Castle Triathlon Series; Chateau de Chantilly


August 30th, 2013 by



3rd place – 2.07.49

Last weekend Ali and I travelled to France for our second experience of the Castle Triathlon Series. Following on from the great race we had at the Castle Howard event the month previous we were looking forward to another fun trip.

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The venue was stunning, it was just a real shame that the weather didn’t decide to play along too. Wet wet wet!!

I have to say it’s not been often that I can remember thinking I didn’t want to race becuase of the conditions! It was quite simply pouring with rain all morning and continued to do so for the remainder of the event 🙁 The thing was I only had to contend with the Olympic distance race whereas Ali had entered the Gauntlet half ironman event meaning she was more than likely going to be out there battling the elements for over 5 hours. – As we shivered our way into our wetsuits pre race (which was the warmest thing we could do I might add) we did our best not to think about what exactly we were embarking on.

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I was asked to ‘Captain’ the English [ British I had to remind everyone, given my involvement 😉 ] team of 4 including Catherine Jamieson, Joe Skipper (pictured alongside me here) and Sam Wade. We were taking on a local French team as part of the olympic distance racing. The rain was belting down at this stage if I recall correctly.

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Needless to say it was a little dicey riding on such wet roads and caution was certainly at the head of my thoughts, simply wanting to make sure I made it back to T2 in the once piece. The bike course was a farily flat 2 lap affair which I am sure would have been a delight to ride in any other conditions. As it was I did my best to stay upright. Despite leading out of the water I ended up riding with 2 of the 3 French team althetes and we lost some 3 minutes to eventual winner Cyril Viennot who clearly wasn’t too bothered about reducing his speed in the wet. – You have to take your chances!

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As you can see – the theme of saturation continued onto the run. The Castle Triathlon Series have made a good effort to create interesting (and largely off road) run courses. I really enjoyed the course at Castle Howard and that didn’t change here in Chantilly. We had about half the course winding through the woodlands surrounding the Chateau and the remainder was around the perimeter of the horse racing course  “Hippodrome de Chantilly” which sits alongsides the Chateau and is owned by The Aga Khan who is unique among the richest royals around the world as he does not preside over an actual geographic territory. (I found this interesting!) I digress… After a less than stellar ride I had a solid 10k run, enjoying a good battle with one of the lads who I finished the bike with. However I wasn’t quite able to overhaul him and finished in 3rd place over the line.

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Yet more rain to complete the mornings proceedings! I thoroughly enjoyed the race however, despite all that the weather threw at us and to complete the morning we were able to claim first place in the teams race against the French. After I was able to get dry and begin to find a semblance of warmth I headed over to T2 (a relaxed atmposhere means access to transition mid racing is ok!) to hopefully catch Ali on her way out on the run. It’s always a nervour affair waiting for someone to come back after the bike especially when you are looking at your watch wondering exactly when they might appear. Arrive she did thankfully and looked soaking, but at least she had put layers on after the swim – especially since she took a spill through a roundabout and they provided very useful protection. Luckily she got away with scratches and a fright; the wet roads at least ensuring she slid over the tarmac and she did great to get back on the bike and finish the race for 2nd place 🙂

Many thanks to the organisers for inviting us to France for this race, which we really did enjoy despite the various bumps along the way(did I mention a lost bike?!) and I look forward to taking part in the final event of the series in Kent at Castle Hever next month.

Thanks go to Thierry Sourbier for the pictures from his site www.onlinetri.com