Nibelungenlauf 2019 – Half Marathon

I haven’t run the Nibelungelauf in Worms for years, I think the last time I was here, I was supporting Katja who ran her last half marathon ever. Anyway, after a decent Firmenlauf a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I could have a good run here in Worms.

I thought I should at least run a season’s best time, so better than 1:25. I thought around about 1:23 should be possible. I am pretty heavy at the moment, around about 82kg, which obviously doesn’t help too much.

So I set off early to Worms, meeting KDötz at the station and cycling to the start. She was a bit apprehensive too and didn’t think she was in form to run a PB. We got there as late as possible, which was good as it was raining and cold! The race started at 10am, I looked around and didn’t recognise anyone, which is a good thing generally, as I remember the people who always beat me!

Off we went and I was near the front, I was wearing my Astra Escalantes and was slipping quite a bit on the way to the train station. The first 1km was in 3:35, but I remembered quickly that the km markers are wrong in Worms, so it was best to ignore them and go off my watch.

The 10km and half marathon both start at the same time, so it isn’t always too easy to know where you stand, but after forming a mini-group with 2 other guys, we overtook someone who informed us that we were 2nd, 3rd and 4th – wow!

I couldn’t tell who was strong and who wasn’t in our group, but I was staying in the slipstream and feeling like I was running fairly easy from about km5 to 10. After the little out and back that the half marathoners have to do, I could see that 2 guys were close behind and 1st was well ahead. I started to struggle to stay with the group as they accelerated, but I got back in to end the first loop in about 41:30.

I was soon off the group in the 2nd lap and after about 3km of the 2nd loop an Italian guy overtook me. It was clear that he had run the 1st loop conservatively and was speeding up now, as my pace was pretty solid and he caught me up like I had stopped! A few km later another guy came past me, suddenly instead of thinking of the podium, I was looking at top 6.

I felt like I stayed strong and held it together well. I could feel a guy close behind me and at the out and back I could see that he was maybe 30m behind me. I wasn’t ready to give up my place though, so I kicked on to keep him at bay. I asked someone watching how far behind me the chaser was, he said maybe 40m, with only 1km to go, it was looking good. My legs felt decent and I kicked for home and managed to keep 7the place at bay, crossing the line in 1:23:30.

Now it wasn’t some super race, it was nearly 5 minutes slower than my best, but I enjoyed the race a lot. Being near the front and being competitive was so much fun after being shit on all season in triathlons!

It turned out that the guy I held at bay had started 20 seconds behind me, so he had a faster chip time, though my gun time was faster. I don’t care, I beat him!

KDötz ran a PB, but was unhappy as it wasn’t a sub 2. I can’t imagine running a PB and not being happy anymore! I am really considering running a spring marathon now. I will start doing some polarized training and see if I can get myself fit. If I can, then I’ll give it a go, I have some unfinished business with 2:50, or even maybe 2:45!

Neuwied 2019 – Olympic

Well I didn’t drop out of Neuwied, why not? I would say I am just that stupid! So instead of doing a longer run on Saturday and sleeping in on Sunday, I rested on Saturday and was awake at 5:45 on Sunday, ready to go to Mombach in the rain and race in Neuwied 4.5h later!

I’m going to keep it brief, as it’s no longer a shock when I have a bad race. We all went to Neuwied, got the bus upstream and swam about 3.4km in the Rhein. The water was really fast so the 3.4km wouldn’t take too long. Wetsuits were allowed. The race was pretty badly organised, the way into the water was dangerously slippy, then they wanted a water start, but as soon as you weren’t on shore, you had to fight against the flow to stay still.

Some genius decided to start the race themselves by starting a countdown from 10. Half the field started and had to be stopped. Then the race officially started by someone saying, naja, schwimm einfach los. Professional.

It was fun to see the kms click donw so quickly and I felt like a swam ok, but when I got into T1 I saw a TCECler ahead of my. I assumed it would be Robert, that’s fine. I dreamt it would be Micheal, it was Uli. Now Uli is a great guy, but a swimmer is he not!

