I was not ready for this start. The Karkonoski Triathlon, called the Karkonoszman, is an event that I prepared all winter and spring for. That was at least a plan, because preparation was mainly limited to thinking about it during unstructured physical activities. It soon turned out that swimming in a closed pool, when the weather outside is a bit pointless. Just like doing anything that could be pulled up for training. Both to Majorcaas well IstriaI took foam for swimming and running shoes - I did not use them once. I also took my running shoes full of hopes for all trips since I decided to take part in the triathlon. They were even with me in Vegas and California. There, too, they remained unbroken. It took me a long time to discover that if I can spend a day on a bike exploring new areas, it's how I spend my time instead of dividing it between different disciplines. Ba, with the choice of doing anything cool and unique in a given place (i.e. even walking along the coast), I will continue to choose this form of activity instead of training. In the depths of my soul I am a tourist and a cycling hiker and I can not imagine myself on anything that could even get closer to the term: a training trip. Be in a beautiful and new place and spend time at the pool or limit yourself to 3 hours on a bike in the name of making a form? No, thank you, it's not for me. I treated the Triathlon as an adventure.
At the Krkonoše Triathlon, I went with an embarrassingly low swimming course (because while in the winter I was swimming, it was a terribly warm spring, I was too sad for the time) and definitely lower than planned running course. On the other hand, I do not go to the other end of Poland and pay PLN 500 for the entry fee to go out poorly! YOLO, maybe spontaneous practicing physical activities also gives some effects? It was the day when I was supposed to find out, because although it is June, I have not started anything this year yet. Maybe the cycling race has already gone a long way?
Triathlon Karkonoski is 1,900 meters of swimming on the Leśniański Lake, 86km (1,900) up by bicycle from the Czocha Castle to Karpacz and 22km (1150 uphill) from the shoe to the top of Śnieżka.
For reasons unknown to me, I decided that the Krkonoše Triathlon would be the best place for a debut. You do not have to ride a time bike, the distance is so long that the errors in the change zones have no meaning, and the limit of competitors will allow you to survive in the water. Of course, the fact that it does not run between a lot of people, so the possible transition from running to fast walking will not be buried. I assumed that slow running in difficult terrain is still much easier than fast running in easy. In retrospect, despite the many voices of doubt, it seems to me that it was a great choice - applause me.
I like running because it is a much simpler sport than a bike. Once in our life, we ran something outside of Warsaw (in Lisbon) and the fact that it was enough to pack shoes, a T-shirt and shorts was great. Just like with an afternoon exit after work - you do not grease the equipment, do not pump, do not service, the car will probably not kill you, and the sanding bends are not dangerous. In the triathlon it is exactly the opposite. I realize this the day before the start, when we try to properly pack the equipment and plan the buffets. Because, unfortunately, the organizer provides little in the Krkonoše Triathlon, so everyone must have compulsory help brought with them. The website is a bit like Kashubian forests after passing last year's storm, so it's hard to find any information there that could help us. So we are going blindly, hoping that everything will be explained on a two-hour (1 for the player and 1 for support) clearance. Well, chamber parties are governed by their own laws - I do not like that, but I decided not to stress my hobby some time ago, so I treat it as a slack. What should it be?
5.30 am on Saturday. Everything is very simple. I have prepared civilian clothes to move, warm civilian clothing to go down from Śnieżka, which Panda will bring there in a backpack, a bag for swimming with: swim foam, a cap, towel, goggles, spray so that they do not evaporate, a towel and flip-flops, this cross-country sack: socks, shoes, food and a bycicle bag: attire, belt with number, helmet, goggles, water bottles, shoes, socks (I will not go in short-speed gears, because I did not), counter with a loaded map, phone, jacket ultralight, vest and sleeves, and of course a bag of food: caffeine gels, galeretki, easy to eat, small bars, spare water bottles, isotonic, water and stuff. Now, just put it together ... and what can go wrong if I do not want to spend more than a few minutes in the change zone?
We start at 7 from the Czocha castle. Swimming in the foam is great, because for an amateur like me, foam gives more or less as much as a bike motor. The displacement is such that to drown me, you would tie my first MTB bike to my ankle and throw it in deep water. The problem with the foam is that I can not put it on and off for China, and every attempt ends in Trirent on covering holes. Well, choosing an advanced model was not a good idea. It turns out that cheaper models are also more durable. The biggest challenge in the foam and swimming (apart from the panic fear of cramps in the legs) is, as it were nice to say - scrambled eggs. The foam is arranged randomly for me, so it often turns out that I have a step at the height of the navel - please add the rest in your own imagination - swimming is impossible. Maybe I let in not enough water, maybe too much or too weak. I usually get to know it after about 500 meters. In Leśnieński Lake, however, everything played and discomfort appeared only at the end. A few jerks down with special attention not to jerk too much and you can swim further.
