3 rdcircuit tour. The half-spirit triathlon started 10min after us and with 1.9Km less swimming they had already been on the bike for a good half hour. We go around the track side by side together, talking a bit and slaloming a lot between all the participants. Then we separate to ride at our own pace. Then, stormy rains very quickly… we haven’t had time to dry up swimming yet… The circuit is all the more heavily loaded with competitors, all the events will be on the track throughout the day. The schedules are well distributed, the first 2-3 hours are the half-spirit distances, then the Olympic and sprint distances. But since departures start by “wave” of age group and sex, it is fairly well distributed. We can clearly see the difference in pace between those who go for a 20km or 40km and those who are on the 180km! There are magnificent fighter planes which circulate with guys which roll at 45km / h on average. There are also beginners in mountain biking and between all this you have to make your place and you sometimes have great fears … Because of the disastrous weather, I witnessed 3 big falls (2 in bends, beautiful slips) and another who while eating while sitting on his extensions made a big gap and hit another unfortunate cyclist, the two men found themselves on the ground in the middle of a straight line (and I was very afraid of being embarked with them)… The advantage here is that we can hardly “draft” because as soon as you find yourself behind someone with the amount of water it’s like you’re in the rollers of an automatic car wash! Another advantage of going around in circles is that you are never alone, you can easily discuss with other competitors who can be distinguished by the color of the bib, each event has a different color.
Despite this bad weather, many spectators are cheering! I was really surprised. With very worn tires (you can clearly see the fiber structure of my rear tire) I was lucky not to burst (more than 60 punctures recorded by the repair stand present). I just did a little slip in a turn (without touching the brakes) which scared me. So I cautiously finish in 5:23 the bike part (34km / h average) with 2 pee breaks (I could have peed on myself with all this rain it would have gone unnoticed, but I prefer to stop). However, I did not drink a drop of water on the entire bike portion! Just riding and talking from time to time was enough to hydrate me with all this rain.
In short, a bike not the most pleasant, even if it went quite quickly.
T2, 4:30, I took the time to dry my feet which had been soaked in juice since the start of the race. Past the park bike I count the bike already and there are 10. (That puts me 11 th , it is improving).
And from the first km of running, the road being covered with water, we have no choice but to put both feet in it, and here I am with my shoes and socks drowned…. the first 10km are going well, a good pace 4:20 per km I pass the ravitos without stopping and I go.
Then from km 10 to km 30 a big blow less well, the stopwatch goes to 5min per km then 6min and I find myself walking a few meters when I cross the aid stations and run between each .. Then the form comes back the supporters are there en masse and I finish “strong” over the last 10 km (4:50 per km). Time in the marathon 3h45min (I was hoping for a 3h20 or 3h30 but I pushed too hard on my bike).
So I finished satisfied and in good shape in 10:33 (even if my marathon time embarrassed me, I told myself that it was not too bad anyway), I finished 7th in the scratch and 2nd in my group of age ! A very good first long distance triathlon despite the weather.
The next day a brunch in the city center is offered by the organ, which allowed to discuss with them as well as the participants. A big thank you to the organ and the volunteers for this event. It was unfortunately the last edition of the long distance triathlon and I am very happy to have taken part. I will surely do the half next year, the organ is graciously offering a place for each participant of the 2014 spirit to participate in the 2015 half spirit! Nice gesture on their part.
Finisher medal plus sweatshirt and commemorative plaque for the top 3 in each category!