Time of year: June
Value for money: 5
Crowd support: 3
PB potential: 2
Course: Bike course is hilly but beautiful, run is flat
Competitors: Approximately 400
Locality: Ondarroa is a small town in the Basque country and is typical of the region. It is quite a nice town but cyclists will like the whole region! The sea on one side and the mountains on the other. There are triathlons in the Basque country every weekend during the summer and these give way to duathlons in the spring and autumn. After the race, it is a great idea is to hit the bars and try the local specialities called ‘pintxos’, the Basque traditional tapas or a ‘Sidreria’, a cider house serving huge portions of food and unlimited cider from the barrel.
Getting there: The best way to get to Ondarroa if you’re travelling from outside Spain is to fly to Bilbao and then take a bus or train.
Webpage: http://www.triatloi.org (only in Spanish and Basque)
My experience: After the race last week I was a little nervous about the swim but luckily in this race we would not swim too far out but swim across the bay quite close to the beach and then swim into the river to get out. The weather was fantastic and I had travelled with my friends and my girlfriend. We had stopped for lunch on the way and I was still feeling very full when we arrived. We were a bit late and my friend rode into town to pick up my number and stuff while I prepared myself.
When the race started I realized that the sea was rougher than it looked and as we swam I couldn’t see the buoys in the swells. This was a little nerve-wracking at first but then I started to feel more confident. As we swam into the river I could feel the water changing from salt to freshwater. It was quite a strange experience!
The bike course was lovely and I was feeling good when I got off the bike. I thought I could run under 40 mins and finish in under 2h 30 but it wasn’t to be that day. I started to fade on the second lap of the run and finished just outside this time but it was still a lot better than last week.