Day 4: BARCELONA TRIATHLON – 17 October 2010
Before booking this holiday, I had no plans to do a triathlon here. The most planned was a few days cycling in Emporda. But once booked I somehow found out that the triathlon was taking place in Barcelona that weekend. I toyed with the idea of doing it, even the sprint distance, but in the end couldn’t say no, as it would be a unique way to discover the city. The course looked fun, with a cycle route up Diagonal and around la Villa Olimpica.
The elites started at 8am (including world champion Javier Gomez Goya), while I was in wave 6 at 9.50am. I cycled down from the hotel. The city was quiet on a Sunday morning, except for a few groups falling out of bars and clubs from the night before. Over 5,000 competitors converged on the beach near Mar Bella. The transition area for the Olympic distance race was in a sports centre, taking up the entire rugby field. It was well laid out, with numbered spots for racking the bike. The only problem was the bottleneck of entering and exiting through the sports centre.
The swim start was great for spectators. It was a running start from the beach into the crashing waves. We swam in a triangle around a number of buoys, landing on the next beach. I felt good on the swim, although I’d been thinking a lot about my stroke recently and why I can’t swim faster. I was disappointed to see 36 min on the watch when I ran up the slip. It felt like 30m or so. What had happened? After the race I realised the elites were also slower than normal, so the currents must have made a difference.
I loved the bike ride. The bike route was 33km instead of 40km, incorporating 3 laps of 11km. It was full of twists and turns, so a world away from the standard 20km out a road and 20km back. This was exciting as drafting was allowed, so I hoped to get in a group and work together. The main section was up Avinguda Diagonal and then back down towards the beach. Unfortunately I didn’t get in a group, so was doing most of the work myself. The sights were amazing. We could see Torre Agbar, la Sagrada Familia, Hotel Arts, Montjuic and the Forum. My time was exactly 1:00h, so I was happy with that and didn’t feel tired.
The run was my best ever (40m). I felt great throughout and wish I’d pushed a little harder to break 40m. Next time! I’ve been worried this year about getting cramps in my side, probably due to taking on too many isotonic drinks or energy gels. But this time I started quickly and the legs felt good, so I kept the pace up. Luckily enough my watch still had the training pace set, so it I dropped below 4:05 min pace it beeped and told me to hurry up! This is a fast pace I thought, but tried to keep at it. It worked. Nobody passed me on the run. The course was full of turns, just like the bike ride, which made it interesting. Passing through el Parc de la Ciudatella and up to the Arc de Triomf were great, as was the finish along the beachwalk at Bogatell.
So crossing the finish line was great – the sun was shining, the crowds were out and they gave you a beer straight away (0% San Miguel with lemon). Javier Gomez Noya had won the elite race in 1h43m. He’s amazing. He did the run in 30min – if I sprinted I’d struggle to maintain that pace. What a legend. I managed 2h22m, which was a decent time but remember the bike was shorter than normal. I nearly beat the time of one celebrity, Carlos Checa, a local motorbike champion. So there’s always next year.
Read more race reports here:
- Photo gallery –Mundo Deportivo
- La Vanguardia – race report
- El Periodico – race report and video
- Mundo Deportivo – race report