Chronicle of the XI Winter Triathlon «Ansó Valley»

During the last week, several consecutive storms left the Linza Circuit in good conditions for cross-country skiing. A week earlier, the eleventh edition of the “Valle de Ansó” Triathlon had been suspended due to the absence of snow.

The conditions allowed the organizers to announce that the test would be held on Sunday, February 20. During Saturday, with the entire organization working at full capacity to carry out the test, a light but persistent rain made us fear the worst.

The managers of the circuit work piece by piece to recover the areas that the rain has most damaged. At dusk the sky clears and temperatures drop, so that the wet snow freezes. Despite this, the work carried out on the circuit makes it practicable, although with considerable technical difficulty, due to the hardness of the snow.

The low thickness of snow did not allow the snow to be drilled in the morning, since the crust broke. Although throughout the morning, with a splendid sun, the conditions will soften somewhat, all the participants, even the best skiers, will agree that the hardest segment of the three has been the ski segment.

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Participation, 74 triathletes, 14 in the women's category. Without reaching the 180 registered in the Spanish Championship held in Ansó in 2010 or the 156 in Reinosa 3 weeks ago, it can be considered as acceptable.

Being similar to that of 2009, when this test was resumed with the classic format, the organization considers that a bad winter, with few days with the circuits in conditions to train cross-country skiing, and the fact that the lack of snow forced to postpone the test for a week, have been the reason why the participation was not as expected.

As a similar case, it should be remembered that the initial participation in Reinosa completed the registration limit, 225, and that the initial quota of 150 was filled in just over 24 hours. However, with a previous week of uncertainty, the day of the Cantabrian competition, participation was considerably lower.

As for the level, note that 7 of the top 10 ranked in the men's category in Reinosa were present, while in the women's category there was no lack of the Spanish Champion, Mónica Sáez.

The organization of the test, in charge of the Ansó City Council, the Linza Sports Society, the Talón Libre Sports Association (manager of the Linza Circuit) and the Mayencos Pyrenees Club, had the collaboration of many of the companies and institutions of the Valley and the Shire, without which it would not have been possible to carry out the test.

First segment: Hard race on foot through the streets of Ansó

In the same scenario and the same distance in which the Spanish Championship was played last season, 7 km through the steep and cobbled streets of Ansó, the women's category was released shortly after ten in the morning and two minutes later to the male.

Among the girls, Mónica Sáez, from the Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon, the new Spanish Champion, proclaimed 20 days ago in Reinosa, was trying to impose her law on the foot race. Another Mayencos triathlete, Esther Arias, and Naroa Arrieta, from the Trigoi TT, clung to her. The two Mayencos triathletes would reach the first transition together (30:46), while Naroa lost 30 seconds. Behind, Soraya García (Valdemoro Triathlon) and, much further back, more than 4 minutes, the junior Maite Murgia (Trigoi TT), Spanish Champion of the category in 2009 and who would have a lot to say at the end.

In the men's category, three proper names, which had already met in the Reinosa Triathlon, Jon Erguin (Trigoi TT), Spanish Sub-champion, Sergio Gimeno (Duatlón Foncasa Calatayud) and Juan Carlos Apilluelo (Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon). They would be joined by another of the winter triathlon historical figures in their classic format, the Frenchman Jean Claude Carrere, from the Lourdes Triathlon France, a regular at the Spanish white triathlons of the 80s and 90s, which is already competing in the Veterans-2 category , but which, like Apilluelo, remains at the highest level. The first to reach the transition would be Api (26:45), with Gimeno at 17 seconds, followed by Iñaki Marsal (Hiruki Valle de Egüés), Carrere, Miguel López (Stadium Casablanca) and Jon Erguin, who lost almost a minute compared to from Apilluelo.

Erguin and Sáez open a gap on the bicycle

The cycling segment of this triathlon does not have the usual toughness of a white triathlon. From the 850 meters of Ansó it climbs up to the 1350 of Linza in 20 km, it is not what is said a mountain pass in which great differences can be made, nor does it have steep slopes. But it was enough for Mónica Sáez (1:02:41) to earn an income of more than 6 minutes to the triathlete with the second best set, Erkuden Almagro, from Lagunak Saltoki, who would take the skis in third position. Naroa Arrieta, who came second to Linza, already lost 10 minutes compared to Sáez. For her part, Esther Arias has started cycling a little over a month ago and she has yet to get her full potential in this segment. He lost more than 14 minutes with respect to his teammate, making the eighth set. Maite Murgia came to the ski in sixth place, 3:43 from Arias.

