When Pedro Bartolomeu fell in love with quadrathlon six years ago, he decided to bring the sport to his native island of Terceira in the Azores. His dream has now come true as nearly 50 competitors took part in the island´s first quadrathlon on Saturday. It all began after Bartolomeu came second in the WQF´s World Cup in 2010. As Pedro could not attend further quadrathlons in mainland Europe due to the costs of travelling from the Azores, he thought about bringing quadrathlon to Terceira. He finally chose to organise an event in his homeland when Lisa Hirschfelder and Stefan Teichert, elite quadrathletes from Germany, decided to run a two-week training camp in Terceira. The competition would take place in the middle of the training camp – a perfect combination.
The big day finally arrived on 27 February. Competitors and spectators alike prepared themselves for Terceira´s inaugural quadrathlon in Praia da Vitória – the second largest town on the island. The middle-distance event began with swimming two 750m laps in the chilly 15 degree waters of the harbour. This was followed by a 7km kayak course, made up of three laps inside the harbour. A fierce wind whipped up the waves and the conditions were far from ideal for those used to flat-water paddling (the competitors had already had a chance to test the boats for their stability and suitability). The 40km bike course followed, consisting of eight laps. At first glance, the route was fairly straightforward, but with a total ascent of nearly 500 metres in strong winds, it was a demanding course. The real bonus was that the competitors had the roads to themselves as the course was closed to traffic for the duration of the race. As the route passed through the picturesque countryside, many of the spectators were actually cows in the neighbouring fields. Notably, there are more cows living on the island than people. The finale was a running route along the seafront – 3 laps of 3km each.
During the race, a fierce battle was expected between Bartolomeu and Teichert. Teichert left the water after the swim in first place, but the German was then overtaken by Bartolomeu during the kayak. Bartolomeu´s spectacular performance on the bike meant he steadily increased his lead, and the race had already been decided before the ran began. Bartolomeu was able to celebrate victory on his own home turf. Teichert´s second place was secure. The international field was complete with Guy Collender, from England, coming third in his first quadrathlon.
In the women´s event, the three-times quadrathlon Wolrd Champion Lisa Hirschfelder was once again victorious, and, overall, she was the third competitor to cross the line. Local relay teams, consisting of up to four people (one per discipline) battled it out in a closely-fought contest for the best team effort over the quadrathlon.
There were many endearing features during the event: a pool to wash your feet after the kayak en route from the beach to transition, enthusiastic marshalls giving details about how many laps to go during the bike, and a moped police escort for each cyclist when they completed their last lap along the waterfront. All in all, the excellent organisation bodes well for future events in years to come.
As with all competitions, this quadrathlon relied on good organisation, assistance from the authorities and support from sponsors. Bartolomeu was completely in charge of all these arrangements, and on the big day he was the first to arrive at race headquarters and the last to leave. This makes his performance in the race even more impressive.
It was also a first for Terceira – not only the first quadrathlon, but also the first training camp in terceira. The island offers ideal : a constantly mild climate, beautiful landscapes, hills (not too challenging), good roads, little traffic (with the exception of wandering cows), well-equipped running track, swimming pool, many paddling opportunities, and also great hospitality.
The plans for 2017 are already being made – a sprint distance with World Cup status, but also with the possibility of the event being part of a training camp-race package in the beautiful Azores.
by Guy Collender
Great performance from Pedro Bartolomeu
Lisa Hirschfelder enjoy the first Quadrathlon in the Azores
Great atmosphere at the award ceremony
Hard unit after a week hard training for Stefan Teichert
Guy Collender at the Kayak, near the beach the was still flat
The fastest Teams
|1. Pedro Bartolomeu (POR)
|2. Stefan Teichert (GER)
|1. Lisa Hirschfelder (GER)
|3. Guy Collender (GBR)
|1. Forjaz, Reis, Godinho, Ferreira
|2. Rocha, Leonardes, Ormonde, Costa
|3. Braga, Ponte, Bartolomeu, Teodoro
|4. Costa, oito, Jesus, Pacheco