As for the start: I have never been in a group in my life. It's cool in the Karkonosze, because people are scarce - the 100 limit does its job. It is as I imagined. Every now and then I get a hand in the head, sometimes someone is in me, sometimes I'm in someone, sometimes someone is lying on my back, thumping my arm, hand in the backside, head on my head - it's generally hard to say what's going on. It's important that I move. As if that was not enough, the tank has the shape of lines, which I drew in kindergarten and navigation is not trivial. So I decide to swim just like everyone else. I also have no choice, because I do not know anything - even on the side of which the ship, who makes the buoy and what afterwards, is avoided ... After 10 minutes, it's cool. For the first time in my life I also have to breathe every 2 movements with my hand, not every 3. Maybe it would be easier to navigate, maybe shortness of breath more often than usual, maybe I want to see the whole time, what flows next - I do not know. I can not explain, but breathing is not successful. I try to stick with the second group, because the first one is clearly out of range of my abilities. The first one flows, we move.
On the way back I forget the lake a bit and for unknown reasons I choose a slightly different route than people next to me. I did not have the strength to calculate the chances that I am wrong, and not everyone else - Garmin says that I'm going a little over 2000m instead of 1800m, but analyzing Strava, I see everyone is similar. He also says that they defeat her in 32 minutes, so 1:34 per 100 meters. I am satisfied with the result. It was faster, but I do not know how it would affect the rest of the day. Time differences in swimming are negligible for me in the perspective of 6 or 7 hours of the race.
Swimming is officially over 32:31, the winner was 29:43 and the fastest was 27:58. The result gives me 16th place after swimming.
T1, i.e. foam from the bicycle
Swimming is the most beautiful way out of the water. It's more or less like turning you around in a carousel 70 times in a nearby playground, then telling you to run over stones, jump onto the wall, run up the curvy stairs, and then arrange the puzzle. If you were not kind to me lajkrze and the jacket that helped me out, I think there would be a spectacular soil there. People are screaming, the head is jerking, the bike route leads through the roots and stairs, you do not know what is going on, and you have to find flip-flops on the way (I was scared of the sock), remove the watch and start the arduous process of removing the foam. While the 10 minutes that I need to dress her can be justified, the time it takes to take her off is not much. I'm sitting, Panda is tugging at the leg, something is rolling somewhere, and the guy who was coming out of the water with me is already running SPDs to the bike, while I do not even think about wearing socks yet.
Then I still have a helmet, goggles, shoes, I grab the bike from the hanger, I will fasten the belt with the starting number, which then turned out to be the biggest mistake of that day and I run to the exit. I get in a bit later than others, because I have seen on the Internet too many triathlonist videos trying to move uphill. I know that my friendly photographers are just waiting for it ...
In T1 I spend 3:37, it's almost a minute longer than the winner and two minutes longer than the fastest ones.
Bike, or "but their shave"
I am a sprinter, I had a start-up under the foam - of course one-piece, because the plan assumed that I would run in it too. Everyone does that. Is the foam leaking? Well, immediately after immersing you have to let some water into it, because strange things happen. I'm going to the bike in a suit where I look like Mortirolo 2 years agowhen I dressed my winter outfit in 25 steps - I'm completely wet. 60km / h in one layer of completely wet outfit at 8am? Our grandmothers would not be proud. Plus, I do not think about it at all, because the head is busy with other things, and before it reminds me, it's already dry.
The problem with the attire is also that it practically has no pockets. There are two, minimalistic in the back. One of them has a half phone (and half protrudes), the other will be used for garbage. Whole food (that is, 3 jellies and 3 bars come to the waist with the number). It seems reasonable, because it's easy to take them out and they should not interfere. Huge mistake.
If you are fond of triathlon raiders at the very beginning of the race, I am eager to help and explain. A bicycle after swimming is a completely different bike than normal. The head continues to creep in a little bit, the labyrinth is not yet found, and the brain is busy analyzing the zone of change and whether nothing significant has been omitted. All this makes the moment of inattention result in a visit to the bushes. I've never done a lap exercise in my life, how could I know that? Where is my breathlessness and heartbeat on the second kilometer of the route as if I was riding on the doorstep? These are questions that I can answer only today, a day later at 5 am, when I calmly analyze what happened on this strange June Saturday.
