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This year’s biggest triathlon event was in Lausanne. It’s always a privilege to racing for your country and not many people are able to do so. I wasn’t going to let that opportunity pass when I qualified in 2018 for the 2019 ITU World Championships in Lausanne. Especially when it’s a home race. I had already once represented Switzerland in 2015 at the ITU European Championships in Geneva, but this time it was the world stage, only the best of each country and field was highly competitive, the atmosphere was unbelievable, and the amount of spectators was surreal. Here is my race report !
The swim is a 750m 1 loop course in Lake Geneva. Only two buoys to think about. The 20km bike course is quite technical with some sharp uphills and downhills, and a few turns that make the draft legal course quite tricky. The run course is a killer; a 5km mainly flat course but short segments of up and down in a park with very important percentages on the slopes.
Having mainly trained for long distances this year, especially in the summer at Epic Camp, I did not train at all for all out efforts but I had a very good aerobic base. I knew I wouldn’t have the speed needed to compete but I wanted to make my country proud and give absolutely everything !
The swim went pretty well. Since the lake was warm it was a none wetsuit swim, which favours the swimmers. I almost prefer it so you don’t have the faff of the wetsuit in transitions, especially for such short swims. It was a wave start by age group so there were a few hundreds in my start.
I decided to let the fast guys go and battle out in the Lake Leman which would quickly become a washing machine! I drifted a bit on the right hand side, which meant I probably did some extra distance but I was clear of any other swimmers and could get into a good rhythm. My time wasn’t bad but I didn’t have my usual “speed” but overall I was very happy with that time.
Swim time : 13 min 30 sec
The goal was to race at about 270 watts, but since it was draft legal the goal was to really find a nice group and work together. Unfortunately I never found the group and pretty much rode solo for the 20km. My swim was probably too slow to catch the front group of cyclists, but too “fast” to be with the slow swimmers. Ah well that’s racing! I gave a really good go on the course but knew I had to save a little energy for the run, so I was cautious not to overpower and go in the red zone too much. Since I knew the course very well I was able to overtake quite a few people on the technical descents and use the course to my advantage. I just couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to and my watts were lower than predicted, but I knew I had the legs for a good run now !
Bike time : 31 min 30 sec / Average power 250 watts
The run went also pretty well. Not on fire but a good run ! The aim was to run at an average pace of 3:45min per km but knowing there were sharp uphills the average would quickly drop. I felt ok at the beginning but couldn’t really let go. On the uphills I had to almost walk in the Olympic Park; that’s how uphill it was. However on the downhill I let my body go and let gravity do all the work; I was sprinting down the small hills and overtaking bucketload of other competitors.
As I reached the flat again, I saw my friend Marisa and her husband Bill who shouted encouragement and this was the boost I needed. 2.5km to go; let’s go all out ! I ran as quickly as I could and tried to ignore all the signs from my body and mind; all I was thinking about was to run as fast as possible for my country. It worked, as not many people overtook me on the run and I crossed the finish absolutely exhausted but really proud and happy to have participated in such a huge event in the triathlon calendar.
Run time : 19 min 53 sec
It was a really fun race. I love racing in sprint triathlon as you have to give absolutely everything from the start. There are almost no tactics; just 100% max effort ! Today I wasn’t on fire, but it was a pretty solid triathlon. Good swim, good bike, good run. I finished 38th in my age group in a time of 1 hour 9 minutes and 50 seconds.
I truly recommend all of you to race short distances every now and again; sprints are fun and force you to give absolutely everything. It’s not always about Ironman and long distances. Same goes for running or cycling. Join small local events, support the community around you and have fun !
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