MEC Triathlon Sprint format in Oka
After 4 weeks of vacation, practically without sport, drinking margaritas on the beach and champagne daily. The return to training is quite hard! The first training sessions are slow, very slow. I try my hand at intervals, go back to the pool and the results are very disappointing. But no race is in sight so it’s just a bit of a morale boost to see such slow lap times. Two weeks after returning to training, I was informed of a sprint triathlon: MEC Triathlon on September 18 in the Oka natural park. I’ve never done a distance sprint, and I think it’s a good way to re-motivate myself. A week before the event I register with a friend, Meng, $ 35 the event is pretty cheap. Thanks dude.
I arrive at the event site as soon as it opens (7am). We get in line to collect the bibs, a nice queue is formed and we wait in the woods filled with mosquitoes. After having had half of my blood volume aspirated, I access my bib, go to the marking and go to install my bike in the transition zone. Here the sites are free, you settle where there is room. The fact that your place is not imposed somewhat disturbs the choice and everyone wonders about the strategic location to take. I sit as close as possible to the entrance in transition # 2, I find Meng, and we go to taste the water at 19ºC. The atmosphere is good, we are given a quick briefing, roughly speaking:
You have foot everywhere while swimming.
Furrow zone to be respected: 10m.
Forbidden to any electronic device.
No full nude in the transition zone or elsewhere during the event.
The departure was scheduled for 8:30 am, but the delays caused us to start at 9 am.
Since the water is shallow, run in the water for a good 20 / 25m on the way in and a bit more on the exit, some athletes decide not to wear a wetsuit. I meet a friend, Olivier, with whom we meet regularly on triathlons.
We stand behind a line drawn on the sand, a count is quickly made and let’s go! Everyone rushes forward as far as possible in the water (until the level exceeds the knees approximately) then we dive. We swim along the beach, immediately the waves are felt and I drink a lot of water. Little contact with the other athletes, I am rather well placed, without being in the 1st pack, I still remain close to it. After 600m of swimming we are redirected towards the beach for a last 50 or 100m of swimming before finding the water at knee height and I run to get out of the water, 5 or 6 athletes in front of me walk and I them double it easy to reach the transition zone full of sand the feet 3 rdposition (while I come out of the water +/- 8 th ).
The transition goes quite quickly, a little sand is removed from the feet thanks to the wetsuit. Many athletes have a small tub filled with water to rinse their feet before putting their things on. It is a good idea for those who want comfort and to stay clean but in a sprint, no one has time for comfort. I tighten the shoes very tight once on the bike, immobilizing the foot well in the pump will avoid friction and blisters or irritation created by the sand.
I have 1 athlete in my sights, I tell myself that I must be second, but I also imagine that there may be others ahead. From the first 500m, my friend Olivier arrives at my level and passes me, I follow the rhythm, we take the lead of the race, and we exchange first place over the course following the ascending and descending parts. Then comes the U-turn and the first surprise; an athlete is in front of us. We meet him while he comes back in the opposite direction! I hadn’t seen that one. So I push to go and look for him, Olivier remains not far from me, at the front, and it is in the last 5 kilometers that I will pass the leader. There I am in 1 st place. Then Olivier passes me back in the last 300m to put the bike down for a few seconds in front of me (3 or 5 seconds).
I’m not worried, I know Olivier, in addition to sharing the same first name, we’ve done several triathlons together and it’s always in running where I usually manage to make a difference. So I put the bike down, I put on socks, shoes, cap, glasses, bib and on. And there second surprise; Olivier is already 150m ahead! He managed his transition very well.
The first km passes, I already take 100m, then later, I see signs with arrows indicating to turn left and Olivier has been straight ahead! I scream “OHOHOHOH, NO TO THE LEFT” he stops, looks at me, I indicate to him on the left, but I doubt at the same time… I turn around and return to the panels, yes it is indeed on the left! The 3rd and 4th arrive, no time to fool around, Olivier is already running in the opposite direction, to return to the course, 25m one way + 25m return which puts him in third place. I leave direct, so I place myself 1st, an athlete is second and Olivier 3rd all within 10 seconds of each other (but that I don’t know yet) I run “relaxed” the pace is correct (4 ‘/ km) but we are far from my pace usual race. The km 2.5 arrives where we turn around and where I can judge the distance on my opponents. Big surprise! They are 4 competitors within 10 seconds. There are 2.5km left, it’s time to hit the gas! I launch an attack (well a not too bad pace 3’40 ” / km but for an attack it’s not intimidating). Over these 2.5km I will not turn around once, on the other hand Olivier will tell me that the other 3 have not managed to follow (and we will even manage to put 2min apart at the finish with the 3rd). On the other hand Olivier keeps the rhythm, I hear his breath and his steps. The volunteers we meet tell us that the arrival will be epic. The other competitors that we meet also encourage us. I put in a second attack when I see the last mile sign. Olivier walks away, at least I can’t hear him anymore. Then the course takes us through the beach, in the sand! I lose my support, my ankles flex, I sink, suddenly Olivier seeing me struggling gets more to the right and he is right, it’s much more stable on the shoulders, the time to get out of the sandbox he is on my heels again, I can hear his breathing again on the back of my neck. It’s the last 500 meters and I am in split, 200m the arch is in front of us, it is just behind my right shoulder! 100m I’m still ahead and the sprint is on, hands are open fingers outstretched and my facial expression makes every spectator feel pain. He walks past me! 20m I send all I have left, go back up, I start and we cross the finish line together!
Everyone congratulates us, nobody knows who crosses the 1st line , with Olivier we both hope that they will place us tied for 1st .
Then arrive the podium, and relying on the so-called “meticulous” timing of the chip they will separate us by one hundredth of a second. So I finished in 1h07’48.2 ” and Olivier in 1h07’48.3 ”.