Then it is already as planned. For the first kilometers I pass by a lot of people, to stay behind Świeradów completely lonely - from the front and back, nobody to the horizon. The situation does not change for many kilometers. In the beginning, so-called jumps, that is rolling hills, then an endless driveway to Death Turn. At the top of the buffet, on which I throw out the water bottle and pick up new jelly. I drink about a liter per hour, which, combined with the fact that I drank half a lake before, arouses a bit of fear in the context of running. Especially when it adds to the fact that I decide to eat only jelly and one gel, because bars I can not chew. Riding a solo is a different ride than in the peloton - here you will not rest. Without measurement of power, I go alone in the race - in my life I did it once time trial near Tąpadła. I did not know how to go then, so I went harder than I could and I accidentally won.
The buffet is a bit much said, it was a buffet zone where my support could give me something after he had cleaned everything up from the change zone and magically transported himself to the place to be in front of me. On the bike, the organizer provided only arrows and people managing the direction indicators at selected intersections. Most triathletes use watches instead of a track computer. I realize this when each of the corners is discussed at the briefing.
Behind the Turn of Death, exit and driveway to Michałowice. The pace sits up a bit and I'm not sure what to do. I'm riding hard, but enough to keep my feet in my legs, so I leave a safe supply. There is still nobody on the horizon. Again, a descent to the buffet to which my support was transported, I again grab some food and a water bottle and start a sad climb to Przesięk. From what people say, I go all the time in the 8th position. This is according to the plan, which assumed the completion of the bike in the nozzle, and then regular losing position.
In the driveway passes me two guests on the time trials. They drive one after another - drafting admittedly it is forbidden, but in the uphill it does not seem to matter, and leave someone too heavy. They leave me behind, I'm afraid to keep them in a circle, because running could end badly for me. They disappear from the front, I'm 10 - one of them has supposedly finished on the box. I can not see anyone until the end of the bike. I only have to pass the characteristic reservoir in Sosnówka and the endless climb to Karpacz, which I must admit, has traveled a bit. I planned the bike for 3 hours - in the second zone of change I report after 2:58:27. An average of 29.1 km / h is not impressive, and leaves a certain reserve of strength, which turns out to be a bit unnecessary, and maybe a bit not - it's hard to say, because running is completely different than I planned.
The official result 2:59:48 is nearly 20 minutes longer than the winner's time and places me in the 8th position among bikes.
T2, i.e. from a bike in running shoes
The second zone of change, where Panda and Piotrek are waiting again, goes smoothly, because all I have to do is leave the bike, change the gels at the waist, change shoes and socks. There is some confusion with the socks, because I packed two left ones and it takes some time for me to take care of why, after exchanging them, I continue to put my left foot on my right leg. Another change does not help either. In the meantime, Panda pulls my helmet and goggles. I'm moving, I'm throwing the gel out of my belt, because it turns out that these few tens of grams are already beyond the limit I am allowed to go on and I'm running further. Above me, the most undiscovered part of the race. I have never run in the mountains, I do not know how to do it. I am mentally prepared for being destroyed by people passing by in the back.
A visit to T2 lasts 2:16, the winner makes it in a minute, the fastest one in a little over half. HOW?!
Running, or if I knew what I know
Running a bike is a drama. The first kilometer is gently uphill, I make it at 5:04 and the problem starts. If the shortness of breath is the expected effect, the massive back pain does not allow to run. As if someone would cover me all night with a stick on the planks. It's the belt's fault - I bought it in Decathlon just before the start and never used it in my life. It turns out that 3 hours on a bike with a slightly loaded waist at the level of the hips massacred my muscles at the spine. Maybe if I did not pack the gels in it ... I must admit that if I knew it earlier, I would prefer to put these jellies on the frame by putting on being an online laughing stock. Let people in front of screens in homes laugh, hard. The second kilometer is a bit more uphill and I do it at 5:46 at the heartbeat, which I reach in Skaryszak running around 4:20. The third one is flat and it takes a dramatic 6:24 - the pace caused by the fact that I run a little bit and go a little bit. The first guest appears in the back. He runs with his support. It's one of those things I did not know about. The website somehow forgot to make it clear that you can have backpack support throughout the entire race route. My waiting will be only at the top of Sněžka, to bring me down. It still seemed funny to me then. Even though I'm going, they're not getting any closer. A fugitive begins, it saves me - I pass by quite quickly, but I was ready for it - I'm falling to the 11th place and waiting for the next.
