This race was based in Porto Colom in Mallorca and is one of the top ranked races in the Balearic Islands. In fact, it is where the majority of the European pro triathletes come to kick start their race season. It was my first race of the season and unfortunately, it didn’t go as well as I would have liked it to 😦 On the other hand, I was lucky to cycle alongside Michelle Flipo who is a professional Mexican triathlete!
My trip to Mallorca was originally planned only for the Easter weekend in early April where a friend and I rented a bike and cycled the famous climbs such as Sa Calobra along the northern part of the island. You can read what we got up to that weekend in my blog.
I decided to extend my stay in Mallorca for another week and visit The BEST Swim Centre in Colonia Sant Jordi on the southern part of the island. The BEST Swim Centre is Europe’s leading swim coaching centre where young and aspiring Olympic swimmers come to train.
Therefore my trip overall consisted of 4 days of cycling and running, a week of intense professional swimming coaching, and ended with the triathlon race in Porto Colom.
The race was not a typical triathlon in regards to the distances involved. The race was a 500m swim, 50km bike and 5km run. There was the option of signing up to the longer version which was simply double the distances stated above; which I quite bluntly did not fancy!
My race got off to a good start with the swim and I was holding my position well on the bike. The bike course was very demanding as the 50km had a quad crunching climb up to a mountain top monastery called Santuari De San Salvador. The climb was about 5km long and consisted of many hairpin turns with gradients up to 15%.
All was going well until I approached the last 5km of the bike course. I was pedalling along when all of a sudden I began pedalling at a much higher cadence due to no resistance. I looked down at the chainset to find that my chain had snapped and fallen off. It was the first time in almost 4 years that I had experienced such a setback in a race. I know many of my fellow triathletes have had mechanical failures in the past and have always advised me to remain calm and think of a possible solution before giving up if I was in such a situation. I had two options; either I run the remainder of the bike course (with my bike in one hand to the transition zone) and then finish the race with the 5km run or I call it a day and pack my bags and go home.
I knew I wasn’t far from the transition zone but running in my cycling shoes wouldn’t be easy. I also couldn’t bear the thought of NOT crossing the finish line whilst waving the Gibraltar flag and having the letters “GIB” on my tri-suit. A few quiet words with myself and some words of encouragements from other triathletes as they flew past me on their bikes lifted my spirit and I began running. Luckily the last 3km of the bike course was a shallow descent which meant that I only had to run 2km before sitting on my bike and slowly coasting to the transition zone.
Upon reaching the transition zone I was in a bit of a bad mood as I knew I wouldn’t be able to attain my targeted finishing time. I had to forget about the time and just focus on finishing the race strongly. I set out on the run and began overtaking those who overtook me on the bike. I started to form a smile on my face as I knew that the race wasn’t completely over. What made me laugh was a few kids cheering on the runners along the course. These kids were shouting the athlete’s names that were printed on their respective tri-suits. In my case I have my surname “VIZ” above my country code “GIB” on my suit. Bless these kids as they thought my name was ” Viz Gib” and were shouting “Veez Geeb” in their Mallorquin accents!
I made it around the 5km run course and on the final stretch, my parents were there to hand over the Gibraltar flag which I proudly held as I crossed the finish line!
It wasn’t the best day but my mental strength was definitely tested. My desire to not give up fuelled me to complete the race. As they say; what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!