Martijn Keijsers: Madrid, “one of the most spectacular courses on the entire continent”

By Paul Groves | 29 Sep, 2018

Back in 2016, we ran an article about Age Group racing and the importance in our sport that Age Group athletes represent. The inspiration behind this article was something that Martijn Keijsers, Communications Manager for the NTB, had written. His article had been picked up by the Age Group Team Co-Ordinator in Great Britain.

Well, just last weekend, Martijn was on the start list for Madrid and the ETU Challenge Long Distance Triathlon Championships. Another day at the office?

Certainly not. Let’s hear from Martijn  himself:

The second edition of Challenge Madrid played host to the ETU Long Distance Triathlon Championships last weekend. Known beforehand to be one of the most spectacular courses on the entire continent, the weather forecast promised a tough day in the trenches as well, since the September sun would bring about temperatures well into the thirties on race day.
While the LOC did everything in their power to accommodate both athletes and their travelling companions, only some 300 age-groupers eventually took the start on Sunday morning just before eight, when the sun appeared over the Madrilenian Sierra’s near lake Buitrago some 75 kilometres outside of Madrid.

The 1h50 cut off took its toll on some of the less experienced swimmers, as they did not meet the first challenge of the day posed. What followed was one of the most beautiful and at the same time one of the hardest bike courses out there.

In the cool morning breeze temperatures gradually rose, as did the bike riders, climbing to 1850 meters above sea level in three mountain passages. Climbs were never too steep, but winding and demanding nonetheless. As for the descents, even those on time trial bikes had their fun, since the roads were empty, clean and smooth and hairpins seemed to be laid out for smooth sailing downwards.

As these races go, a couple of hours into it toll starts to be collected and men with hammers seem to appear out of nowhere. Heading back to Madrid on seemingly forever and ever undulating roads feeling the scorching Spanish sun DNFs were seemingly slowly getting in demand when temperatures on one of the highways rose to 38 degrees and the skyline of Spain’s capital was still simmering in the distance.

Relief came in the famous Casa de Campo park, where T2 was set up and refreshments were plenty with much needed shade to help cool down the marathoners in their first strides.
Twisting and turning the runners took their now rapidly fatiguing bodies to the city centre, climbing the gruesome switchbacks the organization had planned for them when trying to reach the Palacio Royal and even further up on Calle Mayor to Puerta del Sol for a first glimpse at the finish line.

Four laps were left after this wherein all the remaining competitors were carried by vast amounts of spectators cheering for warriors they had never seen or met and some not even knowing what they were even looking at.

Titles and medals were awarded at KM0, Spain’s famous entry of Puerta del Sol, where even the last finishers were greeted with Mediterranean enthusiasm and warm cheers right up to the closing of the finish line at midnight where finisher number 212 was greeted before the lights went out and Madrid went back to the usual Sunday night rituals of wining, dining and strolling the still warm and comfortable city streets.

Sportieve groet,

Martijn Keijsers
Communicatiemanager/Hoofdredacteur Transition

Thanks for this Martijn. We look forwards to seeing many more Dutch nationals racing Age-Group next year, and not only in Weert !

Oh - and for the record, Martijn came home with a finishers’ medal, an ETU Bronze medal and a nice set of bandages - spoedig herstel, Martijn !


Related Event: 2018 Madrid ETU Challenge Long Distance Triathlon European Championships
23 Sep, 2018 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Timothy Van Houtem BEL 09:00:13
2. Pablo Dapena Gonzalez ESP 09:23:01
3. Morten Brammer Olesen DEN 09:28:12
4. Alejandro Santamaria Perez ESP 09:46:27
5. Dirk Wijnalda NED 09:50:22
6. Javier García Gomez ESP 10:27:52
7. Carlos Lopez Diaz ESP 10:39:10
DNF. Jose Almagro Valero ESP DNF
DNF. Albert Moreno Molins ESP DNF
DNF. Iñaki Pena-Manso Carral ESP DNF
Results: Elite Women
1. Laura Siddall GBR 09:54:33
2. Alexandra Tondeur BEL 09:56:44
3. Lisa Roberts USA 10:07:16
4. Eva Wutti AUT 10:15:03
5. Margie Santimaria ITA 10:46:05
6. Helena Kotopulu CZE 11:05:42
7. Silvia Felt-Balbach GER 11:19:06
8. Miriam Van Reijen NED 11:38:47
9. Vanessa Pereira POR 12:01:20
Results: 25-29 Male AG
1. Rachid Abdolcadir ARG 12:06:19
2. Ricardo Martin Martin ESP 12:15:04
3. Ramiro Jose Oliva Oliva ESP 12:30:39
4. Ignacio Delgado Ferreira ESP 13:05:25
5. Alberto Pastor Martinez ESP 13:48:14
DNF. Fabien Amestoy FRA DNF
DNF. Jonatan Corredera Rodriguez ESP DNF
DNF. Pablo Rojo Fresneda ESP DNF
Results: 25-29 Female AG
DNF. Veronika Ondreickova CZE DNF
Results: 30-34 Male AG
1. Marco Corti ITA 10:00:27
2. Felix Campos De La Fuente ESP 11:30:56
3. Hector Campos Fernandez ESP 11:40:57
4. Noe Aranda Lourenço ESP 11:41:23
5. Francisco Caro Garcia ESP 11:54:48
6. Fernando Casablanca De Lemus ESP 12:16:35
7. Jorge Moya Prades ESP 12:35:34
8. Antonio Vallespir Sintes ESP 12:37:53
9. Sergio Merino Motilva ESP 12:38:03
10. Borja Sanchez Molina ESP 12:45:28
Results: 30-34 Female AG
1. Kristina Sendel GER 11:47:47
2. Vanessa Fursden GBR 12:24:45
3. Charlie Smith GBR 15:00:55
DNF. Nicola Sommers GBR DNF
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