A Tri-Cross in Andalucia, Spain - by Janice Clarke

Distance: Sprint 1000m swim / 24.88 km mountain bike / 6 km trail run

This is the third in the Granada Tri-Cross Series – I participated in the first one held in Baza and then missed the second one on 14 July in Castril.  The last will be in Almuñecar on 2 September which Julio and I plan to do.

Julio and I went down the night before and stayed in a nice apartment on the edge of town but with good access to the venue site.    We got our race pack and located the exact spot for the race the next morning and possible parking spots nearby.

The race was due to start at 10am and the men went off first.  However, as we (the women) watched the men started to drift off towards the right away from the first buoy.  At first, we thought there must be a strong current but then the canoes and boats started pulling the guys out of the water.  Apparently, they swam into a sea of jelly fish, called medusas in Spanish, and were all trying to get away and out of the water.  Poor guy in front did not have on a wetsuit and was badly stung all over.   The ambulance crew were then kept busy treating jelly fist stings as the organisers discussed what to do next.   Lucky for us girls we never entered the water.

It was decided to make it into a duathlon with the original 6 km run course first and then an additional 2.5 km run to conclude after the mountain bike section.

As the swim in not my favourite part I was not too disappointed.  A rather reduced field of men started as some were too badly stung to participate.

By the time we started for the second time it was already 11 am and getting very hot.  I managed the 6km run okay but found it quite difficult in the heat and the last part was along the beach which was quite tough on the legs.   Transition with the bike was quite hard and as the first 300-400 metres was across the beach I basically ran with the bike until I got onto some slightly terra-firma.   The first part of the mountain bike route was track and not too difficult and then there was an uphill section but some of this was hard track or concrete and so although tough due to heat it was not too bad.  Then came the shocker, about 4 km of dry river bed that consisted of concrete steep downward slopes at intervals and in between was loose and quite deep gravel.    Really hard work to cycle through and required a lot of concentration and power.  All the time I was cycling (and falling off) on the gravel I was also thinking ‘OMG I have to do this again’, as it was a two-loop course.  I finally got off the gravel and started on the second circuit, trying not to think too much about having to do it again and second time around was not as bad, I think it was the anticipation as I did it the first time that made it worse.  However, it was still hard work and by the time I got off the bike my legs were a bit ‘jelly’!   The last 2.5km run was a bit on road and a bit on track and suffice to say I walked/run it as I was tired and by now very hot.  Luckily there was a drinks station for me to get some water and I finished the run with a total time of around 2.55 mins.

I was on the podium with a first (only one) in my age group and again for the team presentation where IT Horticula Ilturgitanna (Training Tri) got first place female team.

Again, as a team we did extremely well with me number one in my age group and Tonie number three in the general classification and the team itself getting first.   Brilliant outcome for IT Horticula Ilturgitanna (Training Tri).