Triathlon

10 Posts in this category
Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 23rd, 2018 In: Blog News Triathlon X-terra Comments: 0

XTERRA ROMANIA 2018

Yes yes, as you can see, this is a race report, despite the fact that I officially retired from racing last September, that I have barely trained in the meantime, that…well there were countless good reasons to stop (tired body, better things to do etc), but surely there has to be a ‘come-back’ before calling it quits for real?

 

(Silvia says it’s the last one!)

 

Joking aside, this is NOT a come back. The motivation behind this race is mainly to qualify to Maui and have a good excuse for another escapade in Kauaï, after the World Champs. Silvia and I had the time of our life out there 4 years ago, and we want to relive the dream.

 

I am not so fit any more, not racing fit anyway, as I took most of the winter off, focusing on nights out and missed sleep instead. And the only training I’ve done on the bike this past year is…commuting in the city…

 

When I had this epiphany about returning to Hawaii a couple months ago, I looked at the calendar and the first weekend of August was the only one I found myself free from any gigs. Direction Romania then, a country I’d never been before and was quite curious to discover, if only for a few days. The race happened in the heart of Transylvania in Targu Mures, a biggish city some 500+ km north of Bucharest and nearly 2 hours drive from Cluj where we flew in.

 

The first surprise was…the rain! After the driest UK summer in history (barely a drop of rain since early June) we were welcomed in Cluj by a proper shower, the kind we’d forgotten about! The drive across the rolling Transylvania countryside was great, passing by medieval villages lined with plum trees everywhere, locals chilling by the road side, women selling their garden harvest and local craft; more women of all ages in traditional gypsy outfits, men on cart horses, saxon churches at every corner…nicely unfamiliar. Arriving in Targu Mures at night wasn’t that great though, but once we got settled in our airbnb flat in a building reminiscent of the communist era and found a nice local restaurant, we felt very much at ease. The food there is all about meat(s), goulash, polenta and some nice wine too. Not very triathlete friendly, but quite good anyway.

 

 

The next day I left Silvia to her studies at the (spectacular) local library, and went to check out the bike and run courses. Being an urban race this is not as wild as I’d imagined, but still they have a nice park on top of a hill overlooking the city, where you can find multiple trails, a tartan circuit (!), a zoo (!) and all kind of family activities. Nico Lebrun certainly did find some hills when he came here to design the courses earlier in the year. Not the most technical bike course, but challenging nonetheless with about 600m+ of elevation in total, and nicely muddy too. In fact Peter Klocz the race director told me it’d been raining non stop the past week and he was very close to cancel the race – the course was pretty much unridable on the Monday! I had brought only summer tyres with no spares, so perfect…

 

 

 

The swim would take place in an artificial lake in town some 3.5 km down from T2. No pre race swim allowed (Nico said I wouldn’t want to anyway) except in the massive leisure complex next to it, boasting several pools of all sizes, toboggans, local families on holiday eating fried stuff and drinking beer by 30ºC in the shade, some euro trash music blasting on the speakers…needless to say I didn’t last very long!

 

 

We also had time for an escapade to Sighisoara, a UNESCO World Heritage site boasting ancient churches, a walled town center, thousands of years of history. Also the birth place of Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula. Well worth a visit!

 

 

The evening before the race, we skipped the meat fest of the local restaurants and opted for a loved and trusted pasta meal cooked by Silvia. It’s been 10 months since my/our last pre race evening, which is long and short at the same time depending on how you look at it, and even though some nerves were present I felt surprisingly relaxed and eager to roll.

Finally, as we were about to wrap up for the night, out of nowhere came the dreaded and instantly recognisable sound of a slow puncture…pssssss…We both laughed as this was a déjà vu situation (see Xterra Greece), 10pm pre race and a little bit of unnecessary stress but it almost felt like a relief! I had no spare so just pumped the tyre and spun the wheel hoping the preventive liquid inside would do its job and seal the hole overnight…

 

Somehow n the morning the tyre was still pumped. Phew. We headed to T2, had a laugh in the playground (!) before I cycled down to T1 (which served me as a warm-up plus reverse course recon at same time). The forest was eerily beautiful at that time, seemingly unaware of the battlefield it would become less than an hour later.

