First of all I want to thanks everyone reading the blog (or my “dear diary”). It has always been fun to write about these adventures since the beginning back in 2010 and seeing the progress achieved in the last 7 years. So THANK YOU!
I know is JUNE, and I haven’t post anything. So my life have change quite drastically. First of all, I no longer live in Miami, I mean… I’m not even longer living in the United States.
In February I moved to Barcelona, Spain, which was a decision I was brewing since last year… to move to Europe to pursue a Master’s degree. And even though I have moved to another country, I have tried to keep training, and yes I have even raced already!.
Certainly it has been a culture shock to see how triathlon works here. For example:
- The race chips, the one you put around your ankle, you own them. Although some races rent it to you (for an extra fee/deposit), most people own their chip. In the United States, chips are borrowed (for no extra charge)
- Tribikes are called “Cabras” which mean goats. Tribikes are very uncommon to see here, as most people own road bikes. With a good reason!, since there’s a lot of mountains around Barcelona. But come on!, couldn’t they put a better nickname?
- And talking about road bikes. All short distance courses, meaning sprint and olympic, are draft legal courses. This means I CANNOT USE MY BIKE. Tribikes are only allowed on long course races (70.3’s and Ironman). This has been the biggest disappointment for me since I only own a tribike, and certainly I cannot purchase a road bike now since I’m back at being a poor student. Of course Lightning is not very happy about the situation as well!
- Races are called "cursa". And no, it doens't mean "cursing" at all. It might relate better to the word "course" referring to routes. You might hear "Cursa" this or that, technically just means race
Since moving here meant that I didn’t know anyone that do endurance sports, I decided to sign up with a local coach, at least to know the local routes and where the races are held. So now I’m with team ProAm in Barcelona. It has been nice to finally ride some mountains and change the scenery after being so many years in flat Miami.
Running is BIG here. It has become a big trend and a lot of people run. For starters I did the “Cursa Corte Ingles”, a 10k that held around 25,000 people! And by the way, it was FREE. Another 10k I did was the “Cursa Bombers Barcelona” with a lot of people as well! It is surprising to see how many running events are held around.
A person told me that Barcelona had a big change back during the 1992 Olympics. A lot of investment was put for pushing forward sports. Unlike the horror stories of other olympic venues falling apart after the games are held, Barcelona kept it’s infrastructure running and alive even after 25 years when it hosted the games. I love that part of this city!
Now back to triathlon. As you can imagine moving to another country came with it’s complications but it was time for me to get back in shape. Of course I’m eons away from being in the shape I was last year, but in trying not lose all my physical fitness I attempted to do a sprint triathlon back in April. It was called “Fastriathlon” and it was held in the Olympic Channel of Catalunya. On athlete’s check in, the day before the race, I learned that I couldn’t ride the Lightning the next day. Yes, I learned the most shocking thing, no tribikes in short course races! I was without a bike! I called my new coach desperate to see if he could help. After some minutes he said I could borrow a road bike from a teammate, but it had no proper pedals for clipping.
Talking about experiences. I was to ride an unknown bike the next day AND without clips. The next morning I received the bike. An old heavy road bike, nothing compared to my baby Lightning. But it just had to work. It was a great morning. I was impressed that they had a super sprint event, which it seems very common here and popular. They started first. Then the sprint distance. The water was wetsuit legal and off I went. Certainly being out of shape paid it’s price in the water. Not confortable at all and the wetsuit felt heavy. The moment of truth came when I went to grab the bike. With running shoes on, I started the ride. The bike was made of steel, on the first loop I was learning the gears, and there was a bridge where (since I didn’t have cleats) lost all momentum while climbing it. The speed was way below the speed I know I can do on Lightning, but then again I was enjoying the moment… it was my first triathlon in Europe!!!
After 3 loops I racked the bike and started the run. The weather was great and had a great run regardless of being out of shape. It was one loop around the channel, so you could see who was behind/ahead of you the whole time. Overall a really nice course.
Recently I went to check out the Ironman 70.3 Barcelona. It was interesting to see how they organized this race. At least if in the future I want to do a branded IM event, I won’t have any surprises. I had the opportunity to ride the bike course weeks before as well. Three big mountains to climb on the course, which I felt I almost died. Climbing on a tribike doesn't help either. But the highlight of being in the expo of 70.3 Barcelona was to met this guy.
Freaking Jan Frodeno!!!, current (2x) Ironman World Champion & Ironman 70.3 World Champion and Olympic Gold medallist. Frodissimo himself is such a nice guy. I was surprised he knew a little Spanish. Talking about inspiration!!!
Although I received a good dose of inspiration after meeting Frodo, this year will be a bit hard to race/train. For starters I’m back at being a poor college student, and as many of you know, endurance sports are expensive!!! I came to Europe with savings, and those have to last as much as they can (Needless to say I’m open for job/freelance opportunities :) !!!). Since the Year of Iron is over and I'm not looking to do another long course race in a while, but I certainly cannot race short course with my current bike (as much I would want to!).
So as far of goals of the season I have only 2. I will do the Barcelona Triathlon Olympic (Oct 8), where of course I will need to rent or borrow a bike (ugh!). The second goal will be something more in the long term but I will start this year. I will try to do all the World Marathon Majors!, starting with the Berlin Marathon on Sept 24!!!
In a certain way it feels that I’m semi-retired haha. After racing so much the last couple of years, it feels kind of weird, I mean... only 2 goal races in a year? But right now I’m just enjoying the experiences of living in Europe, long has passed the times of PR’s and actual serious racing.
So there you have it! If you want to know about my new life in Spain, follow me on Instagram to see more of my European adventures! You can do so here @bto81. As you can see I’m doing well and hopefully sometime I can get back into serious training, although definitely I will need to start saving for a road bike, ugh! ;)