The Road to Roth – Roth 2017

Warning – this is going to be a long post!

We got to Nürnberg on Friday and headed straight to the Messe to register for the race and get my numbers and stuff. I signed up for the shuttle bus at the 2nd attempt and was good to go!  On Saturday I went for a 15min dip in Rothsee, checked in the bike and went back to the Messe to hear the race information.  It was boiling hot, like 32°C and sunny so I think everyone was worried in advance about the run, I know I was.

           

Race Day

After kind of sleeping/dozing for 4h, I was up at 4am and ate lots!  6 pain aux chocolat and a banana later, I was on my way to the train station to catch the first train of the day with other athletes and drunks on the way home after a night out. I had noticed on Saturday that I had forgotten my trishorts, so I was going to have to swim/bike in my bibshorts, then carry my run shorts in my back pocket and do a full change in T2.  It was a bit of a nightmare situation, but I would have to make the best of it.

 

I made it to the shuttle bus on time and the traffic was crazy, but the bus driver just rode on the wrong side of the road the whole way, so got us there in no time! The journey only took 20 minutes, so I was at the start at 5:40am

My bike was wet from the dew, and my front wheel felt a bit soft. I am not a fan of high pressure tyres, but I decided that it was a bit soft, even for me. It’s a good thing too as it turns out I only had 3 bar in before then!  It was 6:15am when I dropped off my swim bag, then I went to the toilet, dropped of my ‘After Race’ bag and got my wetsuit on and waited for the start. It was all very surreal, getting into the water I almost felt numb, but the cannon went off and the race was underway.

I got smacked around, grabbed and pulled a lot in the first 400m, but then it spread out and I could start to swim properly.  The signs at the side were really useful so you always knew where you were.  It all went swimmingly, my arms didn’t really tire, so it was just a case of plugging away until the end.  I was curious as to how it was going, but didn’t check until the end when I got out and saw 1:08 on the clock, right in the middle of my guestimated time.

I had a slooow T1 as I had to mess around getting my running shorts ready in my pocket. I had also packed lots of stuff ‘just in case’ in my swim bag, which the helper emptied out, only to be told that I didn’t need them! After that was sorted I found my bike, turned on my Garmin and ran to the bike start line. I had a good long fiddle to get my shoes on properly, but then got moving.

The Bike

There were a few turns at the start, but then we hit the longer straighter roads.  The road surface was perfect, it was rarely flat, but the hills were easy and the downhills fast!  After 30km I checked my average speed and saw it was 35km/h, but my power was 240w, a bit high.  I was eating and drinking all the time, which is abnormal for me, but I knew that I had to to keep up my energy for later. After Greding, a climb that is half as difficult as people say it is, the wind seemed to be helpful, so I was flying and my average speed was increasing.

After 70km or so, I came to a hill. Music was playing and some people were at the side of the road, so I thought it must be Solarer Berg. It was ok, but but a bit of a let down. Then 2km later I came to what I realised was the actual Solarer Berg!  It was mental, people were everywhere and the atmosphere was amazing. My face hurt from smiling so much.

Fool me once – no drafting

I was really careful to avoid drafting after Worms Triathlon. I never got close to anyone, and when I drifted a bit close, I passed them straight away.  I only saw one small group riding together after 90km, but it was only about 5 guys.  The 2nd loop went much like the first, except that I tried to control my power a bit more. My speed was great for me, I was smiling to myself as I really hadn’t expected a 35er average.

After 120km I was eating a banana when my Garmin flew off. I had to stop and luckily someone was at the side of the road who gave it back to me, it only cost about 20 seconds, and it didn’t break either, so it actually worked out quite well considering.

After 140km or so, I was still feeling fine, but fellow TCECler Marcus Jores came past me, despite starting 10 minutes after me.  The 2nd time up Solarer Berg wasn’t quite the same as the first, not as many people were there and there were some very slow relay riders blocking the way, and overtaking with the crowd on either side was tough.

After 172km I was scared that I had missed the turn off to Roth, there seemed to be fewer riders around, so I worried that I was on lap 3!  I asked someone who said that the turn was in 1-2km, phew!  The last few km into Roth aren’t well signposted and lots of normal cyclists are on the road, I was never 100% sure that I was on the right route, until I saw T2…

The Run

After arriving in T2 and promptly taking the wrong bag for 5 seconds (number 1349 instead of 1439 – like Katja’s sign!), I did my full change into running shorts and set off. The start was downhill, but I went off stupidly fast. I saw 3:45/km on the watch, a suicidal pace. I was talking to myself, saying ‘slow down you idiot’ but my legs wanted to go, so I was at 4:15/km pace for a long time. I kept to my ‘walk the aid stations’ plan, so I didn’t blow out my legs. The stations are sometimes pretty close together, so I had a 30 second walk for the close together stations and a 45 second walk for the further apart ones.