I'm going down well. 4 The next few kilometers I'm doing below 4:30 and thanks to the slightly different specificity of the back the back rests a bit, and their muscles begin to understand that there is no point in fighting, because nothing will change that. Along the way I pass a barrier, which has to be straddled. I know probably what Asia Tuhajbejowicz felt when he was put on a stake. This contraction reminds me that I am somewhat on the border. The pain gives up and slowly lets go. Not for a long time, when it starts again slightly up again, the run alternates with the march the watch shows around 6min / kilometer. That's what it used to be when I started running.
The fragment which was to be the heaviest on the route begins (I do not know why I thought so) - Odrodzenie and Karkonoska Pass. The riders know. This time butuję after it without a bicycle, it's even funny. I say that running does not make sense and I calmly go using my long legs. I mean calmly - as soon as possible, but I'm going. There is a distance of 13 kilometers to the finish line, this is a distance that I can imagine. The guests who preceded me disappear from the front, but someone else appears. Amazing, but it runs, and I'm going, and yet - catching up. This is the funny moment in sports when you think you are running, but still you are standing still. Again, all the heaviest climbs remind me. Our race is similar to overtaking Tirów A4. We move, flooded, then flies circle around us, and the road stretches to the horizon.
I start the maneuver about 100 meters behind him and it takes a lot, really many minutes. Sometimes I run up a little, so as not to hurt him, I catch up with him quickly. It looks like a corpse and is aware of it - it's a classic bomb, a wall and everything in one. I leave him for a certain death. I crawl (mentally) the worst part of the Giant Mountains, ahead of walking tourists. I am overtaking them so slowly that we can change a few sentences. One thing is certain - the scorching is terrible and I really miss drinking, but I know that there is an organizer's buffet waiting for me at the top, and then it will be easy. I envy people who knew and who had support with a backpack. On the YES route I really miss a garbage can, which I could throw away an empty tube of gel (YOLO-style gel, because I did not have anything to drink on it). That day every gram weighs a lot more than usual.
It was not easy anymore. I come to the buffet, the lady from the far end asks me whether water or isotonic. I am a bit shocked, because I do not know what's going on - I was sure that on the spot I would grab a filled cup, drink it, crush it, using up the rest of my strength and throw it out. It is not - exactly the same astonishment as my expression is at the cafeteria, when she hears that I do not have a water bottle. The panic search for mugs in the nets begins, and the seconds fly. In the background a man catching up with me - some new one. In the meantime, I realize sensational information - I'm still in the top 10. Garmin shows 29 °C.
The situation changes after the buffet, when it turns out that it is still uphill. As they say: maybe bad, but at least stable. The guy behind me yells at me that I'm going badly saving my skin - the arrows are not there, but what he says makes sense, so I get off the asphalt on the stone stairs and move up. It overtakes me without a problem, but I do not mind it. If it was not for him, I would look for the path of Rebirth. Whoever has ever been on the trail between him and the Silesian House knows that it is not the most pleasant way in the world. Initial, very crooked stairs turn into a trail built of large stones resembling kinescopes. I can not imagine how you can run after them.
I'm going in full concentration trying not to break my ankles. A large chasm on the left with a beautiful panoramic view overlooking the lake is as cool as it is terrible. I would probably roll around for 10 minutes. I would like to take a picture, but I am afraid that pulling out the phone from the back pocket will disturb my balance, which has been somewhat damaged already over the course of time (verbal wit). For those who are interested in how the kinescopes and gulf look, I recommend this photo sphere from GSV:
So I go, running up very short moments in which such an opportunity appears and try to keep under 6 minutes per kilometer. I must admit that such a slightly unexpected situation caused that in the neighborhood of 17 km I was really fresh and I was praying for some fragment on which I could use this freshness. Any surface on which acceleration would not result in the risk of twisting the leg. For me, it was mainly a chilled tour, not a running one - I was counting on this when I signed up for the event.