Off I set on the bike, passing quite a few with a decent transition. I was again passing more than I was passed, but I was also pretty far back in the field. The course rolls generally uphill, but not steep, for about 10km, then back down and we do 2 laps. There was quite a lot of drafting, not from me, the number 79 ahead of me for a while was very blatent, and even when the ref watched him draft for a few minutes, he didn’t get a penalty.

After the bike I wasn’t feeling too bad and I put my socks on and set off. Uli and Heiko (not Heiko actually, it was Danny) had passed me on the bike, now was my time to bring them back. Except that in 2019 I can’t even rely on my run! I was ok, but far from fast. My guts were a bit sore, somewhat like in Zell, but not nearly as bad.

I trotted along anyway, passing some but also being passed too. I knew that I was our 5th man so wouldn’t count in the results (again). On the 2nd lap at the turn around, I saw a TCECler, who wasn’t Uli (he was about 100m ahead of me all the way). I thought it must be a masters or 2nd team person, but amazingly it was Matthias, our fastest man.

I thought he must be injured, he has had knee problems all year, but apparently it was just a day from hell for him, so I managed to overtake him and counted in the results one last time for TCEC.

I finished a good 9-10 minutes behind Chris, Peter and Michael, all aspects of my race sucked. It was just so 2019 for me. This time at least I knew in advance what to expect, so I was less disappointed and tried to stay positive. Form is temporary, class is permanent!

So that was my last TCEC race for the season and most probably ever. If I don’t start in a league next season, I could jump into a race at somepoint for TCEC, but I’ll assume that I am done for now.

In the next week I have the firmenlauf and the Vereinsmeisterschaft. I actually have a feeling that they won’t be too bad, lets see how it goes.

Firmenlauf 2019

Finally, the triathlon season is over, and I can start to run again. I am getting the inkling in my legs to run more, but I don’t have many miles in my legs at the moment.

With this in mind, I wasn’t expecting too much from the 2019 firmenlauf. I knew that no one in TRON would be close to me, but Peter Lang would be starting and I’d like to beat him to be the first from TRON/BioNTech.

I jogged to the start in town and that served as my warm-up. I had anticipated that I would run about 18 mins, maybe a bit faster as my best time inbreeding course is 17:06 when I was in marathon training and last year with anemia I ran 18:05 or so.

I wasn’t allowed to walk into the front of the start pen, even though I knew almost everyone who was there. I met Robert and we went to the back and pushed our way to the front, what a waste of time! Later when Lukas and the other real fast guys turned up, they just ignored the marshall and walked to the front, much more efficient.

I was thirsty before the start but felt decent. Christoph, Robert, Lukas, Timo, Markus and Flo from TCEC were all there, pretty crazy, a few years ago no one else from TCEC was there. We set off and Christoph bolted out of the gate, going with the front group. I thought he was a bit optimistic and I’d be seeing him again soon!

Peter was just ahead of me, as was Robert. The first km is always a bit crazy as people set off at 800m pace and start to die pretty quickly. The rest of the race ticked pretty uneventfully away, me just behind Robert and Peter, not really gaining and not dropping off either.

I seemed to be moving well and when I was out of the curves and onto the home straight, I saw 16:xx on the watch. I picked it up a little and crossed the line in 17:14, better than expected!

I was happy with my performance but a bit disappointed to be behind Robert Peter and Christoph, although to be fair, they all raced damn well! I think the race sets me up for a run season and it’s good to know that I’m not starting from zero, in fact, my run fitness is half decent, I should be able to pick it up again pretty quickly.

Frankfurt City Triathlon 2019 – Middle Distance 2-80-20

This was to be my A-race, I would really train and go for it. Around 4:00 was the goal, I could do it! Well that was the thinking when I signed up for the race ages agon, but as you may have read in my posts this year, I suck!

