Formerly the Monaco 70.3 Ironman, the inaugural TriStar event had an exciting new race distance of a 1km Swim – 100km Cycle – 10km Run, which would certainly favour the strong riders. The Monaco Triathlon has been a race that I’ve always wanted to compete in, so I was very excited to be here!
Close to 700 athletes were at the start line ready for the sea swim, which started on the Plage du Larvotto, opposite Le Meridien hotel. Starting from the beach was a bit frantic with everyone jostling for position. It was pretty cool to see divers (who were there for safety) beneath you while swimming. After losing my watch, I realised I’d finished the swim in 15:20 – which I was pretty pleased with.
Once out of the transition tent and on to the bike we immediately began climbing out of Monaco towards La Turbie. This was going to be the most technical bike course I’d ever encountered and I was conscious of riding sensibly, a feeling that was only emphasised after seeing someone crash at the very first turn of the race. The views of Monaco and the harbour were quite spectacular and at times it was easy to forget you were in a race! There was a pattern emerging during the ride – I would gain places going uphill and lose time on the descents. The local riders had great confidence in navigating the torturous switch-backs at high speeds – something I wasn’t quite so at ease with. After endless climbing and descending and having gone through countless sleepy villages, the bike came to an end in 3:32:00. I’d paced the bike well and made up a lot of places during the final 25 miles of the ride.
The run started from the beach, where we made our way towards the famous Forumla 1 tunnel and the harbour. The run was 2 ½ loops, which meant that we had to climb up the Avenue d’Ostende (towards the Casino) 3 times! This is about a 500m hill at roughly a 10% gradient! There was great crowd support throughout, with everyone embracing triathlon in Monaco. I was quite pleased with the run time of 40:29, considering the complete lack of anything resembling speed-work in my training during the last few months! The finish line was outside the Café de Paris, which was an appropriate end to such an exceptional race. The final finish time of 4:33:23 was enough for 2nd/26 in the 18-24 age-group and 81st overall (including professionals and relay teams). The result was very pleasing, although the race did highlight weaknesses in my technical ability to descend on the bike. This is something that can only be improved with practicing in the appropriate terrain.
The Monaco Triathlon has without a doubt been one of the best races I have ever competed in, both in terms of venue and organisation. I am so grateful to my sponsors Click Fragrance and Eden Island Marina for the opportunity to have taken part in the race and I’d love to return again next year. With less than 4 weeks until the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, I have another week here to focus on my sea swimming skills and to get some long bike rides done in conditions that will better prepare me for the race in Hawaii.
I’ll try to post some photos from some of the rides I’ve been doing – the cycling here is immense!