I assumed I would need a poo stop, I mean I almost always do when I run, and I really needed to pee, so I held off on the pee so I could do both at one – efficient!  I didn’t need to crap somehow, so after 9km, I finally took my pee break.  Before then I had found Katja, she was at about 3km on the run course.  We had a ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ system so I could let her know how it was going. I gave 2 big thumbs up, I was feeling great!  After 5km I saw 22:30 on my watch, so fast, surely I couldn’t keep that up, but maybe I could…

Katja was at about 8km again, so I stopped for a kiss before heading off on the way back. There was a decent downhill (that I couldn’t remember climbing) on the way back to the middle of the run course, which is two laps of an 8 shaped loop.  After 12km the course goes past the Marktplatz where we had been on Friday night, I laughed to myself, I couldn’t believe that I had done 12km so quickly and so easily, I remembered the Macca quote ‘when does this start to get hard?’

The 2nd half of the run loop was tough, there is a nasty hill that starts off easy, then gets steeper, then continues on up for a while more.  My lungs weren’t happy at all on the steep part as my HR peaked, so I slowed a lot.  The turn around in Büchenbach is a loop of a small pond/lake, it was brilliant there, maybe even better than the Solarer Berg. It was so loud and so many people, again I smiled all the way around.  The downhill back to the end of the 1st loop was good too, nice easy running.

After 24km I saw Katja again, I still gave a thumbs up, though it was getting harder now.  My 1st half was in 1h38, so I had 2h01 left for the 2nd half to break 10 hours.  On the short canal part I saw Ralf and Karl-Heinz from TCEC. Ralf ran with me for a few metres and took a photos, before wishing me well and letting me run on.  After another short kiss stop, I was off on the way back down to the middle of the course.  I was worried about the hill coming up this time, I was starting to struggle now, but time was on my side.

I decided to add a walk break on the steepest part of the hill, a 45 second walk. I think it was a good idea, I didn’t need to push it too hard.  After reaching the top I felt like I had the hardest work behind me.  I also worked out that I could average 7mins/km and still break 10h. I looked at my watch and saw 4:50/km, granted on a downhill, but I felt pretty confident.

The last few kms were just basic maths and survival. 4km in 30mins is a fast walking pace, I had it in the bag.  I finally turned off the looped course and onto the finishing part.  After crossing the railway line I knew it was only a little further to go, then I was on the carpet. I was so happy, I had my hands in the air, I was pumping the fists and was just ecstatic. I had done it and with time to spare too!

Finish line

I got my medal and tried to calm down, my lungs were really tight, but I was fine, that just seems to happen to me sometimes after a hard session, and Roth was a hard session.  I walked off to the finish area and saw Bevan James Eyles from IM talk there. I said ‘Hey, Bevan! How’s it going?’ so he asked what my name was, I told him Richard ‘Stinger’ Rae, the nicknames are given out to patrons of the show. So he interviewed me, which was really cool, even if I probably just babbled rubbish! (starting at 73:15)

I got my instant finishers certificate, it showed my 9:49:02 finish time. I also knew from the run course that I was the fastest TCECler, so all goals were reached, and lets not bullshit, surpassed.

It was just such a great race for me. I have never done a real endurance race where it went really well. My marathons have been okay, but this was like a 2:45 marathon for me. The atmosphere was great, the best I have experienced in any race, the bike course is so fast, and the run was pretty good too, except for that nasty hill in the forest. I think I got lucky with the weather, it was probably more like 29°C and a bit cloudy than the predicted 32°C and sunshine, though I drank so much and threw so much water on myself that I think I would have been fine anyway.

The end of the Road to Roth

So, that is that. I will almost certainly have a bit of a come down from this high, but I am proud of what I have achieved. I set a goal, I worked hard and I achieved all aspects of it. I don’t even see how I could improve on it, I mean I could swim faster, I could maybe knock a few minutes off with better training over more time, but this was it, this was my race, and I’m not sure that I want to do another long distance, as it can’t really live up to the day that I just had.

 

Nibelungen Triathlon 2017 – Drafting

The 2nd league race of the season was just one week after the first. That was a good thing for us, as we easily won the team sprint, so were hoping and expecting to win this week too.  We thought that we could have 4 in the top 10, that would be cool. I was secretly hoping and dreaming that I could win, but I didn’t want to say that too loud.

