Triathlon de La Vallée de Joux

Back in the Washing Machine! Swim mass-start has been largely under scrutiny over the past few years… To be honest I cannot find the last time I had a proper water swim start / mass-start. Last few races were always a) rolling start, 4 by 4… or b) split by groups of 50s or 100s… Of course today was only a few hundreds people (350+ men at 9h55 and 150+ women at 10h05?) but still…

MASS START + SPRINT (ONLY 500m) + Of course I drifted towards the front before the gun went off = Back in the washing machine! Arms punching, Feet kicking, bodies jumping over, waves everywhere, missing breaths and swimming flat out… OMG I had forgotten the feeling… Especially when you look behind and see 600 arms moving towards you full speed! 🙂 No escape, the only way out is to keep going as fast as possible…

Obviously the big drawback is that with a mass start over a short distance swim, everybody is on the bike at the same time +/- and here again it is only a short loop around the lake 23km. Impossible to manage drafting and quite frustrating indeed. After 5km going over 43kph avg I eased down and a group of TT bike caught me and we are between 43/45 kph. Difficult to motor away… And annoying to ease back 10 meters for each bike passing you… In the end I let them go but then I could see 30 riders in a large pack 100m in front of me. I managed to keep the 100m distance with the pack for 10km and another pack of 20 guys caught me before T2. I am sure it was the same story for many participants. And the 1min penalty (if enforced) is not that detrimental versus soft pedaling for 10+ km… No easy solution here as only a rolling start at the beginning of the swim would allow non-drafting somewhat. Honestly I would suggest a drafting bike (and forbid Tri bars and Tt bikes for safety reasons). Which would be similar to ITU standards / Super League with a MUST-SWIM-FAST to make the pack on the bike. Hard pack riding and then the outcome comes on the run.

Overall happy to be racing again. A bit far on each leg but quite expected given the minimal training. Still very fun. And SPRINT distance is perfect for motivation as you can race no matter your fitness. There are always people everywhere in front of you, behind you, so no excuses… Keep pushing!

Beautiful place to stay & enjoy the scenery.

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