I just can’t get it together so, although I would be giving my all, I wasn’t expecting the race of my life in Frankfurt. So, I went and signed in on Saturday in Frankfurt city centre with a (for basically no reason) pissed off Katja. I then headed to my hotel in Langen and she went shopping.

The race started at 6:30, which meant I had to leave the hotel in the dark and ride 4km through the forest to the start. Luckily I didn’t crash or get a puncture so all was good. I met Robert and we started pretty close to each other.

The start was rolling, the pros went off at 6:30, I started at 6:39. Luckily the water temperature had fallen a lot in the last week, it was 26.9°C last week but on race day was 23.2°C, so I was in my wetsuit. I felt like I swam pretty well, I overtook lots of people and felt ok. My arms still felt a bit full after 1km, so I tried a few strokes of backstroke, that didn’t help at all!

So after finding some legs, I got out of the 2km swim after 37 mins, not great. I took the transition far too slowly and had a 500m run to my bike. I got going quite quickly and after maybe 2km passed Lisa from work. I was generally overtaking rather than being overtaken, which is something!

The first lap is the longest, but I felt fine and my average was about 36km/h. I actually managed to increase that over the laps to about 37km/h, which was a bit better than expected, even though the route is completely flat and 40km/h should be possible.

Soon enough I was done with the bike and in T2. I felt quite alright, but started thinking negatively pretty early on. I realised that I haven’t run 20km in a single run since Mainz Half Marathon in May, and even that was a nightmare! I quickly decided to implement my run 9m15, walk 45 seconds plan from Roth 2017.

The first lap was fine, the 2nd also ok, but I knew things were getting worse. In the 3rd lap I needed the toilet, but my zip on my trisuit was broken. I couldn’t open it during my walk breaks, so I decided that when I finally reached a toilet, I would just try to wriggle out of it.

Well I tried, but I failed! I then went to a helper and asked if they could open the zip, they couldn’t. So I told them to rip it open. The female helper couldn’t do that, so a guy came and tore it open for me. After the toilet break, it had cost me more than 3 minutes!

The last lap was slow as hell and I wasn’t having fun anymore, but I got around and finished in 4h27.

Robert had had a pretty good day and did a 4:12, which he was happy with. Mark passed my on the run in the 3rd lap and Heiko had started as a pro and stayed ahead of me all day.

After the race I was done, I wanted to drop out of Neuwied in 2 weeks and really reconsider my triathlon hobby. I just suck so bad this year! The season is nearly over anyway, so I can see it out and keep on delivering crappy results, but next year either I’ll be better, or I won’t being doing triathlon!

Nibelungen Triathlon 2019

Worms triathlon is probably where I did my best ever sprint triathlon in 2017. Even though I got done for drafting, I could see the winner of the race ahead of me as I ran down the chute.

2019 is very much not 2017 though, and not to be too negative about it, I suck compared to how I was in 2017. Since my first DNF 2 weeks ago, I swam once and managed about 13 hours of training over the 2 weeks. At least I feel more comfortable on my TT bike now that I have changed the bars back, but I haven’t ridden enough to feel great on the TT bike yet.

There has been a heat wave over the last few weeks, so as expected wetsuits were not allowed for the swim. That is a bad thing for me! This week we had a very strong team, Michael, Basti and Timo are all very strong and Robert and I are fairly similar athletes.

So after waiting around for hours, the race finally started at 12:10. I felt like I was near the back from the start, but I could see Robert almost all the time and swam on his feet for a while before he seemed to veer off to the right, so I kept on straight. I wore a new pair of Swedish goggles, which immediately filled with water and I struggled to see much, hence the swimming on feet! I got out of the water just behind Robert in 14:08, not a good time.

I overtook Robert after about 1km of the bike, but after about 3km he overtook me again. I felt comfortable in aero, but I still wasn’t fast. I had to let Robert go as I couldn’t keep pace, I swear I used to be quite good at triathlon! I kept on at my pace, passing a few people but I wasn’t flying.