An Early Check in

The race was set to start at 11:45, but as they had stupid check in times, we set off on the 8:13 train.  I met Christoph, Robert and Michael at the station, along with Judith who was racing too.  Christoph was starting in the league team this time instead of Robert, I will say that I didn’t think it was the right decision, but I didn’t think it would make too much difference either.

Delays – again!

We arrived and signed in, then had hours to burn!  They moved the start back to 12:00, with the masters race starting at 11am.  After running about 1 lap to warm up, we headed to T2 to check in the bikes and watch the swim.  They announced that they had a 30min delay, so the races would start at 11:30 and 12:30 now. Great.

Drinking the Rhein

Continue reading “Nibelungen Triathlon 2017 – Drafting”

Mittelmosel Triathlon – Team Sprint 2017

TCEC have been looking foward to this for a while, we want to get promoted, and with only 5 races in a season, we had to start off well in the Team Sprint.

Team Sprint

The team sprint is simple, but with complications. Everyone swims pretty much as normal. Then the team mates wait for each other in T1. When everyone is there, they set off on the bike together, where they can ride in a group within their own team.  Only road bikes are allowed.  After the bike, is the run. As soon as someone is dropped by their team by 20 seconds or more, they are ‘lost’ and are out of the race.  The clock stops on the 4th man over the line from a 5 man team.

Before the race

Delays

The start was delayed by from 11:45 to 12:35 for some reason. It was then delayed for another 13 mins due to a ship coming through!  We set off and I felt like I was swimming well. There was quite a lot of contact, including someone hitting me on the head before the start of the race, but that doesn’t bother me too much. The swim was 700m in the river flow direction, but that wasn’t much of an advantage.

Neoverbot

The water temperature was 23°C, so we couldn’t wear wetsuits. Normally that is a nightmare for me, but now that my swimming is ok, I wasn’t overly worried about it.

After about 400m of the swim, I started to notice fewer people around me. I knew that some were ahead and had my old fear of being last out of the water! T1

Bike and run

Shortly before the end of the swim, I saw another TCECler next to me. I overtook them.  After getting out of the water I was amazed to see that that was Michael!  I had imagined that it was Robert or Heiko, but Michael is a faster swimmer than me normally.  I had plenty of time in T1 to put on my sock (a major swim goal for me), it was almost 2 minutes later when Robert came out of the water.

We set off on the bikes and it went really well. We were flying for a few km, then Heiko and Robert started to struggle to keep on the back after their pulls.  The pace slowed a little and only me, Jonas and Michael took turns on the front for the rest of the ride. We finished with basically a 40km/h average. Not bad.

Running to the win

After struggling with my shoes again, I was last out of T2. The pace felt quite fast to start with but settled down to a comfortable speed for me. We stayed together for 3km, then Jonas stepped out, he couldn’t keep up anymore.  We were dependent of Robert who was the 4th fastest in the team.  He fought and kept the pace high.  We saw a weird bike crash on the 2nd loop, when a guy on a flat bit of straight road swerved off and hit the side, crashing quite heavily.  Other than that the run was quite uneventful. A team ahead of us was tantalisingly close, but we just couldn’t get to them.

winners

Champions!

We finished and then had to wait ages to find out how we had done. The 1st RTV league was also racing at the same time, we are in the 2nd RTV league, so it was hard to know what place we were in our league.  After a good while, we found out that we had clearly won the 2nd RTV league race, with nearly 2 mins on 2nd place.  We were the fastest on the bike and on the run!

Team Sprint winners

So we got on stage and took our prizes, but more importantly, we started our promotion season off as we needed to.

Next week is Worms. The 2nd RTV league starts there alone and it is a normal triathlon, not a team race.  I have an inkling that I have a chance to win it. Who knows if that is realistic, but sub 1:03 would be great anyway.

Gimbsheim Sprint Triathlon 2017 – 3rd place, won age group

I found it a little strange, but the Gimbsheim Sprint Triathlon, that only has a 500m swim in a outdoor 50m pool, lets you swim in a wetsuit!  I only found that out the night before the race, so washed my wetsuit and was ready.

Silly o’ clock again – Triathlon version

I got up at 6am and ate my normal breakfast. That is 3 weeks in a row that I have had a 6am Sunday morning alarm!  I had to meet Michael at 7:30 in Gau-Bischofsheim to ride to Gimbsheim, so there wasn’t much dilly dallying time. Continue reading “Gimbsheim Sprint Triathlon 2017 – 3rd place, won age group”

Rhein Ahr Triathlon 2016 – Triathlon Season Over!

