ITU Triathlon in London, UK – Week #1.4

The first triathlon of my life. This is it. No more chatting about this heel injury. No more talk about this dream. This week, it’s for real. My legs. The watch. Period.

You asked me how much I rest before such race: 3 days since it’s a B race. My A race is the Nationals in Nice in September. Regular training on Wednesday. Thursday: Flight to London. Friday. Easy training. Saturday: Rest. Sunday: You know what it is.



 7.5k – 2h48 78.4k – 3h13  15.9k – 1h10 101.8k – 7h11


 9.9k – 4h06

131.8k – 5h40 28.8k – 2h42

170.5k – 12h28


 6.5k – 2h53

66.5k – 3h00 25.4k – 2h20

98.4k – 8h13

1.1 10.3k – 3h50 135.7k – 6h20 16.7k – 1h40

 162.7k – 11h50

This week, for the first time in my life… :

  • I raced an Olympic Distance triathlon.
  • I bought a flight ticket right at the airport, just 2 hours before take-off!
  • I took my bike to pieces and assembled it again.
  • I swam with a wetsuit.

This week, I failed when… :

  • I assembled my back and almost broke the derailleur 😦
  • I cycled into a wrong way street in London, thinking it would be alright…but no, for the bus coming in front of me, it wasn’t 😦

But before diving any deeper in this London trip, here is a video of the speech that allowed me to become European Champion of public speaking. Time for your French lesson 😉 Enjoy.

Thanks in advance for the comments. I think I am very fortunate to do this and especially to know I can do this. For a long time, I was very hard with myself. Then one day, after a speaking contest, I saw myself on tape and thought: “Greg…you’re truly a b**** with yourself…during that speech, you were perfect for 7 minutes”. I hope you too are kind to yourself sometimes.

Okay, dry up your tears, now is time for London ! 🙂

Race – 3 days

I get to the airport. My luggage, bags and bike case for a triathlon week-end make me look like I’m going down to the Pole for 6 months.

I land in London at 7:30pm. If you feel you’re lacking attention, buy a bike case and walk in an airport 😉

During this short trip, I am staying in the neighborhood of Wimbledon, at a friend’s friends house called Simon. We meet for the first time. He greets me. Shows me around. Explains how the heater functions. Tells me there is some bread in the freezer and says: “Okay Greg, I gotta go now, I am going to my girlfriend’s, we’re off to the country side. Here is your set of keys. Good luck for the race. I’ll be back on Monday morning”.

He just left and for the next 5 minutes, I am laughing by myself, singing an imaginary song titled: “Damn, I am so lucky”.

Race – 2 days

Assembling my bike up is this morning’s priority. I am a bit scared but since I unassembled it myself and I am supposed to be a bit smart, things should go smoothly.

And everything does. I struggle a bit when screwing the derailleur but it’s all good. I head out but since the gears are not perfectly set, I go to the bike shop, 5 minutes away from Simon’s place.

There the guy looks at my derailleur and says: “Man, no! The piece is ruined. We need to change it and maybe even change the whole frame…”

My stressometer just went up to 850. I have no choice but to put on my European Champion costume on, tell him I am racing this week-end, that he’s gonna make it and that I need the bike for 2pm. He finally says yes…but not with the greatest enthusiasm.

Back home, I tell myself: “Please, God of all bikes, don’t do that to me. Not today”. I jump to bed to try to forget and calm me down. I wake up 90 minutes later and I dreamt it was race day and that I was told my bike was not safe so I couldn’t race”. I’m trippin’!

It’s 2pm and I walk to the shop. My stressometer went down… to 849. I enter and see my bike…all ready on one corner. Peter, the tech guy, tells me he had to push a little but that everything’s fine and that I can race. YES!!!! 🙂

Time now to go for an easy 1h ride. Of course I am happy to ride down Wimbledon Road. Of course, I lose my way and of course I ride on the wrong side of the road 😉

Race – 1 day

My routine’s been quite simple during those last 3 days. Cold bath everyday. Leg massage every other day. Stretching once to twice per day. Read more than usual (calms me down-currently I read “A course in miracles”) and watch comedies again and again! 😉

I noticed that when I watch comedies, it really relaxes me. I don’t think about the race or any other small worries. On the other end, if I watch a drama or something, it’s not gonna have the same effect. For example, I watched Zoolander before the race but I waited after the race to watch The Bourne Identity. You’re starting to see through my game plan!

Regarding cold baths, my protocole’s quite simple. If it’s cold outside, I stay in the bath tub for 15′, get out and take a hot shower 30′ later. If it’s hot outside, I can stay immersed in the cold for as much as 30′, get out and only wait 15′ before jumping in the shower. I only read a few articles about this but basically, I am simply listening to my body: “Stay in the tub, cold feels good” or “OK stop it now. It’s freezing! Take a shower!”. As simple as that.