Less looking, more riding!

In T2 I managed to overshoot my parking spot and had to go back, costing me a few seconds. I shouted a comedy – I hate triathlon – to the masters team who were cheering me on. On went the shoes and I was off on the run, slightly worried after my nightmare in Zell. Fortunately this time I could run, and I actually felt like I was running well.

I overtook people pretty constantly, but I counted that Robert was about 40 seconds ahead of me at the start. I was very slowly catching him, but it was going to be tight as to whether or not I would catch him. The course has changed in the last couple of years and the run isn’t very nice anymore. We run over a bridge, around a loop and back over the bridge, it’s hardly scenic and very windy and up and down.

On the 2nd lap, I was definitely much closer to Robert, but as I came back towards the finish area, it was clear that I wouldn’t catch him. That means I would be the Streichergebnis, the one who doesn’t count in the team score, as Michael, Timo and Basti were all minutes ahead of me.

So, after a DNF last time out, this time I wouldn’t count in the results, it’s quite a season I’m having. I was shocked at how bad my bike time was, and I will really try to get a lot of kms in before Frankfurt City in 4 weeks.

This result also means that it is almost certainly my last race for TCEC, as I’m not allowed to start in the 2nd team and all of the best starters are available in Neuwied, meaning I should be left out. I’m moving to Berlin in Autumn, so won’t be around next season for the league races.

I might sign up as an individual starter in Neuwied, just to compare myself against the others and for fun, but if my training doesn’t go well, I’ll just leave it be and go out with a whimper, not a bang.

Mittelmosel Triathlon 2019 – DNF

I had dreams of grandeur going into this one but it ended up being my worst race ever!

Zell am Mosel is a lovely little town, very picturesque and normally a good race too. We would swim in the Mosel with the flow of the river, so it was 2km swim instead of the normal 1.5km in an Olympic triathlon. The river was really slow though, I reckon it was more like a 1.8km swim, which doesn’t exactly play to my strengths!

This week the team was completely different again. Michael was back and Heiko B and Stephan J were filling in the 1st team, with me and Robert starting again.

After a walk along the river to the start, the race was finally underway with a mass start. The river is fairly wide, so it wasn’t aggressive like last week. I felt like I was swimming well at the start, but I realised that I was probably too far to the side, whereas the fastest stream is in the middle.

After what felt like an age, I saw the sprint start to my side, so we still had 700m to swim, damn! It all went ok though, and I was 2nd out of the water in TCEC, well behind Michael, with Heiko B and well ahead of the others.

In winter I messed around with my bike, I angled the tri-bars up so that I could get my head lower. It is really uncomfortable for me though, but I have been trying to get used to it. I set off on the bike in Zell but after 1km I was already out of aero and riding on the top-bar.

Heiko passed me, which isn’t normally the case. Then when we hit the hill, which was a bit of a beast, Mt Barlo, Stephan S came past me like I was standing still! I tried to take it easy, an Olympic is much tougher than a sprint and I could catch him later on the run.

Finally, I was on the descent and back on the flat, but that was only lap 1 of 2. On the 2nd lap, I caught Heiko again before the hill, but Robert and Uli caught me, that means they were way, way faster on the bike than me.

After the bike was finally over, I decided to put on socks and really go for the run. I was confident of catching everyone but Michael on the run. I set off and almost immediately was paralysed. I had a really bad stitch and couldn’t breathe. After 400 slow metres, I thought I should walk and try to let it pass.

It didn’t pass. I jogged slowly and it hurt like hell. I jogged very slowly and it was still dreadful. I knew I couldn’t run at all, so I would have to walk and make sure that we had 4 finishers. I hadn’t seen Stephan J at all and even after walking for a long time, I still hadn’t seen him. I knew that if he had dropped out, I needed to finish no matter what, even if it meant walking 9km.

