• Lake Annecy | Le Grand-Bornand Triathlon
    • 1km Swim in Lake Annecy
    • 32km Ride from Lake Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand
    • 7km Run


I feel surprisingly good. Might go as far as saying a 7 out of 10. Despite ending yesterday's training around 630pm, we logged a solid 3 hours relaxing - with an amazing dinner in the mix - before finally turning in for bed. The time off our feet has definitely aided my recovery and generally boosted my spirits. Others seem to feel the same. Us knowing that today is a shorter day has also served as a bit of a morale boost/ mental reprieve. Staring down the barrel of a 5-7 hour ride + 3k swim + 10k run can cause some anxiety. On the other hand, having a 2-hour training day with the afternoon off feels like a gift from God.


Given that I was feeling pretty good in the AM, I wanted to push a bit in this race to see how I could fair. Not so much against the others on the camp, but more with my own pacing and output. While much of the camp is focused on long, steady output (at least for me - others definitely smash themselves on the KOMs, etc.), today would be a good test of near max effort across the three disciplines. I also saw it as a good training session in advance of the NYC Olympic distance tri, a race I'm doing on July 24.

As I mentioned in the 'Points Update' post, I've been going pretty steady on most days but look to "pick my moments" for going hard. The Alpe D'Huez pool swim and 10km trail run were two times when I chose to really push it. Given that I felt good today, I decided today would be another time to go hard.


After a 45-minute downhill ride from Chalet 4 to the swim start at Lake Annecy -- this bike course would be a tough one! -- we put on our wetsuits and racked our bikes in a small area that would serve as transition 1. The lake was calm and clear, with a few small sailboats moving slowly around the section where we'd be swimming. Add this to the list of beautiful lakes in France.
John gave a quick rundown on the 1km swim course, pointing to the buoys, as we jumped into the chilly water to warm up. 5 minutes later, we were off.

My initial plan was to stick on John's feet for as long as possible. I figured I could do this until the first buoy and then go from there. John went out hard and was impossible to stay behind - not because he was going too fast, but because he was zigzagging like mad. Every 10 meters he'd cut either right or left. I thought to myself, Damn. He's clearly got experience dropping wannabe drafters. As it turns out, John wasn't doing this intentionally. He opted to not wear goggles (WTF?) and couldn't see shit at the start. Shocker.

Losing John, I settled into the second pack and made my way to the first buoy and then back in towards the second. Sighting was a bit of a challenge due to one or two of the sailboats in our zone, but we managed. (The hampered sighting was worth it since the sailboats were filled with young kids cheering like crazy as we swam past.) This second group -- me + Adam K + Louie + Ben -- came to shore about 15min30sec after the start. While Shannon was still in transition, John was already setting out on the bike. (Guess the no goggles tactic worked after all.) A big group was coming out of the water right after us as well, so other than John, we were mostly together getting out of T1.

Photos from Left: No-goggles John, Me


We got a reverse preview of the bike course en route to the lake, and it was clear that it'd be a tough one. 32km with 990m (3,250ft) of climbing. This tri definitely favored the cyclist.
As I pulled my wetsuit off, I felt pretty smoked. The swim hadn't been all that fast, so I was surprised to be so tired. I got on the bike with John, Shannon and Adam K out in front of me - all great cyclists.

As I started pedaling on the bike, my legs felt like lead. Yesterday's ride and the week of volume had taken their toll. The thought of taking this race easy and using today as recovery started to creep in. JB came past and shouted something about wanting to share the load by team time trialing, each taking pulls at the front pushing big watts. Nothing sounded less appealing. Phil came by me next and shouted some encouragement, clearly seeing that I wasn't feeling so hot. Seeing JB and Phil out of the saddle and pushing uphill motivated me just enough to go hard during this first climb. From there, I just took the ride one K at a time.

After about 5k, with JB, Shannon, and Phil still in sight, Peter caught me. As he came by, I hopped on his wheel. Misery loves company. After letting him shoulder the load for a few minutes, I started to rally and came to the front. I committed to working with him for as long as I could. Now a team effort, I distanced myself from ideas of taking it easy, and pushed about as hard as I could for the stretches when I was at the front. We were going well, and starting to reel in the guys ahead. With just 1k or so left, we caught Shannon and had Phil just a few seconds in front of us. As the four of us approached the chalet/T2, we saw John already a few minutes into the run. He had 1st nailed. Adam K and JB were a few minutes behind him, and just a minute or so ahead of us.

FOR THE GEEKS: My NP on the bike was 223. I was pushing ~265 watts for the 2 min spurts while at the front. Interestingly, despite having a high perceived effort, my HR would not go above 155. I was watching this and laughing about it with Peter since he was seeing the same thing. We both knew that when HR won't go up despite the effort, it's a tell-tale sign of fatigue. Training Peaks page linked here and below. (My Garmin didn't pick up my power meter for the first K or so; required a quick reboot.)


With 3rd place in reach and 2nd a possibility, I pushed the run hard from the start. The course was an out-and-back, 1.75km downhill then 1.75km uphill (~3% grade), that we'd do two times through. I hammered the downhill (happy to be running in Hokas) since I knew it'd be tough to make up time on the uphill given how I was feeling. After the first loop, I could tell that I was making up time on Adam but that it wouldn't be enough. JB on the other hand was running well but starting to get closer. I caught JB halfway into the second downhill and moved into 3rd.

After 27min02sec of running, I crossed the line totally wasted. While pumped to have taken 3rd and to have posted the fastest run split, I was really happy to have rallied after feeling like such garbage at the outset. JB, who finished maybe 30-45 seconds behind me, joked that he never would have thought he'd have me take 3rd from him after having seen me in the first K of the bike. I made sure to thank Peter for the help on the bike -- he certainly pushed me to ride harder than I would have on my own.

Photos From Top Left to Bottom Right: Me, John, Adam K, JB, Shannon, Me

FOR THE GEEKS: My pacing was ~5:15 min/mi on the downhill sections and ~6:55 min/mi on the uphill sections. Average pace overall was 6:14 min/mi and total elevation gain on the run was 1,076 feet. While it wasn't happening on the bike, my HR came up a bit on this one, reaching a max of 164 bpm.


After smashing ourselves during the AM, it was nice to stroll around the town of Grand-Bornand and act like tourists for a change. I quickly got a sense of how little French I know. (It's embarrassing. Thankfully I'm so tan now that people mistake that I'm from Spain and just start speaking to me in Spanish, which I'm at better at.) After John, Phil and some others nabbed some ice cream (crème glacée), we sat down and watched Stage 3 of the Tour over Kronenbergs.

Church in town center of Grand-Bornand; Us streaming the Tour later in the afternoon (Ian, Stefan, Phil, Iain, Walter)


This one goes to Jen Turner, a strong triathlete at the camp from Australia. Soon after sitting down in town for beers and Tour watching, we spotted Jen still in her cycling kit with her bike. This was at least 2 hours after the tri had wrapped up. Turns out she had gotten lost during the race and went way off course - easy to do with the many roundabouts. Not knowing where we were staying, she had to show locals pictures she had taken of the town. Amazingly, they were able to direct her back to Grand-Bornand. Even more impressively, she was in good spirits when we saw her in town and even joined us for a beer. The best part was that her husband Titch, who is also at the camp, hadn't realized that Jen was missing. Spent from the race, he went straight to sleep. Pretty entertaining. Both got some jokes thrown their way that night.