This is My Ride: T24 Ultra Triathlon

Team Argon 18 France takes us through 24 hours of strategy, suffering… and success!

Last October, four members of Team Argon 18 France were on the start line at a very unique event: the T24 triathlon. The T24 is a 24-hour ultra-triathlon with a 4-hour swim, 12-hour bike and 8-hour run. A piece of cake!

Xavier, our manager, Nicolas (aka the dolphin), Yann and Johan found themselves in Bormes les Mimosas (on the French Riviera), determined to suffer together as a relay team - and aiming for first place. For the swim leg, our strategy was very simple: count on Nicolas's swim skills to cut through the field, and for the rest of us, try to stay afloat! It worked pretty much as planned, and we went into the bike leg in the lead after a total of 15km in the water.

For the bike leg we decided to rotate every two laps, instead of every lap as the other teams were doing. Each transition cost us almost one minute, and as each lap was 16km long, we thought it would be more efficient to have one cyclist complete two laps at a time. That meant when one of us was on his E119 Tri+ the three others could check the live rankings and adjust our strategy. The 12-hour bike leg was overnight, which made it even more challenging, but we stayed in the lead with just a slight edge over the Guezmer Team. The night was very tough as we started to be (just a little) tired and we had to keep pushing very hard. Still, it was an amazing experience and we just needed to stay confident and trust in our bikes. We were also motivated by the other competitors, some who were doing the full 24 hours on their own, some as a team like us. Everyone was suffering - but everyone was also smiling.

At 3:00 AM it was time to drop the bikes (after 434km of cycling) and start running. This was the final test: time to stop thinking about strategy and just push as hard as we could. The Guezmer Team was still only slightly behind us and we were getting to the point where our motivation was starting to drop. Maybe they had gotten bonus points for the best bike lap? That could change everything, and we didn't know at this stage. That meant every lap (almost 4km) mattered, and every lap was a bigger challenge than the previous one.

After a couple of hours we saw that the gap between us and the Guezmer Team was slowly growing. It was the extra motivation we needed. None of us wanted to be the one to give up and so we all gave everything we had. When the sun rose at 7:00 AM, we only had 4 hours to go. We knew we had to keep pushing because one weak lap could change everything. Over the course of those 24 hours, we had been hanging out and chatting with the guys on the Guezmer Team, but now it was full competition mode. We cheered each time our runner came by, knowing how hard it was.

Thanks to Xavier, our Excel guy, we analyzed our competitors’ laps and adjusted our relay order accordingly so that we could keep our lead. As we headed into the last lap, which Xavier was running, the result became clear: we were about to win. We all ran the last stretch with him, and raised our arms at the finish line. I’m not sure if we were crying or laughing during that last lap!

Thanks to the Guezmer we pushed ourselves until the very end and that was why this event, and victory, were (and still are) very special for us. Next year the whole team will be there to see if we can win all the categories!