Luckily Stefan was still in the race and passed me after about 2km. I walked to the end of the first lap and dropped out. It’s my first ever DNF and not something I am proud of at all. I feel like I let down the team, even if I had run well, it wouldn’t have been a good race, but this was just a nightmare.

As soon as I got home, I started to change the set up of my bike back to being a flat bar, as it used to be. I just can’t stay in aero with my arms in a slight praying mantis position, so it had to go asap.

Baumholder Triathlon 2019

The 2nd race of the season was in Baumholder. Where I hear you ask? Yes, Baumholder, it’s about 15km south of Ider-Oberstein. If you have to orient yourself using Ider-Oberstein, then you are in the middle of nowhere, and so it was in Baumholder.

It’s actually a nice little town and it works very well for a triathlon, as there is the lake which is just about big enough for a sprint tri, a hilly bike route and the run around the lake.

We arrived nice and early and were all ready to start. The team that started in Hachenberg was decimated, with only Peter starting for the 1st team again. Timo was subbed in, along with Robert, Stephan Schweiger and me.

The 2nd team were all between 16-18 years old. That’s not normally a problem in a sprint, but today the bike course was 26.5km long. They announce 45 minutes before the race that no one under 18 years old could compete, as it is too long. All in all 11 kids couldn’t start, someone from another team even cried!

As a compromise, the organisers shortened the bike course to 20km (22km actually) so that everyone could start.

They also changed the advertised swim. It was going to be 600m, but advertised at 750m, they added a short out an back to make it a bit longer than 750m and a real boxing match at the start.

Baumholder Triathlon 2019

So we started. It was really aggressive, I was hit and kicked and people were swimming all over the place, even with only 45 starters. After 200m it got much better and we had to swim once around the lake in an anti-clockwise direction. Sighting was difficult as they had different colour buoys. There was also an almost invisible rope that we had to swim around to get to the exit, I didn’t know it was there so it cost some time.

But the swim was over and I was just ahead of Robert, with Peter and Timo being miles ahead of me as expected. I took my road bike as I wasn’t sure what the best choice would be. It was advertised as 410hm over 26.5km. That’s hilly! It was also raining on the way to the race, so I wanted the disc brakes, even though it actually dried out completely before we started.

I rode ok, but think I made the wrong bike choice. I was overtaken by a good few people, especially on the flats/downhills. Robert came passed me after maybe 12km, but I managed to stay with him, even overtaking him on an uphill, only be overtaken again on the next downhill.

We got into T2 together, so I followed Robert. He ran into the wrong row of bikes though, so I did too. I decided to dip under the bike hanger and get my shoes, but the ref saw me and told me to go back out and around, that cost me quite a bit of time.

I set off on the run maybe 20 seconds behind Robert. He seemed to be keeping the gap pretty steady to me, but after 1.5km the elastic snapped and I caught him quite quickly. I passed him near the end of lap 1 and could extend my lead over the next lap.

Baumholder Triathlon 2019

At the very end, my guts started to feel really bad, but luckily it was only a 4km run, and I was done before it got bad. I crossed the line as 3rd in our team and 19th in the league, nothing great, but ok.

Overall I was satisfied with my day, my swim kind of sucked and I think if I had been on my TT bike I would have been faster, but who knows!

Löwentriathlon Team Sprint

Last year the team sprint was a stress filled affair. I knew that the others would swim better than me, I would struggle on the bike, but the run should be okay. This year I was in the 2nd team and expected a fairly easy day out, which is pretty much what happened to be fair!

The water temperature was 18°C after a few warmer days, so we swam. The team was made up of two youths, Alex and Janik, and a guy I had never met Danny and me. I had trained on the bike with Janik and Alex a little before the race, cycling isn’t their strength. Danny would be a dark horse, but he didn’t seem too confident in his swim!

We started at 15:23 and I knew straight away that I wasn’t the slowest swimmer. I feel like I swam well for me, even though I had water in my goggles from metre 1 onwards. Either I swam a weird line, or others did, as I could see people swimming way off to my right and left at different times during the swim! Soon enough I was out of the water in just over 12 minutes and on my way into T1.

