Sun, 05 Sep 2004

End of season 2004

Today I was supossed to run a promotion triathlon in Moncofa, but I ended up not turning up. One reason is that I had a very bad contracture in my right shoulder. Another reason, and probably more important, is that I didn't think there would be a triathlon at all. On Saturday I went to have lunch to the beach and after all of these days of bad weather, the sea was very rough. An indication of bad weather in València is when the Malvarosa beach is packed with windsurf sails, and yesterday it really was.

Óscar and I decided to not go at all, because waking up at 6:30 for nothing would have been very annoying... and we were very right: this morning the triathlon was cancelled and the ran a duathlon instead.

I wanted Moncofa to be the final competition this year, so I'm officially on triathlon vacation now for a few weeks. This means no kind of training for a few very good days until we start the new season in late September. Of course, a few changes in my life are going to keep me quite busy in the next few weeks, so all of this extra free time is very welcome.

The season could have gone a lot better. During Winter, I had to overcome a variety of injuries in ankles and knees, plus a never-ending cold. And when the good weather came, I was quite unmotivated, which really doesn't help in this sport. I am only happy about the result in Santa Pola and Oliva. I hope 2005 goes better overall.

Thu, 26 Aug 2004

Spanish triathlon disaster

This morning I met with a few of my team mates before going to work to watch the Athens triathlon on TV. Spain had a nice team, Iván Raña, Eneko Llanos and Xavi Llobet, and specially Raña was called to fight for the medals. There had been a bit of controversy in the Spanish triathlon world about Xavi's participation in the team, as many people thought Javi Gómez-Noya should have been selected instead of him, but Xavi's mission was exclusively to help Iván in the cycling segment so he could save his legs for the run.

The swimming segment went very well, and the three of them came out just a few seconds after the leader. Everything looked promising, until Xavi got to the steep ramp in the cycling circuit. The 22% slope made him lose contact with the group of his team mates, and he couldn't do his job at all. Iván didn't have his greatest day either, and the gap between his pack and the leading group started to get bigger and bigger, until they started the run with around two minutes lost. Even so, Iván should have gained a few positions, as he's one of the best triathletes in the running segment, but again he sunk and lost more time with the leaders, two Kiwis and a Swiss. Eneko ended a few positions in front of Iván. We know triathlons are many times a roulette and many things can happen, but this result was totally unexpected.

So, with this deception we went to our working places, and when I got back home I was able to see how the Spanish basket team was beaten by the Dream Team, which isn't close to a dream team anyway. Lovely Olympic Games...

Athens 2004

The week I was in Oxford I couldn't follow the Olympics at all, but since I've come back home, I've been tracking them quite closely. On Tuesday I saw one of the best handball games I remember. Spain vs. Germany, which ended with the latter winning on the penalty round, after two extra times and lots and lots of emotion during the last 25 minutes of play. That same day, El Guerruj finally won his gold medal in the 1.500 race, a result many people were hoping for, as he's a living legend and had deserved the medal two times already. And to end the day, Isinbayeva's great pole vault jumps winning the gold medal and breaking her previous world record. Olympic days like these are great.

Today was the women's triathlon in the Olympic Games. Spain had some chances of being on the podium, but the cycling segment was too tough for Pili Hidalgo, and Ana Burgos couldn't do much about the big gap the leading group made in the swim. With such hot temperatures and that very tough cycling (there's a ramp of 23% or so), the men's triathlon tomorrow promises to be very open and interesting. Let's hope Ivan Raña is a bit lucky and can be at the top positions.

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!

Mon, 26 Jul 2004


On Saturday, I spent all day in Antella during the class B triathlon held in the town. I didn't run myself, but helped my teammates giving them food, water and of course, support. The triathlon is quite good because the swim is held in one of the biggest rivers around the Valencian territory, Xúquer, in a place where the water is a bit more calm and the current isn't so strong. The distances are double than in a normal Olympic triathlon: 2.500m swimming, 80km cycling and 20km running. This year, it started at 15:30 instead of 8:00, as last year the running segment turned out to be hell itself, at 13:00 or so, in the middle of the heat wave. This year the only people who really suffered the heat were assistants, so that's probably ok. :)

While the triathletes concentrated for the race two hours before, the rest of us had a nice bath in the river, and killed the time jumping down from a 10 metre fall and then climbing up again.

During the triathlon, we were quite busy taking pics and helping our team mates, and after 5 hours of competition and a few more of wait for the award ceremony (we were second in the team rank), we went back to València at 23:30 or so. We should to Antella more often, having baths in l'assut is a lot more fun than the beach.

Sun, 18 Jul 2004


I got back from Vinaròs, from our second Olympic distance tri. I couldn't have gone worse for me...

Instead of waking up at 4:45AM this morning, Gabi, Pelúo and I decided to go in the caravan the day before, sleep there and have plenty of time to prepare stuff in the morning. The rest of the team came by bus at 6AM, to arrive pretty tight on time at 8:00. So, the three of us went to Vinaròs, got there at 20:00 or so. We looked for some place to park, which wasn't easy as most of the streets near the triathlon area were going to be cleared of cars to setup boxes, and the others would probably would be packed of drunk, noisy people in a few hours. So we found a nice place 1 kilometre away, near the beach. It had been a long time since the last time I went to sleep with the sound of the sea so near, it was quite relaxing. When 4 drunk youngsters sat down outside the caravan at 2AM and started to laugh and talk loudly, though, it stopped being relaxing. Happily they went away when we kindly told them to and could continue sleeping until 7 when we entered triathlon mode and didn't stop until we crossed the finish line.

