Sun, 22 Aug 2004


We're back from Oliva, where this morning took place the XVI edition of the Triatló d'Oliva. Despite my bad feelings about this race, I'm quite happy with the result, having in mind I hadn't done any swimming in the three weeks before, and no cycling in two.

The day started with me not waking up at the correct time (5:45AM) as it seems I hadn't activated the alarm clock. Or it could be that it went off, I stopped it and don't even remember. In any case, I couldn't get asleep when I went to bed, and in the middle of the night my brother came in after going out and started snoring, which didn't help me either. In total I guess I might have got 3.5 hours of sleep or so. That's what you really need before a tough competition.

So after getting up late (woke up thanks to my mobile phone ringing - it seems to be useful after all), I had to do many things in about 15 minutes while my team mates waited for me. In the rush, I forgot the camera, and hoped Súper would bring his. We got to the meeting place in València half an hour late, quickly introduced the 5 bikes in the two cars and headed off to Oliva, which is about 75kms away.

Fortunately we arrived on time, when everyone was still setting up boxes, and didn't have to rush too much to be ready at the beach, although we had little time to warm up (in fact, I didn't have a chance of doing a few hundred metres to warm up, I couldn't get into the sea at all). And a few minutes after the women started their race, we started ours.

Oliva's triathlon is olympic distance, with 1.500m of swim, 45km of cycling and 10km of running. The swim is different to the other olympic triathlons around València, because you have to do two laps of 750 metres. Whoever came up with this idea should die, because it adds a bit of difficulty to the swim: after the first lap you have to run inside the water for a few metres, get out, and get in again, with some more metres or running against the waves. When you get down and start swimming again, you're completely out of breath and suffer for a few minutes until you recover a bit.

The first swimming lap was, as always, hard in the sense I got more blows than a boxer in the ring; I got a very nice one in my stomach when going round the second buoy. During the second lap I swam better, and managed to advance two team mates, as I learned later. I accidentally drank salty water a few times though, which is always bad. Back in boxes, I did a somewhat decent transition and went out with the bike.

The cycling segment takes us out of Oliva and heads towards Pego through a flat road. Once you get to Pego, you have to climb a mountain with a few very tough ramps, and go back to Oliva crossing the mountain through the other side. A few people passed me in the flat area, but as soon as the ramps started me and my team mate Rafa (who had come from behind) managed to recover a few positions.

In Oliva, as in Vinaròs, drafting is not permitted, but reality is quite different. As soon as we were back in the flat segment, a big peloton of around 10 triathletes came from behind, and not only they were drafting, they were also chatting and mostly relaxing. It sucks when this happens if it's banned... Of course, Rafa and I joined the group as we had no other choice, and a few kilometres later we were back in boxes, ready to start the 10.000.

The running segment goes through Oliva's promenade, after crossing a few streets inside the town, in two laps of five kilometres. Given my bad condition, I just wanted to complete the first five and abandon, remembering how much I suffered last year with the sun and the heat wave. But this morning, after kilometre 3, I saw it was going ok, and when I crossed the finish line for the first time I decided to continue, as I was feeling well (except for my periostitis, which was cursing me down there). The organization was providing bottled water every kilometre, which was quite welcome as we constantly needed to refresh our heads. There was a shower where you could refresh a bit too, but we tend to avoid it because if your running shoes get soaked, you're in big trouble for the rest of the run. At kilometre 8 I started to feel a bit of weakness, but I managed to continue more or less at the same pace for one kilometre, where I even found strength to speed up my pace a bit for the last kilometre.

I finished in 2:40, which is an acceptable time for me, when some team mates didn't even expect me to finish, and even after doing 48 minutes in the run. Other team mates, who always finish ahead of me didn't even finish, so I guess the result is pretty cool. I'm happy, at least. :) The results aren't up at the website yet, but the pics we've taken will be up at our gallery soon.

Now I just have to deal with my burned skin for a week or so, while I decide if I stop training for this season, or continue a bit more to do the last sprints of the season. My periostitis insists that I should stop now...

I can't wait to see the Athens 2004 triathlon on Thursday. GO, RAÑA!