I was told that I was the first TCECler, but I was actually 20 seconds behind Janik. We got out of our wetsuits, I put on my socks, start number was on and helmet too before Alex came around the corner. He too managed to get completely changed and ready and wait a while before Danny arrived. I helped him with his wetsuit and start number, then we were off. It felt like we waited an age for him, but it was actually 3.5 minutes.

Off we set on the bike and I went to the front to control the tempo. Last year we started too fast and blew up, this year I wanted a more controlled pace. Unfortunately even this controlled pace was too fast for the youngsters, so I had to back off some more. The first lap was a learning experience, trying not to drop Janik and Alex!

The next 2 laps went much better, we controlled the pace better so that we could stay in a group. We weren’t riding fast, but we were together as a team, after the 3rd lap came T2. I had a strangely good change and I was out well before the others. I had to stop myself as I didn’t want to risk getting the team DQ’s if they were too far behind.

We set off the run and I had no idea what to expect. The pace was decent and we started overtaking teams fairly quickly. After 1-2km Alex started to fall back but the other two seemed strong. Danny hung in behind so I didn’t try to push the pace too much in case he hit a wall. After the 1st lap all was good but Danny was starting to wane. I gave him a push now and then as best I could, but it isn’t too easy to do, especially from just one side.

When we reached the top of the hill, Danny had a 2nd wind and Janik seemed to start to struggle. We still kept up a decent pace though and I tried to get a good sprint going at the end to catch a team in front of us (it is irrelevant if you catch someone as we start at different times, but as a goal it seemed to work). We crossed the line for 8th place from 13 team, so pretty much in the middle.

It was a shame that we had weaknesses in each discipline that cost us a lot of time. We had the slowest bike split in the league by more than a minute, only to have the 2nd best run! Our swim time for the first 3 swimmers was decent too, but that isn’t how it works.

Anyway, the 1st team were flying and I’m not sure that I would have kept up with them on the bike and run and they swam a minute faster than me too, so I am happy to have been the big fish in the small pond today.

Mainz Half Marathon

I’m going to make this a short one, as I am actually writing 3 weeks after the race!

The super short version is this: I bought a pair of Vaporfly 4% shoes, I used them for one 6km run before the race, I set off at about 1h20 pace, but got weird cramps in both quads very early in the race (right after 5km, left after 7km). I had to back off the gas, I was going to quit but could hold about 4:00-4:15/km pace for the rest with only fairly severe pain in my quads, so i ran in a 1:25 half marathon.

Now I will extend it slightly more. I set off with Michael and he wanted to run 1:22 of so. I felt good and he seemed to be going well too. We caught the first women and were cruising. It was seriously only about 4-5km into the race that my right quad started to cramp, I hoped it would stop, as I have never had quad cramps when running before. The right leg was actually bearable, and I kept up with Michael and our group, but after the turn around so that we would be running with the wind on our backs, my left leg started to go. It was agony!

I still hoped it would subside, but it didn’t. I decided to stop and stretch, but that didn’t help, so I decided to drop out. I was in Mombach so just stopping seemed stupid, I needed to get back to the start, so I jogged on. My leg felt much better at a slower pace, so after 11km I decided to keep on and I could drop out in the city centre at km14.

I soon reached km14, Robert had passed me a while back, but I was still moving ok. I decided that dropping out when running sub1:30 pace seemed stupid, especially given how many people would dream of running such a time, so on I went. My main fear was the pain that I would feel in the next few days! Wormserstr was crap, but I could manage it okay and I soon realised that a 1:26 was on.

I jogged it in, actually I ran backwards over the finish line. I don’t know why I did that, I just fancied doing somthing a little wacky, especially as my time was irrelevant. As soon as I stopped, my legs seized up, I could hardly walk, but at least I hadn’t DNF’d.