 

 

 

The start went a bit like this:

 

 

With Ben Allen on my right on the start line I knew who was going to lead out the swim…I managed to stay on the leaders’ feet for 3-4 minutes, but then gradually lost contact and found myself on my own in between 2 groups. I never got into a comfortable rhythm actually, which isn’t surprising after having done virtually no intensity in the pool in almost a year. The swim was short though ( I came out 7th in 16:10!) and I quickly found myself caught in T1 and starting the ride with female leader Brigitta Poor and Ciprian Balanescu of Romania. I put the hammer down as soon as we started the climb, put a gap instantly and felt great. However as we reached the first descent I got a bit carried away and crashed on a tight slippery corner.  I was also already quite in the red by that point. Balanescu came back from behind alongside mountain bike specialist Pierric Brochet. I kept these guys in sight for a while, but also understood that I needed to ride at my own pace. My head wanted to race and fight but my body reminded me I hadn’t been kind to it this past year! On the 3rd lap however I started to feel better and  I was surprised to arrive in T2 only a few seconds behind the Romanian rider. From that point on I just wanted to enjoy the run ahead, despite a tender Achilles and some killer steep climbs Nico Lebrun style.

 

DCIM100GOPROG0021535.JPG

 

 

 

As planned I didn’t push the run, breathing heavily on the climbs and suffering on the descents but enjoying the (rare) moments of relief in between (sic). I crossed the line a happy man in 8th, some 16 min behind the winner Arthur Serrieres!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick massage, BIG lunch, short nap and off we went, back on the road to Cluj where I was invited by the club/record shop/balearic DJ terrace Collectiva Gazette to DJ with them on that very same night! It was great to meet up and connect with the underground Romanian scene. Quite niche obviously (especially at a time when the city is literally invaded by hordes of kids for the EDM festival Untold…Armin Van Burren and co…ouch!) but they are pretty active and an oasis of culture. Much recommended if you’re in Cluj!

 

 

On the Sunday we managed to eat some more meat (!), hike around the (touristy!) Turda gorge, bath in a natural salty lake, enjoy more meat…all in all a very memorable first taste of Romania!

 

 

 

 

 

And on this note, expect to see me on the start line in Maui come late October!!!

Posted By: Cedric On: Oct 15th, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 5

IRONMAN BARCELONA – ONE LAST HURRAH

Exactly 2 weeks on post IM Barcelona and having done no exercise whatsoever since I crossed that finish line, I find myself watching the World Champs in Kona in a  rather emotional state. Of course I can totally feel the pre race nerves on these athletes, the anticipation of a great battle ahead, but mainly I can’t help seeing MYSELF there. Thinking, as they start exiting the water and I recognise some athletes I usually swim with, I would have been in that group, I would have done this and that…but I am NOT in Kona. I will never get to race that race. Not only that, but I will not be racing in the pro ranks anymore at all. This is a decision I took at the beginning of the season and it’s been a long time coming, but it seems like I had somehow buried this thought in the back of my brain up until this point. And now, as the athletes reach the turn around point at Hawi the realisation is finally hitting me and it’s a tough one… + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Sep 25th, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Uncategorized Comments: 1

70.3 Weymouth – Part II

Being on the start line of the Weymouth 70.3 race, 3 months and a bit after my last race and only a month after announcing my imminent retirement, was already a victory in itself. Not that I expected much, having had only a few pain free runs and a training regime somewhat chaotic what with a summer filled with festivals and gigs (and ensuing sleep deprived week-ends) every single week. In fact I hadn’t had a week-end off partying since Japan in early June! But, having teamed up at the last minute with my mate and 70.3 novice Evgeny, here I was back on the Jurassic coast nonetheless, planning to use this race as a good training day that would hit the reset button on and turn me into a triathlete again, albeit for a short amount of time. Because yes, Ironman Barcelona is only 2 weeks away, and as previously explained this will be my last race as a professional athlete. + more

Posted By: Cedric On: May 23rd, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 0

Ironman Lanzarote 2017

Having declared in my race recap post Lanza 2015 how glad I was to have finished because that meant I wouldn’t have to do it again…well here I was toeing the start line one more time 2 years later. DNF in 2013, 9th in 2015, what would 2017 bring? A hard race that is a certainty, but what else, and why the change of mind? + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Mar 15th, 2017 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 3

IRONMAN NEW ZEALAND – A FIASCO

I missed a turn…

 

 

One thing I get asked repeatedly by a lot of people (namely my mum and my girlfriend) is to explain the motivations behind this triathlon malarkey – when will I stop ? It’s a tough one to answer really as any endurance athlete can find new goals and challenges pretty much ad vitam aeternam. I think though the main reason I am still sweating buckets going nowhere in my living room in order to compete at pro level having now just turned 40 and despite having arguably a better career to focus on (phew, breathe here!), is because I know I still haven’t reached my full potential. And I want to (reach it). As per customary with elite sport, I went through as many highs as lows over the years, but somehow I tend to dwell on those missed opportunities a lot more than on the successes. As a runner I always seemed to get injured while at the peak of my form, and hence never got the times/results I knew I could have had. When I tore my Achilles in the final of the U23 french national championship, 300m for the finish line, that was one injury too many and I stopped my running career right there. I was in the shape of my life that day and fighting for glory and a definite PB when injury stroke again. This was a pivotal time in my life as I then took a 180º turn away from competitive sport, but the feeling of unfinished business never left me.