I am going to Hyde Park today to get my bib number, visit the expo and watch a few races: relays, paratriathletes and the pros. My bib is 1864. I am hanging down the aisle of the expo and buy my future racing shoes: the Mizuno Hitogami. 190 grams.

Then I stop by the Blue Seventy booth, my sponsor, to meet Tom, the guy I have been exchanging emails for months. It turns out he’s a super nice guy. He asks me how’s the training going. I tell him I need a race belt. he says: “Go ahead, take one”“Oh and take this hat too”. Feels like my birthday. 🙂

Then I head to the grand stand to watch the races. There I am in the middle of a dream because I see tens of athletes wearing their countries’ official tri-suits. Me too I want my blue-white-red with “BERGE-FRA” on it! Believe me, you’re gonna hear me sing the day I deserve it.

It’s 2:30 and it’s time for the pros race. I am standing in the last curve and I can’t see a thing. The finish was incredible.Javier Gomez, Alistair Brownlee, Mario Mola, Jonny Brownlee and Richard Murray are all side by side. Suddenly, they all sprint but Mario Mola finds another gear and just zoom to the finish line. man, I don’t know how fast he was then. He finished the 5k in 14’18.

10401427_10152300279538153_6760252033495530037_nI am back home. My legs feel light but still, I shouldn’t have stayed standing and watching the pros. All my gear is ready. One “swim” pile. One “bike” and one “run” pile. OK G, go to bed, you’re ready.

Race D day

Wake up at 5:30. My wave start is at 8:40. I am planning to take my bike into the tube until halfway and then ride until Hyde Park. And no wrong way this time! 😉

During this last week, 6 other inspiring triathletes and myself have been selected by the race’s organization to make the “If they can do it” campaign. I contact them 6 in order to meet but it seems it will be difficult since our schedules are all pretty tight. However, one of them, Anne, is in the same wave start as me! For sure, we’re going to meet.

It’s 7:40 and I reach the transition area. But there are at least 1000 bikes. Sorry Anne, not going to meet today.

2014-06-01 12.03.33

London course map

It’s 8:40 and I can hear the horn. It’s time for 1500m of swim, 36.5km of bike and a 10k run. So exciting to step on the blue carpet. The water is at 16 degrees but when I get in the water with my Fusion wetsuit, it feels fine.


Mentally, I am expecting chaos in the water but actually, after 50m, everything is already pretty much set. Faster athletes are in front and slower ones are in the back. I am expecting to take hits but actually it seems like no one dares to touch me and I’m the only one giving blows! No mercy.

I finish the swim in 23’43. Right then, I am ranked 89th out of 1400! I can’t believe how fast I went. I am running to the transition area, where I kind of struggle to remove the wetsuit from my right leg.

The bike leg goes well. Currently, it is my weakest link. I realize that all those who overpass me have pure fantasy bikes! The course is relatively flat. I finish the 36.5k in 1h13 which makes me 1141th out of 1400 but it still faster than what I expected. Anyway, I’m gonna have to work on those thighs.

I reach T2, drop my bike and go straight for the run. From now on, you know it, I’m at home.

I finish the run in 40’07. That makes me 107th out of 1400. Once again, I’m really happy. If only I had known, I could have tried to run 8 seconds faster.

Overall, I am the 351th guy out of 1400 and 85th out of 400 in my age-group.


I finished in 2h23’12”. I find it ironic because last November, when thinking about my first triathlon, I imagined I would finish in 2h22’22” 😉 I am satisfied because I believe this performance opens the door to a bright athletic future.

After the race, I went to the Blue Seventy booth again to see Tom and tell him about the race. But as soon as I get there, a client talks to me as if I was a salesman: “How much for these goggles?”…”15 pounds”…”Perfect, I’ll get’em” 🙂 There Tom says: “Greg, you’re a hell of a salesman!”…”Hey by the way, take these goggles. They’re for open-water swim. And take these ones too, they will only be in the market in 2015”. Then I say: “Oh and by the way, can I have a black cap too? The white one doesn’t match my tri-suit…”…”Yeah, yeah, go ahead”. Best sponsor in the world 🙂

I now try to contact Anne, the other triathlete, who was in the same wave start as me. She tells me she saw my bike but not me. I look at the different results and I see that she finished the swim in 23’40 and I did in 23’43!! So I tell her: “But wait…it means the short blonde girl running in front of me during T1 was you!!!!” 😉 There she says: “But wait, if you finished 3 seconds behing me, it means you’re the guy I drafted off during the whole race and only overpassed at the end because he wasn’t swimming straight!!” 😉

I now have a block of 8 weeks to get ready for the main course of my season: Marseille 5150.

My Dreamfuel campaign has been extended. So if you wish to help me achieve a dream 2014 season and to keep on sharing crazy stories with you in this blog, click here. Thank you in advance.

Screenshot 2014-06-09 05.03.30

Nevermind what you love. Do it. Believe it. Speak it. Dream it. If you do this, it’s inevitable that it will come true. Don’t give up. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t stop. There are no other option, you dream will come true.


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