I was surprised that my legs weren’t too bad in the coming days. I guess it’s because it wasn’t DOMS, just cramps. I sent the Vaporflys back and bought some Nike Streaks instead, it seems like a safer option.

I was disappointed that I couldn’d do a good time in Mainz, I will break 1:20 in Mainz some time, maybe next year?

Skoda Tour – Frankfurt/Eschborn Classic

I haven’t raced for a while, as you can see by my lack of race reports. Training is kind of going well, I am cycling well and running is a bit on and off, but generally good too. Swimming isn’t where it should be, but I have a base and should be able to build from here.

So where is the problem? Well my recovery has been really bad all year. I do some harder training and I have DOMS for days afterwards. Here’s a good example. We did a 10x800m set in run training. It went okay, but all the next day (Thursday) I was very sore in my quads. We had arranged a bike ride on Friday to Feldberg and I could ride well, but that on top of my pre-existing DOMS really knocked me out for 3-4 days.

Anyway, enough of that, this is about Eschborn. I decided to sign up on the day this year so I had some rest time on Tuesday. I had to get the 6:39 train from Kastel though, so I was up early! I ate a bucket of oats and was on my way. I had bought myself a speed suit for this race along and my upcoming Time Trial in Wörrstadt. I felt a little silly stading around in it before the race, but when were riding, it felt comfy and fast.

I set off just after the first starting pen and with the Team Skoda boys. There were a few of them who were really strong and wanted to push the pace from the start, which I was happy about! After getting into a rhythm we were moving well and after 38 minutes of hard work, we caught the/a main peleton. I made a stupid mistake of not moving to the front of the peleton.

Pretty soon the course started heading up, not steep at first, but soon it hit Feldbegr proper. My problem was that the peleton was falling apart, and I had to keep bridging to the next group. On Feldberg I was passing all the people who were falling off the groups ahead, but only slowly reeling in the big groups. Near the top I finally caught them, but decided to kick on at my pace, knowing that my decending skills are not the best.

At the top my average speed was 33km/h, last year it was 29km/h if I remember coreectly, so I was much faster. I also decended well for me, I could keep my place more or less, I mean some were faster, but I passed some people too.

On the climbs I generally seemed to be one of the strongest riders near me, often riding away from the group that formed on the flats. The tarmac on the roads was lacking quite a lot of the time, I don’t like hitting potholes at 70km/h!

There were more small uphills on the decent of Feldberg than I remembered, but nothing too hard. I was still feeling strong when we headed to Mammolshain, home of the famous stich.

This time I didn’t leave the entire group behind, but was still one of the faster riders. Very steep climbs aren’t my forte, but the 17% stich was still fine for me, even though I lost a lot of gears on my Merida compared to my Canyon I rode last year (36/28 vs 34/32).

At the top I knew it was all fast and easy to the end. A group formed again, but it didn’t work well together. I, and others, were shouting for people to take short pulls, but all too often they would get to the front and stop working, or try to stay at the front without having the legs to do it.

Anyway, I crossed the line in 2:48, which is about 30 minutes faster than last year, but the course was slightly different. Looking at Strava segments, I was much faster on every part of the course this year, so I am happy with how it went.

Post Race:

I headed to the Skoda VIP tent and ate some pasta and cake, then drank some Apfelschorle. I felt good and waited for Marco to finish to chat with him before heading home. After a while I headed off with rucksack on back and soon found that I felt like dirt! I couldn’t breathe, I think I had eaten too much or something, but as soon as my heart rate reached 130, I was in trouble.

I rolled home very slowly, and pretty disappointed after a good day up to that point. I guess it might really just have been a digestive problem, as my stomach wasn’t good for the rest of the day, but wheezing like that isn’t a good thing…

Anyway: next up is the results of my blood test to see if I have Diabetes (no need to get into that too much, long story short, I am sleeping badly because of a dry mouth, could be diabetes, probably isn’t) then Mainz half marathon on Sunday. I should run between 1:19-1:30 there, more exact I can’t really say, things seem very variable at the moment!