WITC at the Sierakow Triathlon 2013

WITC at the Sierakow Triathlon, 1/2 and 1/4 ironman distance, 1-2nd June 2013

The first big triathlon event of the year in Poland was held in Sierakow, featuring both 1/2 and a 1/4 ironman distance races. After such a long wait since the last outdoor tri the club did in Siedlce last August many club members were raring to get out and test themselves at the 1/4 distance. 5 of them – Igors, Tristan, Alan, Andy and Hans – were stepping up from the sprint distance they did in Susz last year while Dominka was making the jump up from the super-sprint she did in Siedlce!

With the 1/4 ironman race on the Sunday it gave everyone the chance to relax the day before, watch the 1/2 ironman race, pick up starter packs and have a dip in the cold water. There was also a technical briefing on Saturday evening (held together with a pasta party probably to make sure people actually showed up!) where they basically tried their best to tell us how dangerous and difficult (but beautiful) the course is. After filling up on pasta it was time to get an early night ahead of the big day…

Some people know how to pose for pictures before the race ...

Some people know how to pose for pictures before the race …

... and some don't

… and some don’t

 

Although the start time of 9am meant an early wake-up call, everyone was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as they posed for a few last minute pictures in their wetsuits. Then it was time to line up on the shore of the lake and wait for the start, trying not to think about how cold it was going to be in the lake.

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The swim went well for everyone with Tristan and Igors finishing first, nearly neck-and-neck. After coming out of the lake there was a steep uphill run leading to the transition zone (around 500m in total) which gave everyone a chance to unzip the top of the wetsuit and even pose for a few photos 😉

Then it was onto the bike. The route was a beautifully picturesque 45km ride though the countryside around Sierakow. Luckily for the competitors, on the Sunday the ground wasn’t wet and the wind wasn’t too strong, which meant that the conditions were much better than the 1/2 ironman race the day before. It was quite a tough 2 lap route with a lot of ups and downs but with their new bikes and equipment all the WITC’ers successfully completed it, with Igors finishing comfortably in the lead ahead of Tristan.

Good hi-fiving guys!

Good hi-fiving guys!

After passing through T2 it was time for the run, which was a 2-lap course through the woods in Sierakow. Again it was a beautiful route but very hilly with a lot of tree roots which needed to be dodged, making it challenging, especially with the tired legs at this point of the race. It was on the run that the supporters had the best chance to see the competitors, and the superb WITC support team did their best to give everyone a lift, passing on information about how far ahead/behind they were from other club members and even giving out some impressive high-fives.

Near the end of the loop there was a tough uphill zigzag section with slogans on banners to inspire the runners like pain is just a state of mind and reminding the competitors that there’s beer and burgers waiting at the end :)

Igors crossing the line in an impressive time of 2h4

Igors crossing the line in an impressive time of 2h49!

The finish line was on the running track which provided a great atmosphere for the runners. Igors had managed to stay ahead of Tristan on the run and finished as the first of the WITC’ers but the day was less about finish times and more about enjoying an amazing experience as everybody successfully completed the event.

First-placed WITC’er Igors Berkovics had the following to say after the race:

These 2 guys were helping people get up out of the lake

These 2 guys were helping people get up out of the lake

Well this time no one kicked me or tried to drown me (since Ewa was not racing) and the swim went quite smoothly, though I noticed every few hundred meters there was a disoriented swimmer who would swim perpendicular to the whole group! Luckily it was not me this time. At the finish of the swim, the guys pulling swimmers out of the water were a really big help. Tristan, who finished the swim a few seconds before me, was the only person I saw from WITC to the moment when I went on the second running lap. And Agata’s phrase that I am 15 min in front of everyone else was a nice boost (actually I was only a few minutes in front of Tristan) or maybe it was a caffeine gel that I took after the first lap that gave me the boost. It’s encouraging to know that a 30 year old bike can beat all the fancy new bikes if you push and pull hard enough. Speaking of which, bike shoes make you go faster if you use them (and don’t just wear them – I don’t know how and what Andy did with his!). Another upgrade I made to my bike, the aerobars, makes biking, especially downhill, a much more pleasant experience. And finally, finishing first is niiiiiceeeee :)

Congratulations to everyone who took part and thanks to the supporters who helped make the day so memorable!!

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You can see the club’s photo gallery of the event here.

1/4 Ironman distance finishers:

Igors Berkovics

Tristan Sakura (Tristan’s blog about Sierakow will soon be up here)

Alan Parsons (read Alan’s blog of the race here)

Andy Mossop (read Andy’s blog of the race here)

Dominika Piasecka

Hans Koeppen

 

WITC Support Team:

Ewa Smiechowska

Mark Poczman

Asia Fabijanczuk

Agata Dubas

Darek Dros

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