In the end it got bad. It is Saturday noon, the main tourist route of the Giant Mountains, nice weather (though in the distance it starts to thunder from the black clouds) - it's easy to imagine what the trail looks like. The test of running is like trying to get to the tram at Wierzbno at 8.40 in the morning. The trail divides into a decent roadside and a stone, slightly crooked pavement. It is not difficult to imagine where most people are. Well, they have exactly the same right as I am on this roadside. So there are those who go aside when I see and cheer something up, but there are some who I would come to the forefront with. They may, I do not mind it, although I, seeing the running guy with the starting number, whose face clearly shows over 5 hours spent in difficult conditions, I would get out of his way. It's probably a matter of manners or understanding. So I run politely, using the remnants of strength for a polite combination: attention, excuse me, middle, left, thank you, repeated to boredom. Then it does not make sense anyway, because they are on the whole width of the road.
Two dramas at a time. Ahead of me, Śnieżka emerges, a runner behind me. I have already been to Śnieżka, but I remember it completely differently. Now there is a big and steep one. I look at my watch: in theory I'm almost at the finish line. I start the approach, the route is disgustingly heavy and I have to help with chains with chains. The difference between being pulled on a chain and hanging on it has never been so smooth. There is also an obscene crowd. Such a real crowd that one would like to overtake a stroller with a child, but there is no place. I hear voices - this time real, not like Karkonoska, when I discovered that these are only voices in my head (or stomach). People say how stupid and weird what we do. Few exceptions have a face with slight admiration. I blame the organizer for all this - I know that any information signs, that this day is running here and will go just this entrance (and there are two: easier and which we go: much harder) much would not change, but you can see it would be that he tried to do anything. It is uncomfortable for me to constantly apologize to people, and they do not know what is going on. Because when you climb up the stairs, and suddenly you get a panting zombie-like man, it's hard to get a good idea of what's going on.
I'm caught up by the man I saw in the back. I let him go sideways because I do not know how else he would miss me in this crowd. I say goodbye to the 11th place - it's a pity, two little ones looked nice and I could complain about how close I was to the first joke. Panda, Piotrek and a few familiar faces appear, who are waiting impatiently to see this characteristic grimace of pain on their faces. They cheer, shout, and take people apart, carrying us like Moses. By fighting for the 11th place, we destroyed this day - there was no one in the back to the horizon. We could go in slowly, with grace, but no - the ambitions took over, as usual. This was probably the most difficult competition in the current "career". Somebody on the internet commented that it makes no sense - it fights for a box, and further places do not matter. He can kiss me with such statements deep in the backside.
Someone gives me Coke Zero, which is one sip. I take it senselessly, drink it and put it in my pocket in the back. The guy in front of me slides down on the chains on one of the corners and looks like he just fainted hanging on them. I'm a little pity for him, and I use the situation a bit and overtake him. The walker in front of him gets indignant at him, that she is squaring her way and throwing not very motivating (or even unattractive) text. I am in the position of an Egyptian slave carrying 100 kilograms on his back. I have no idea how much in front of me, because I do not have the strength to look up, I do not know how much I have an advantage over a man behind me. It turns out to be enough. I use the rest of my strength to raise my arms and look like a total freshman to the photo. It was the most difficult kilometer in my life, it lasted almost 15 minutes.
At the finish line I get Cola Zero again and the medal that hangs around my neck does not draw me down to ground level. It's great ... and made of stone. I feel that I would like to tie him to my ankle and jump again to the lake.
Running takes me a massacre 2:33:48 and the winner is 1:56. Full results available they are here.
Then just go down from Śnieżka, wait two hours in the shelter (which through the storm outside and an amazing crowd of tired people in the middle turns into a salt cave) for decoration, get to the lift and then 3km to the car.
I would take the 11th place in the dark, but I would not be myself if only one thought was left in my head: so little to the first 10 and so little to break 6 hours ... I'm glad, however, that I managed to finish because of a major storm a lot of people ended rivalry at the Śnieżka hostel.
PS I write the text at 5.30 on Sunday, the next day. Interestingly - I am definitely less tired than most cycling races, where you go like the others do, and not as you want. I also have an irresistible feeling that if I had such a stride attitude in a road race, I would be somewhere around half the stakes ... But maybe it just seems to me and actually went well in my triathlon debut quite decently.
The Krkonoše Triathlon is a debut I will remember for the rest of my life - that's for sure.
I will probably write a separate entry about the triathlon, people, decision-making and shopping processes ... but it's only when I know it. So far, I've proven to myself that with a little bit of self-denial, you do not need rigorous training plans, sacrifices and unnecessary stress to achieve decent results. The problem is that in order to jump higher in the classification, I would probably have to implement all those sad things, and I do not know if I want to. Life is one.
All photos in the entry (out of 360) are a merit Piotr Olkowski, who specifically went on this trip with us.