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Posted By: cedric On: Aug 23rd, 2016 In: Blog Photos Triathlon Comments: 0

Norseman 2016

Un résumé de la course en français se trouve ici sur le site de Trimes:

 

My whole 2016 season has been shaped around this AA race. The preparation started at the beginning of November, when the list of selected athletes was announced. I must have read the race manual at least a dozen times to make sure I was ready come race day with every technical, physical and logistic aspects of this mythical race. That leaves plenty of time (9 months) to have recurring dreams about one of the most renowned and most coveted finish lines in the world of triathlon. The summit of the G.A.U.S.T.A.T.O.P.P.E.N.

 

Norseman means support team. You don’t race on your own like in a regular triathlon. Nobody will get DQed for outside assistance here. In fact this is compulsory, as the only 2 aid stations are at K25 and K32.5 of the run, some 8 hours + into the race. The team that follows us throughout the day is there to feed us, dress/undress us, calm our nerves, shout at us, encourage us, etc. This is one of the key aspects that makes this race so special. Then of course you have the course (unique and magical nordic landscape, cold fjords, 5 ‘cols’ on the bike for a total elevation of 3360m, and last but not least possibly the hardest run of any iron event with the 12K of Zombie Hill averaging 10% followed by 5K of fell ‘running’ (scrambling really) to reach the finish line, at an altitude of 1883m). Add to this a rather hostile and unpredictable weather, and that gives you a never ending yet unforgettable day out ! + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Apr 8th, 2016 In: Blog News Triathlon X-terra Comments: 0

XTERRA MALTA

In early March I was in the best shape I’ve been at that time of the year. To validate all the hard labor I took part of the Mudman duathlon, which I hadn’t done since 2009 (then my first ever duathlon) when I finished 2nd behind a certain Sam Gardner. I remember not being able to walk for a couple days afterwards. Up and down and up and down and repeat ad infinitum; nothing technical just a hard and honest race. The preps for Norseman started here. After a prudent start I slowly but surely ran past everyone and entered T1 with a 15sec lead, feeling easy. After 3/4 of the bike I was 1:30 ahead and just had to cruise home. Then somehow a rock (I believe, as this all happended underwater – yes we had to ride (and run) knee deep for about 100m each lap) hit my rear mech which got caught in the wheel and destroyed as a result. Frame got cracked too. Game over that was. + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Dec 11th, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon Uncategorized Comments: 2

IM Malaysia 2015

 

The (very last minute) idea behind ironman Malaysia was to make one last use of my 2015 pro license, and depending on the result to decide afterwards whether to pursue the Kona dream and KPR race in 2016. Or not.

 

Obviously having never been to Malaysia the prospect of 10 days in the tropics in the middle of November was also a big bonus, and with my mum coming along it really was a no brainer. The big unknowns were my fitness level (what with 2 weeks off post xterra Japan in September then 1 week off sick in October and barely any running due to a micro tear in my left calf) and my ability to race long in extremely hot and humid conditions.

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Posted By: Cedric On: Sep 25th, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon Uncategorized X-terra Comments: 1

XTERRA JAPAN 2015

When I first heard a year ago about a new location for xterra Japan, I had the perfect excuse to plan another extended visit to one of my favorite destinations in the world. This was my 6th trip in the country in 4 years, and despite an embarrassing lack of progress in Japanese, I do feel like I have a second home here. And once again the trip lived up to and even beyond my expectations.

 

After spending the first half of the year preparing for and racing on the IM circuit, it was a welcome relief to be back on fat tyres and playing up and down muddy trails. I must have ridden my mtb 4 times max since Maui 10 months prior but I knew I had the fitness after a decent result at IM Kalmar.

In 2012 the race was in Marunuma, in the Gunma prefecture just a few hours outside of Tokyo, and it felt as remote as can be, with even a bear attack to add authenticity. This year it took place in and around Lake Kanayama, about 3 hours drive from Sapporo, Hokkaido. It didn’t look as stunning nor as remote as Marunuma, but still we had a nice enough background to play with. + more

Posted By: Cedric On: Aug 22nd, 2015 In: Blog News Triathlon Comments: 0

Ironman Kalmar

6 weeks after the huge deception of a DNF in Nice, I could finally toe a start line again and put that race in the past. Here I was in Kalmar, Sweden, roughly half way between Stockholm and Copenhagen, an unknown part of the world for me, with a vague expectation of a top 5, a sub 9 h and a sub 3 h…Finish at the very least!

 

I enrolled my dad for the journey to one of the most civilised countries on the planet, one that seems to live on berries, mushrooms, salmon and alcohol. At 6-7 euros a beer, this is not exactly the cheapest place around, but luckily we didn’t come here to get drunk.

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