In the boys, the differences were minor, with a Jon Erguin who would make up for the time lost in the foot race (49:44), entering Linza 11 seconds ahead of Sergio Gimeno and taking 31 to Apilluelo. Behind them, others such as Ricard Calmet (CN Reus), Carrere, Raúl Roda (not federated), Mikel de la Presa (Estanda Triathlon), Daniel Martínez Ibero and Iker Rozas (Lagunak Saltoki) or Miguel López Allué “Coix” (Stadium Casablanca), to complete the top ten, already more than 7 minutes from the head.

Technical ski circuit

On the cross-country ski circuit, you have the possibility to design several routes, most of them simple and without excessive hardness, although in some triathlons organized here, more difficult and technical routes have also been taken. In this edition the snow forced. A circuit of 2.300 meters was taken to which 4 laps were made, without being able to complete the ten kilometers. The circuit consisted of a moderate descent, with its equivalent in ascent, only interrupted by a steeper ascent of about 200 meters and a descent in several zetas. The technical difficulty was caused by hard snow, with some section where more than frozen snow it was real ice.

With these conditions, skill and balance on skis took more prominence than strength.

Mónica Sáez also had no rival in skiing, making 39:04, obtained 11 more minutes of rent and won with more than 21 minutes of advantage (2:12:31). Junior Maite Murgia asserted her ski level going from sixth place to second. Esther Arias took advantage of the fact that, in addition to knowing how to ski, she has strength and reached Maite Murgia, however, the Basque's technique is superior and she demonstrated it in the last descent, returning to overtake Arias and snatch second place. In fourth position, Naroa Arrieta, who was overtaken in skiing by the previous two. Susana Peláez was fifth.

For women's teams, only Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon, Spanish Champion team in Reinosa, scored, this time with Sáez, Arias and Orosia Lucha, who did not miss the event he attends year after year.

In boys, Jon Erguin, who we all know his quality on the bike, has already shown in Reinosa what his skiing level has improved, scoring the best set, 27:25. In Linza it was confirmed that he is capable of overcoming the specialists and he was again the best on the boards in a very technical circuit, entering the finish line at 1:44:53, with a 53-second advantage over Apilluelo, who was again beating Sergio Gimeno, who made the 5th set in this segment, losing more than three minutes, a bit far from his level as a skier.

After the podium, Jean Claude Carrere, in fourth position, happy to compete in the classic format, Ricard Calmet, Raúl Roda, Iker Rozas, who improved 3 places skiing, Daniel Martínez, Mikel de la Presa and “Coix”.

The first team on the podium was Lagunak Saltoki (Rozas, Martínez Ibero, Zarranz) who beat the Spanish Champion, Duatlón Foncasa Calatayud (Gimeno, Colás, Pintanel), second. The Triathlon Standard (De la Presa, Calderón, Fuente) came in third position. Mayencos' team, 4th, lost a position after the disqualification of their junior, Nacho Ara, who mistakenly made one lap less on the ski.

After the test, and despite the difficulty of the ski circuit, there was satisfaction in the atmosphere. The participants, for what they have enjoyed in this triathlon, in a beautiful setting in the Pyrenees, with a splendid day. The organizers, for being able to breathe easy after more than a month of uncertainty, with a last insane week.

After the race, the people of Ansó offered a popular meal to participants, companions and volunteers, at the end of which the trophies were given and the gifts were raffled, which included the draw for various weekend stays in cozy rural tourism houses in the Valley.

Juan Carlos Apilluelo and Mónica Sáez, from Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon, are proclaimed Champions of Aragon in the XI Winter Triathlon "Valle de Ansó"

Three weeks after the Spanish Championship played in Reinosa, where 7 medals were obtained, Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon, shines again in the XI Winter Triathlon "Valle de Ansó", Championship of Aragon, achieving, largely thanks to the "Old guard" of the Club, 10 medals.

In the women's category, gold, silver and bronze have been won with Mónica Sáez, Esther Arias and Orosia Lucha, in addition to gold for women's teams.

In the men's category, the incombustible Apilluelo managed to be champion of absolute Aragon (also veteran gold 1), Jesús Les (veteran silver 1) and Rodrigo, Rodríguez and Capdevila were gold, silver and bronze (veterans 2). In men's teams, the Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon team won silver with Apilluelo, Jesús Les and José Luis Rodrigo. One more medal could be obtained, but junior Nacho Ara mistakenly gave one less lap to the ski circuit and was disqualified.

With these results and those obtained in the Spanish Championship, the team returns to the elite after a few years in which the team's main support was Yolanda Magallón, currently injured. With Apilluelo, who remains in the elite after more than 20 years, and the powerful women's team that has been formed this season, the name of the Club continues to sound in the modality that injected the triathlon virus among its members.

It should also be remembered that Mónica Sáez has been selected to participate in the Winter Triathlon World Championship to be held in Finland on March 26.

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