TRANSFIER 70.3 is the 3rd most difficult triathlons in the world, organised on Transfagarasan, a 90km paved mountain road crossing the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains, which climbs to an altitude of 2,042 metres (6,699 ft), making it the second highest mountain pass in Romania after the Transalpina.
Photo from Wikipedia
I participated to the King of Transfagarasan contest, which is a 45km hill race, starting from Lake Vidraru and ending at 2000m altitude, near Lake Balea. The organisers counted only the climbing. The hill had 1200m level difference and the last 12k got really hard. To get back to the START, there were another 30k of biking.
Here’s my story…
I don’t have a bike and for KoT I borrowed a bike from a retired professional cyclist which is now having his own bike-repairing service. For training, I used the old bike of Alex, my dearest training partner. He participated at Transfier Half Distance and sometimes I joined the Half Iron Man trainings.
I personally did not followed a regular bike training schedule, only cycling classes to the gym and mountain bike. Our average distance was between 40k to 60k. I run instead, an average of a marathon per week.
I did not felt prepared for the race. I did not know what Transfier really means. I just realised the difficulty when driving on Transfagarasan with a day before the contest.
My motto was “Always show up.” I knew that I was not having a proper bike but in spite of the lack of professional equipment, I finished the race in 3h:32 min.
In spite of underestimating my physical condition, the first 30k was like a warm up. With 12k before the finish I started to feel the pain especially because of the muscle cramps I had in the last 7k. Everything was manageable and I was happy and thrilled.
Photo by Radu Cristi
The main lesson learned was to never underestimate yourself. If you want something, go get it. Period.
When something feels hard, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Perhaps you are not trained for it and ahead of you, there is an opportunity for improvement.
But, I was in shape and the landscape purely fascinated me. The weather was perfect and I still carry the feeling of pride and calmness I had at the end of the race.