Scandinavian Hell Hole

As alluded to in the previous post, it’s been a long time coming, but the time has finally come where I’m healthy enough stage to don a race suit in anger. Kicking things off with a French GP in Valence with a solid 36 hrs of recovery time from the long haul flight from Brisbane isn’t something you’ll find in any triathlon textbook (should such things exist), but surprisingly enough, jet lag didn’t seem to hit me too badly. Presumably my body knew how raw my running form was, and figured I had enough problems to deal without adding jet-lag to what looked like was going to be an already foul-tasting potion.

 

Pulling on Mulhouse colours for the first time, I managed to get round Valence in one piece, and in the process managed to blow out enough cobwebs to make Indiana Jones squirm. My swim and bike was decent and in the main pack, and in my first run at full effort, it was reinforced to me just how many steps one takes when running 5km. I felt every single one of them – and each required a prodigious amount of effort.

 

By the time a volunteer had removed my timing chip, my calves were experiencing ROMS (Rapid Onset Muscle Soreness), which progressed that night to MOMS (Moderate Onset Muscle Soreness) before settling finally on DOMS (Delayed onset Muscle Soreness) where they remain, albeit to a lesser extent, to this day.

I spent the next two weeks dividing my time between reacquainting myself with Aix les Bains, furiously trying to repair calf soreness, and causing untold amounts of hilarity with my attempts to walk down stairs whilst the aforementioned repair took place. 

 

Then, it was time to voyage North, to Scandinavian waters, to the cobbles and corners of Stockholm. The Norse Gods must have taken kindly to me, perhaps owing to a decent amount of esoteric Swedish music in my library, and granted me the gift of starting next to Raoul Shaw on pontoon. Raul owns arguably some of the finest set of swimming arms ever to pull on a trisuit, and well cognisant of his aquatic exploits when we raced together for St Raphael a few years ago, I knew his feet could be my ticket to the first buoy. As so rarely happens in triathlon, everything went to plan. I took the Shaw Express to the first buoy, and sat in third position for the pretty much the whole swim, before making the terrestrial transition in 5th, and had the rare privilege of exiting a WTS swim without having had my head beaten in along the way. 

 

Onto the bike, and in between the cobbles and corners (upwards of 160 over the 40kms?) it was just as easy (more accurately, just as hard) to be at the front, so I spent most of the time chopping turns with the typically loquacious Brownlee’s and some others in our small group of around 12. It was a relatively trouble free bike, save for dropping my chain over one of the more severe cobbled sections. At this point, Raoul, not content with assisting me out to the first buoy, gave me a push whilst I replaced the chain, before politely suggesting I turn left rather than smashing into the rapidly approaching barriers. 

 

The run was pretty tough. My form resembled a man who has only run as long as 10km once in the past 12 months. Given I happen to be a man that has only run as long as 10km once in the last 12 months, this was somewhat anticipated. Thus, for the run leg I was forced to act like a transgender cemetery worker, and dig in my heels. I crossed for 32nd, which I was happy with in my return to the top level of racing. Well pleased with my swim/bike execution, and the run is just where it’s at right now – plenty of scope for improvement with more training. 

 

Possibly one of the highlights of the trip was Jake and I talking to a gregarious spectator post race, undoubtable under the influence of a range of various substances. He greeted us by inquiring if the Crown would be happy with our performance, before insulting us, discussing the Commonwealth, then befriending us and admitting how tough we were and how proud he was that no-one in the field “bitched out about how hard it was and stopped and cried”. Lastly he admitted that despite having cycled a bit himself, he doubted that he could have kept up with “those British boys”. Indeed. Following this, he proudly showed us his ID, a Hawaiian drivers license, the picture in which he neither resembled, nor admitted to being the original owner of. At this stage he expressed his jealousy that we were to shortly leave this ”Scandinavian hell hole” at which stage Jake and I chose to parts ways with the gentlemen, as he continued to eloquently and enthusiastically express his thoughts on Stockholm and Sweden in general. Fascinating. 

 

From here I’ve got 2 weeks until Hamburg WTS, which will be another furious attempt at recovering from the ROMS, MOMS, and DOMS, and hopefully some good training sessions to take a few steps forward in the my running progression. 

 

Take care friends, 

Willy