Triathlon di Lerici
Triathlon di Lerici is an Oly (Saturday) and Sprint (Sunday) Tri in Lerici, a small town in Liguria Italy. I signed up for the sprint - 800 meter swim, 12.5 mile bike, and 3 mile run and raced solo.
My first open water swim since IM Italy (September 2017), I was crazy nervous ~ are you surprised!?
The sea here though is like swimming in a giant swimming pool. It's crystal clear and smooth as glass. I had a pretty decent panic about 200 meters out and even searched quickly for a bail out boat but just as quick, with a thousand thoughts at once, said, eh screw it, just go!
I felt decently strong just didn't like that there wasn't a middle buoy. I think I'm spoiled with Ironman and all their water safety efforts. There was a first turn buoy and then a longggggg stretch of open sea. I'm a buoy to buoy kinda gal... so I just counted my strokes to 100 over and over to distract my brain and tried to stay near people. Calmingly, I always had a boat in site. Add a buoy!!
I hung on to one gal for awhile, mostly because I don't like feeling alone. And when she got away, stayed next to a guy the rest of the way. Most of you want complete space and privacy out there; I'm the opposite. I NEED to be around people or I feel alone and vulnerable.
I pulled off a good swim but glad it was over at 800 meters.
Swim - 16 minutes and 50 seconds (1:57/100yd)
Transition was long and skinny and I was on the far end. So I ran ran ran my way down and made it out in 2 minutes 22 seconds.
The bike - my goodness it was tougher than I expected! 2 loops from Lerici to San Terenzo, Tre Strade, to Bagnola and Pugliola, and back around through Lerici.
It was basically a constant climb with just one downhill twice. A twisting, hair pin turn, steep downhill! I'm actually more afraid of those downhills than swimming in the open water!! Maybe. Not really. But point made... it's scary!
I dropped my chain twice almost right away. So I babied my gears the entire time. But it was okay. I reminded myself, just enjoy your ride -while all the men were zooming by me in 3-4 man pelotons (that's legal here). 2 girls passed me and I passed 1. Otherwise, all men. I think mostly everyone beat me out of the swim anyway, so I was back of the pack. And I'm perfectly okay with that!! Italian triathletes are COMPETITIVE!
The roads were good condition; completely closed course. Plenty of support blocking intersections and guiding us through roundabouts. The men on the course were pretty aggressive; the entire feel was competitive, unfriendly, and vulture-esque. You won't find a bunch of beginners giving it a TRI. Not like in the states.
Even with the 1,050 feet of climbing in the short 12.5 miles, I'm not impressed with my overall: 56 minutes (13.5 mph average). Well below my norm. My buddy commented, "you need to do hill repeats". He got a big giant FUCK YOU for that one! Ha!!
Back through transition in 1 minute and 38 seconds.
The run course is two loops along the sea. Mostly flat, except this one incline (that you hit from both sides). It was really important for me not to walk during this run and really see what my knee was going to do. Even though I slowed wayyyy down once or twice during an incline, I didn't walk! And I ended up with a good run time and a happy run! I smiled the whole way and just stayed steady. I saw both Emma and Michelle (my tri girlfriends) on the course. It's a really fun run course with lots of spectator friendliness. But it's no Ironman, so spectators were few. And instead of being impressed by what you're doing, Italians are more like, WHAT THE, WHY THE... w/one eyebrow up. It's a different environment than the states (or an Ironman) for sure! Knee recap-feels GREAT!! Back to running for sure!!
As the last few people were finishing, the bottom dropped out of the sky and rain came crashing down (thank you for waiting!!!). The staff reacted quickly pulling up carpets, getting athletes their bags and bikes, and moving awards to the local communale (like city hall) and as we say in the military, adjusted fire.
Overall, Spezia Triathlon did a fantastic job putting on Triathlon di Lerici. A very well organized race with a quick flat swim, challenging bike, and fast run followed by a pasta party.
Hey and I got 2nd place in my age group! (they should totally let me design their medals next year!)