Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Monday, 6 July 2009

Gritty, challenging summer fun (Kanaltriathlon 2009)

The day before the race, SR and I looked at the list of participants. 40 men and 7 women. From what we could tell, they were all known triathletes in Denmark and members of tri teams, except the lowly SR and Sea Legs. It was almost a relief for me to go into it knowing I would come in last.

The morning of the triathlon, I was still holding out hope that a couple people would come last minute just to try a triathlon for fun. But as the participants arrived with their plate wheels, aerodynamic helmets and tri-bars, it was clear we were the ones who were a bit out of place.

It would be an olympic distance triathlon:

1500 meter swim (that 30 pool laps/60 lengths)
40k bike
10k run

We have a little experience with the sprint distance, but the olympic distance is quite a bit longer.

As we were all entering the water, I suddenly realized I had a problem. "I have to go to the bathroom!" I said, panicked, to SR. Of course, when you already have your wetsuit on and you have to do more than pee, this is a huge problem. Since there were no nearby woods, I and a 7 year old girl found the only bush and entertained the many spectators lined up on the shore. A good start!

With lightning speed, I pulled up my wetsuit and basically lept into the rocky canal. The water was beautifully warm, with a brownish-green color, which is best not to contemplate at great length.

The horn blew. I kept a steady pace, right behind SR, near the back of the pack. We have taught ourselves the crawl in the last two years and it is kind of fun that we swim at basically the same pace. Suddenly, I could no longer see SR, but I figured he had gotten ahead. I later learned that he had instead gotten off course and ran into the cement wall along the side of the canal.

Despite SR's detour, we exited the water, I after him, with a time between 34 and 35 minutes. A year ago, the fastest I could swim this distance was about 40 minutes. To put this all in perspective, though, the first place triathlete's swim time was 17:27 (this is Rasmus Petræus, an elite Danish swimmer)!

The bike was kind of embarrassing since I was one of perhaps 3 people without a tri bar. But somehow I was able to not slip too far behind SR, which we were both surprised by. It was a down a back course six times, thus we got to cycle through a big crowd of spectators 12 times. It was such an awesome feeling!

My 40k bike time was 1:27.

The 10k run was great. The route was on a path that took us down to the ocean and then back twice. I never got to find out my overall time or place, though, since their chip system stopped working. THAT was a big bummer.

I'm guessing the run was 44 minutes, giving me an overall time of 2:50. I was about 3/4 of the way through the pack, much to my astonishment.

SR had an amazing run with a time of 36:37, putting him at about the middle of the pack with an overall time of 2:30.

Here's a picture of the scene afterwards. And you can get a glimpse of the canal.

I have always been a bit annoyed by triathlons because they necessitate so much fancy equipment. But now that I have experienced the exhilaration of an event like this, it seems well worth the investment. Plus, in Denmark, it seems much less like an event for the elite; even people who make minimum wage (almost $20 an hour here) can participate.

The next step will be to buy a tri-bar and some bike shorts (to avoid the painful chafing I had between the legs). Then we'll find a half ironman, which is a bit longer and favors runners compared to the olympic distance.

Speaking of grit and summer fun, we did have to miss out on the Roskilde Festival Naked Run this past weekend. See a video here:

Running Song of the Day:

A couple cheesy pop songs, perfect for summer

Love Story by Taylor Swift
Back to the 80's by Aqua


Danni said...

Congrats on your triathlon! It's a lot of multi-tasking but usually well worth it!

Oh, the thing about tris is that they always favor the cyclist. Which I am not.

cherelli said...

Congratulations! Neat to hear you've yet another sport to take up. Oh, and get some "Chamois Butter" at the same time you get the bike pants, I religiously apply it before every bike ride in those chafing bits :)