End of season retrospective + La Baule and Nice

September, as indicated in my previous blog entry, mainly took place in France (more precisely in Metz), under the great care of local triathlon club Metz triathlon. The month had started with my second FGP in Quiberon, from where we came back a day after and started a 3 week final stretch before my final competition of the season.

Coming back in Metz, I had 2 weeks of solid training and lots of time to learn about a city that was unknown to me only a few months back. I got to know better the team members of Metz triathlon and the French lifestyle and approach. A small adjustment period of course necessary, considering the big change of mentality/society from North America to Europe, as well as working with a coach using a different coaching style from what I was used to. Nonetheless, the last two weeks of training before my last two consecutive race weekends, in La Baule and Nice, could be included in the best of my season.

I arrived at La Baule with a lot of confidence, following an encouraging result in Quiberon. The format of this race was very different from ussual: women left with a lead of 8 minutes on the mens field, and the finish line ranking became the final standings. With male starting at 6:08 pm, it was the latest start ever!We also had the obligation to wear a race number throughout the race, and were given to do a swim warm-up for an awesome 2 minute period. The women’s start was given without problems (with about 15 women), while our start was a bit wild, with 60 men doing a slight false start who needed to pass between 2 buoys, 15m apart. It was a bad start for me, but I was yet again able to accelerate to find myself in the lead group in the final 300 meters. This brought me out of the water in 5th place, sandwiched between Coninx and Le Corre. A strong bike start confirmed our 7-man breakaway. Despite an hesitant collaboration, we entered second transition with a slight lead over the second group. I followed with a fairly solid 5k, tarnished by the absence of my race bib (which had flown away while we were biking). I had to take two penalties, but still did not think to pick my second bib in my transition bag… I finished the race in 16th place, but was subsequently disqualified, having finished without that precious bib. Despite the initial frustration, this race made ​​me confident for the FGP Final in Nice!

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A very easy week followed, in preparation for my season’s final effort in Nice.

The last Division 1 FGP in Nice was a crucial step in maintaining Metz in first division: In the 15th position of the general classification, with teams ranked 14-16 relegated to second division, we had to get a great performance to maintain ourselves. On a more personal side, everything seemed perfect for me, with a great feeling and motivation to perform. Unfortunately, the day before the race I suffered a seemingly minor bike crash, which however resulted with some annoying road rash, hip and shoulder pain and some bruised/cracked ribs. After a decent night of sleeping, I still woke up the next day ready to rock it!

At the swim start, a small wind had risen, which caused small waves. Therefore, after a really difficult and violent start, I had a bit of trouble spotting the buoys, therefore missing front pack by a bunch of seconds (15 approximately). Seeing the small gap at the bike start between my group and the first, I worked with a couple of other guys in an attempt to bridge the gap, but after 2 laps and 20 seconds additionnal loss, I took it easy for the last 3 laps in the middle of the pack. We entered T2 with a 30-strong group, and following a good transition I found myself in the top ten out of transition. I was quickly dropped from the big runners group (Murray, Mola, Diemunsch), but ran with a small group of 5 who caught shortly afterwards for the lap and a half remaining. With the speed gradually increasing, we were three on the final straight, but fell behind in the final sprint. I finished 20th overall, and second U23 French (due to my double nationality, I’m staying Canadian, don’t worryy guys!!). Unfortunately, our team’s performance (20th, 32nd and 41st) was not enough to keep Metz triathlon in Division 1 … Big decisions up ahead !!

In retrospection of my experience, two weeks later, I consider myself extremely lucky and grateful to have had this experience that undoubtedly prepared me for my first year as U23 in the coming season. Once again, a HUGE thanks to Metz Triathlon for putting their trust in me (especially Jordan!). I also feel it’s in the utmost importance to express my gratitude towards the two awesome families that made my (home)stay in Metz possible (and lots of fun): Thanks to Christophe and the Barthélémy family!!

Once again, I acknowledge all my (awesome) sponsors for this 2013-2014 season, who provided me the tools to achieve my seasonal goals. Without them, it could’ve been a whole lot tougher!!

Thanks to Nineteen wetsuits, who provided and awesome Rogue wetsuit, undoubtedly one of my best weapons for a fast swim and in my opinion the fastest on the market!

Thanks to Eload for their sports hydration and nutrition products, who are just the best (and easy on the stomach)!!

Thanks to Trimes for their indispensable support, as well on the performance side than on the personal side.

Thanks to Power2max, who allowed me to get me the powermeter with the best value on the market!

Thanks to my super coach Kyla Rollinson, without whom none of these results would have been possible (without forgetting Javier Cuevas, Alex Sereno and Tri-O-Lacs)!!

Thanks to Triathlon Quebec and Triathlon Canada (as well as the Rising Stars program), who have supported me throughout the entire season!

Special thanks to mom and Dad for supporting me in the harder times, and special mentions to Sharleen, Alan, André Théorêt and Kevin!! Without forgetting Jogx, who brought a well appreciated support in my never-ending shoe demands 😉

For now, a bit of rest before a brand new season starts, full of surprises, tough moments and some awesome moments 🙂 Even though it was a real roller coaster ride, I feel incredibly lucky for all these opportunities, and cannot wait for next year to bring me some new challenges!

Thanks again to all of you guys who take the time to read my blog (and please excuse the poor english you might encounter now and then) 🙂

Xavier

P.S. The results for Nice can be found here!

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