So much snow !

By Paul Groves | 05 Feb, 2015

The responses to the report on the ETU Winter Triathlon Championships, that was struck by terrible weather conditions have been very good. As a follow up, in this rather quiet period of the year ETU can bring you a second set of brilliant photos and an account from one of our Age Group athletes who recently featured.
The photos were taken by Jorge Morales, who can be found on Facebook, where he uses a name that on first glance looks Russian, OИA OИAЯI. He has very kindly allowed his photos to appear on our page. His photos are supplemented by the, “step inside as an age-grouper” comments from Hans-Peter Grünebach and some of his own shots.
ETU – Peter, you have been racing Winter Tri for many years now and you are a true supporter of the “Run – Bike – Ski” format so loved in Europe. When you were told that due to weather conditions the event would have to be changed, what were your first thoughts?
Peter - “All athletes were disappointed at first when the decision was made not to run a real Winter Triathlon with cross country skiing but there had been blizzards since 5 o`clock at Reinosa area and heavy snowfall already throughout the night. Most of us who had been up to “Alto Campoo”, which is at 1650m the two days before for training had already a bad feeling, due to the weather and we expected changes.”

ETU – So although not surprised it must have been a great worry for you that the event would be cancelled.
Peter“Well, it was an experience of “how to plan a winter triathlon with summer bikes in a mountain region without or with including a plan B for a tough winter weather like this …”
ETU – No plan B. Why do you say that?
Peter “Ah. There is a “history” to this event. As I understood, Reinosa was first held in 1987 as a  “triatlon blanco” with Pedro Delgado on the start. He was the winner of the Tour de France one year later. After his race in Reinosa other bike race professionals signed up to race this “triatlon blanco” in the following years and so you see a sort of tradition had grown up there. That’s why this event never changed its procedures and why the Rule Exemption had to be applied for. (ETU – Winter Triathlon traditionally uses MTB rather than road bikes. It is in the rules and so ETU Technical Committee had to apply to ITU for an exemption for this race.)  So there have never been any problems in all those years. But this time they had extreme blizzards and thunderstorms with uninterrupted snowfall (30 cm per hour). It was impossible to set up T2 at 1650m. The trucks carrying our skis could not drive up to the ski resort as it was too dangerous. The local authorities could not clear the roads and so it was impossible to get to the ski area.”
ETU – Plan B. How was it decided?
Peter“The decision to change for a Sprint Duathlon had been agreed by the participating nations through their team leaders and following discussion with the LOC and TD.”
ETU – so with a sprint duathlon, was it an easy race out there on road bikes?
Peter“It was an interesting challenge and for the first 10 km it was not so difficult. Downhill however was carefully managed by the LOC and there were many ambulances, snow ploughs, police and LOC vehicles there to support us.”

ETU – So a difficult decision that must have placed enormous pressure one the LOC and TD?
Peter “I think the decision was a difficult one. For the Organizers knew that whatever they did could result in negative comments in the media negatively. On the other hand Cantabria’s weather everywhere was dramatic.”
ETU – Once the decision had been made, how much of a delay was there ?
Peter “It was all a bit chaotic at first due largely to language problems but two team leader meetings made it clear. Also the Organizers, of course, needed time to reactivate the chain of helpers, police etc. up to the mountains and back and to reorganize the volunteers who were out on the course to get them into new positions. We started instead at 14:00. The funny thing is, one day later we could have run a winter triathlon in Reinosa (800m) itself, without even going up to the higher mountain region … So much snow had fallen.”
ETU – I know that you have provided the German Triathlon Federation with a very detailed report and I am sure many will read it and be impressed with the determination you and your countrymen showed at this race. As a final word, what can you say for those who were not there?
Peter“We were quite happy not to have fallen off our bikes – we were absolutely not used to drive a summer bike on snow. On behalf of the German team I would like to convey our thanks the Organisers, volunteers, our hosts and the enthusiastic, kind people of Reinosa with their hundreds of cameras, taking pictures of us within the snow storms and clapping hands on the run course, pushing us forward – we were nice and warm while moving – they must have been freezing because of standing and supporting us for hours! Thanks also to the city of Reinosa and their officials for the extreme good support for these European and the Spanish National Championships!
The security was good. The distance to the sport hall was short; in the old one – where the skis could be picked up – there was hot coffee, cookies, fruits etc. and a heater to dry wet clothes. A rich buffet followed in the new sport hall and a well—conducted ceremony, just like it is at World Championship events. I take my hat off, Chapeau!, to the Spanish for their organisation!”


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Related Event: 2015 Reinosa ETU Winter Triathlon European Championships
31 Jan, 2015 • event pageall results
Results: 65-69 Male AG
1. Sisebuto Gonzalez Gomez ESP 01:21:47
2. Peter Grünebach GER 01:24:06
Results: 70-74 Male AG
1. Steffen-Luis Neuendorff GER 01:38:48
Results: 75-79 Male AG
1. Reinhold Wolter GER 02:06:52
Results: Elite Men
1. Pavel Andreev RUS 00:53:06
2. Evgeny Kirillov RUS 00:53:08
3. Dmitriy Bregeda RUS 00:53:48
4. Egoitz Zalakain Erbiti ESP 00:54:23
5. Pello Osoro ESP 00:54:30
6. Kristian Monsen NOR 00:54:36
7. Joan Freixa Marcelo ESP 00:55:11
8. Giuseppe Lamastra ITA 00:55:18
9. Pavel Yakimov RUS 00:55:27
10. Oivind Bjerkseth NOR 00:55:49
Results: Elite Women
1. Olga Parfinenko RUS 01:04:10
2. Sarka Grabmullerova CZE 01:04:29
3. Ana Casares Polo ESP 01:06:21
4. Yana Lavnikovich RUS 01:07:02
5. Yolanda Magallon Vallejo ESP 01:07:10
6. Ingrid Lorvik NOR 01:08:07
7. Tatiana Charochkina RUS 01:10:18
8. Maite Murgia ESP 01:10:45
9. Gemma Hernandez Andoain ESP 01:12:05
10. Merche Bonastre Rodríguez ESP 01:12:17
Results: Junior Men
1. Pablo Verdoy ESP 00:58:46
2. Txomin Osoro Gutierrez ESP 00:59:27
3. Carlos Lopez Quilis ESP 01:01:16
4. Javier Magallon Martinez ESP 01:02:45
5. Jaime Izquierdo Alcazar ESP 01:03:03
6. Marco Liporace ITA 01:03:12
7. Antonio Monton Garcia ESP 01:03:51
8. Martin Røste Omdal NOR 01:04:02
9. Carlos Manuel Todo ESP 01:04:08
10. Nehuen Truc ITA 01:05:50