During the race, all sorts of stuff happened to me... In the swim, someone managed to remove my swimming goggles entirely, and I had to stop and look for them around me before the sank. My orientation sucked and I had to correct my course several times. Then, when I got my bike in boxes, the chain got off the plate and despite me trying three times, I couldn't put it back in without getting of the bike and doing it by hand. Finally, in the running segment, my quadricep problems were back (just in my right leg this time), and I had to stop a few times. Again, I didn't abandon, but I probably should have. I ended with a very discrete time. Pics of Vinaròs are already up on our site.

I really hope my luck changes for Oliva. I have one month to prepare, as I didn't qualify for the Spanish championships in Valladolid and I'll be away for Cuenca's triathlon, which would have been good.

Mon, 05 Jul 2004

Back from El Pont de Suert

It's been an exhausting weekend, but very, very fun.

We left at 16:00 or so after I left my workplace and had lunch in about 6 minutes. After a drive to the Pyrenees without incidents, we got to the town at 22:00, found a place to camp and went to sleep after dinner. We spent all Saturday seeing things around the area, like the lake where we'd swim, and specially the romanic churches in Boí and Taüll. We went back to Pont de Suert to hear the triathlon's briefing, and finally back to the camping to prepare for the triathlon.

On Sunday morning we woke up early, had a quick breakfast and headed to the town again, to prepare the second boxes, where we left our running shoes and a cap for the sun. We left the caravan there too, took our bikes, the wetsuits and our swimming and cycling stuff and headed to the lake, where the first boxes were. We prepared everything quickly and some minutes later we were starting the 1.500m swim. Swimming in lakes is a lot better than sea in many ways, but above all, because if you accidentally swallow water it's not the end of the world like with salt water. The cycling segment was hard. After getting out of the water, the road would never stop going up until km. 23, where we turned around and descended at 60km/h to Pont de Suert. The running segment made the triathlon the toughest one we've ever run. They took us through a forestal road with many steep areas, with a lot of heat and sun. I had plenty of muscular problems in my quadriceps, and should have abandoned at km. 3, but decided to finish no matter what, and at km. 6 my legs started to hurt a bit less so I could continue running more or less normally the reimaining 4 kilometres. I ended the running segment in 1:01h, probably 15 minutes more than expected, but at least I crossed the finish line.

Soon after finishing, we had a quick shower, packed our bags and bicycles in the caravan and started our return to Valencia. After dealing with a road cut by some farmers in Maials and a tire blow-out (with no further implications thanks to Gabi's driving expertise), we managed to get home at 22:00, little after Greece scored their goal in the Euro final.

It's been a nice triathlon weekend, with the bonus of going back to my loved Pyrenees after 5 years.

Wed, 30 Jun 2004

Pont de Suert

On Friday, 5 members of our team are going to el Pont de Suert (Lleida), for our first Olympic triathlon this season. We're all looking forward to this, as normally the competitions that involve travelling and going out of our usual Valencian triathlon circuit are the most exciting and the ones that are best remembered months later.

We'll leave as soon as we all leave our work places, travel for about 6h in a caravan packed with bikes and go straight to the camping nearest to the lake where we'll have to swim. We'll spend Saturday visiting the zone, which has a few Romanic churches and monuments. Being in the Pyrenees, I expect the area to be quite beautiful too.

On Sunday, at 9:30AM, we'll start the triathlon. I feel a bit uneasy about it because my training in the last weeks hasn't been as good as it could have been with the periostitis injury in my right leg and a general lack of motivation. I hope I'll do more or less ok in the swimming -wetsuits will be permitted, as the water will be quite cold- but cycling will probably be quite hellish, as it's in the middle of the mountains. What I fear most is the 10km run, after the hard bicycle. Until now, I had run acceptably well in the sprint distances, but now the conditions change: besides being double distance, we'll be running at about 11:30, with the Sun hitting us hard. I already have my arms burnt of our last byclicle training last Sunday, and I fear that I might get even worse burns this time, as we won't be able to use any Sun protection (well, we can try, but it'll be useless if we put on a wetsuit). We'll see how it goes...

Sun, 27 Jun 2004

Volta a Peu a Godella

This evening I ran in the Second Volta a Peu a Godella. There wasn't too much level, and when I crossed the finish line, there only were about 30 (out of ~400) participants ahead of me. It's the first time I end up so high in the rank in a race, but it probably had no merit. Oh, it was a 5kms race, and I estimate I did just below 20 minutes. Acceptable, for me, and more after these weeks of no training due to the evil periostitis.

Bedtime now, I have cycling training tomorrow morning.

Sun, 06 Jun 2004

Santa Pola

Today's triathlon was the first I was really happy about my result. Santa Pola is a 2:30h away from València, and we had to get up scarily early to be in time for the boxes check. We left at 6AM, which meant getting up at 4:45... insane.

Santa Pola's is a nice triathlon. Today was the second edition and for the first time I could repeal the blows in the water more or less ok, managed to get in the group before me in the cycling segment, and ran at around 4mins/km in the final segment, ending with a quite ok (for me) 1:06:00 mark in a sprint distance. The following triathlons are all olympic distance, let's see if I keep it up.

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