‘Made for triathlon’ – Learmonth on Munich and the SLT’s Enduro

A year ago in Munich, Jess Learmonth produced what we called at the time “one of the most dominant performances in Super League Triathlon history.”

Unfortunately she’s having to sit out this year’s Championship Series due to injury but she’s joined us again to provide her unrivalled insight into this weekend’s venue and format, which is Enduro rather than last season’s Equalizer (a bike TT start and then ‘mini Enduro’).

In a nutshell, on Sunday that means three back-to-back triathlons (all in swim-bike-run order), with no breaks in between.

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Perfect venue

Jess Learmonth profile pic photo credit Ryan Sosna-Bowd
[Photo credit Ryan Sosna-Bowd]

Each stage will consist of a 300m swim (one lap) in the Olympiasee, a 4km cycle (four laps) and a 1.6km (two lap) run.

The event is entirely based with the impressive Munich Olympiapark, home of the 1972 Olympic Games, right outside the Munich Olympic Stadium.

So the first question for Jess is what does she make of that venue? “I loved Munich – it was the perfect arena. They used it recently for the Europeans and it’s so spectator-friendly, it’s like it’s made for triathlon with everything in the same area.

“And it’s really cool it’s on the Munich Olympiapark – amazing to think that was from the early 1970s and everything is still working really well.”

Fun and games

Running through the three disciplines and there were plenty of things Jess was keen to highlight.

She explained: “There are a few specific things to mention, starting with the massive steep slope down to the water.

“That added to the tactics, especially coming out of the water. Because you can either go up the steps back to transition or you could go up the rolling hills. I chose the stairs and I think it was Vittoria Lopes who went on the grass and it was touch and go between us.

“The lads flew down that descent and things like that really add to the fun and quirkiness and it will be interesting to see how people attack that this weekend.”

Swim – bike – run this time

Jess added: “The swim itself is pretty simple, though I seem to remember it was quite shallow so can feel quite slow.

“And then the bike is really fun. It’s quite technical, with a bit of a cobbled climb on it – it’s difficult as you can’t really get out of the saddle and there are a few corners that can catch you out.

“But I think it could be good for a breakaway as it’s a bit ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

“Into transition it was really sketchy, there’s a sort of dead turn – and if it’s wet it will be even trickier. And then the run is pretty hilly, with one major climb.”

Tough – but enjoyable

Looking at the format itself, Jess thinks there will be far less confusion than last week with the Triple Mix, saying: “I loved it – it was one of my favourite formats. Obviously it’s short and sharp still but it’s non stop and that bit longer.

“I’m one of those who like to be really methodical at transitions and knowing exactly what I’m doing after each one. There won’t be too many who will struggle with it as we’re all used to swim / bike / run – though it’s still very tough!

“I think with the Enduro, you can’t afford a mistake early on. If you’re not in it right from the start then your chance has almost gone.

“The swim splits it up a lot too, so people like Sophie [Coldwell] can really put pressure on the others.

“It’s alright swimming flat out at the start but when you’re diving in for those second and third swim legs, the stronger swimmers definitely come to the fore.

“I would have thought it will just be a small group of the top girls in it by the end.”

Jonathan Turner
Article by
Jonathan is Editorial Director for TRI247 and RUN247. He was previously Head of Digital / Comms for pro cycling's Team Sky and now spends as much time as he can running with his local club. Swimming is not yet on the radar.