Bilbao Triathlon 2014
May 29th, 2014 by Fraser
2nd place – 4:10:08
It was a productive return visit to the Basque Country this past Saturday – a step further up the podium than 2012.
We had terrible weather when we visited a couple years ago, in fact it was certainly one of the coldest races I have ever done, which took me by complete surprise given it was Spain. However the locals gave a knowing wink and simply said “yes, but this is northern Spain!” Thankfully this year the rain held off (till Sunday) meaning we had dry and fairly warm conditions – if not a little overcast – as we set up in transition for what fairly unusually, is an afternoon race.
The city of Bilbao sits in a valley amidst the generally hilly north eastern region of the country. This means that after the river based swim we climbed out of the city centre and hit a reasonably decent climb – about 5ks – complete with some hairpins to make you feel like you are in the mountains! And we did that twice through.
I had a reasonable swim – another athlete led the way into transition but once onto the bike I set to work and tried to establish a gap to the notable bike riders that I knew would be chasing hard from behind. I was caught within 30ks, just after cresting the climb and he proved to be the eventual race winner. I tried, but couldn’t sustain his speed and had to settle into my own pacing. I hope that if I am able to generate perhaps just a little extra power then I may very well be able to cover such ‘attacks’ that tend only to last 5 minutes or so, but if all you can muster is 1-2 miutes worth of effort, then frustratingly the elastic snaps and all you can do is watch the race pedal off up the road.
I rode a consistent enough tempo for the remainder of the bike section and although I was caught by a further Spanish rider and a French athlete also, I felt quite comfortable as we arrived in T2, ready to tackle the 3 lap run loop along the banks of the river which we had previously swum in.
The run course also took in the famous Guggenheim Museum which sits on the banks of the river – there are many large sculptures situated around about the building, one of them being a giant spider standing up tall on its legs, through which we ran – quite strange for a race to be honest! At the front of the unique building however there was a far cuddlier looking dog made out of flowers upon flowers.
I built into the run lap by lap, initially losing contact with the French athlete I hit T2 with, but reeled him back by the beginning of the final lap, and although the 3rd place finisher was closing in on me with the fastest run of the day, I held on fairly comfortably in the end to the 2nd place position.
Not my most notable run form (or facial expression) but a solid effort to close out the afternoons racing.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip, and a race that I would really urge folk to go and do; despite not being a ‘branded’ event, it is extremely well organised and certainly had the feel of a very big race what with an impressive transition and finish area plus a city centre finish with large crowds to complete the whole experience.
Thanks go to Andres and his team at Innevento Sport for looking after me during my stay in Bilbao and making me feel so welcome. I will certainly be back to race again.