Only a few days after my good 5km run and 2 weeks before Berlin, I had my last triathlon of the season planned.  Ideally 2-3 weeks before my marathon I would have done a 10k-HM run, but actually I think it worked out well in the end.

Sinzig or Remagen (which is what everyone calls the race) is kind of an Olympic triathlon.  You swim 2.8km in the Rhein with the flow, then cycle 45km with quite a few hills, then a 10.5km run.  The swim should actually be faster than a normal 1.5km swim, so that wasn’t a bad thing for me.
We had arranged to meet at 7am at the pool on Sunday and I set off in partial light at 6:30am.  I met up with Heiko B and Wieland and we drove to Remagen which takes about 90 mins.

It was surprisingly cool when we arrived, it has been consistently warmer than 28 degrees for a while now, and was predicted to be 30 degrees for the race.  The water temperature was 22, but we could still use wetsuits, phew!  The teams were pretty different to our usual set up, in the 2nd team we had Heiko Maris, Walter, Marco, Andre and me, I have only raced with Marco before, so didn’t really know what to expect.

Continue reading “Rhein Ahr Triathlon 2016 – Triathlon Season Over!”

Merzig City Triathlon – Olympic Distance

It’s been quite a while since my last race, mainly because it’s been hot, and I don’t race well when it’s hot.  Berlin marathon training has been going well though, I am half way through and starting to feel a groove coming.  Long runs haven’t really happened yet, I just can’t run 28km+ in training when it is 30 degrees and sunny!  Anyway, though running training is going well, I haven’t exactly been a regular fixture at the pool, or on the bike really!  Since Italy 6 weeks ago I have ridden about 4 times, twice longer than 60km.

That all being said, it was time for Merzig City Triathlon, a proper Olympic distance triathlon, 1.5km swimming in the River Saar, 40km of flat cycling, and 10km running.  I have been a bit worried about the swim, it goes 750m upstream, then 750m back downstream.  The riverflow is very slow, but it still makes a small difference swimming upstream. Continue reading “Merzig City Triathlon – Olympic Distance”

Zell Sprint Duathlon

I hadn’t planned on doing Zell, as it is a team sprint and as I may have mentioned before, my swimming isn’t that good.  It turned out though that the 2nd team didn’t have enough people to make a team without me, and due to high water levels in the Mosel, it was changed into being a Duathlon, absolutely perfect for me.

I had done a little online stalking of my team mates, I know Stephan already, he is a great runner and biker, Volker seems like he must be very good, he was in Hawaii and still runs fast, then there was Marco, who ran a 4h+ marathon in Mainz, it seemed like he might be out limiting factor.  We met up in Mombach at 8am and headed to Zell, which is about an hours drive away.  Heiko was with us and was racing in the 1st team, that race started much earlier, hence the early start.  We were there at 9am and it was pretty clear why we wouldn’t be swimming, the current was crazy!  I reckon you could float 750m in about 12 minutes in that stream!

We had a little chat about our tactics when we were all there, I suggested that we run our first 2.6km at 10km race pace, then ride like crazy and run the 2nd 5,2km run as fast as we can, whilst staying together.  Marco said that he thought 4:30/km would be ok for him, so that was out plan.  We watched the Regionalliga and saw that Konrad was doing great and the others were giving their all too, our race started at 11:55 with a mass start.  We started at a good pace, but not over doing it, we were just over 4:00/km and Marco seemed ok, so we held about 4:05/km for the 2,6km.  We weren’t first place, but we were far from last too, so it was ok.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Zell Sprint Duathlon”

Regionalliga – Woogsprint Triathlon

This is what I have been dreading for a long time, my first Regionalliga race, a higher league that the ones I did last year, and what is worse is that it is a ITU style race, i.e. it is draft legal and it is a dry start, with us diving into the water.  The draft legal bit is bad for me, as it means that I, as a bad swimmer, will be behind the main groups riding alone, whereas they can ride easily and quickly in a group.  The diving in start was also a bit worrying, my goggle never seem to stay in place when I dive in!  It isn’t the biggest problem in the world, but a worry nonetheless.

I was hoping that wetsuits would be allowed, apparently it would be borderline, but on the morning of the race I heard that they would be allowed, phew. Continue reading “Regionalliga – Woogsprint Triathlon”

Race Report – Köln226 – my first long distance Tri

Finally it was time for the big race of the year, my first Iron distance race, Köln226.  Me and Katja arrived in Köln on Saturday afternoon with the weather wet, cool and windy.  I had to meet up with Christian Hafner pretty quickly, so we could check in our bikes at fühlinger see.  I cycled over and met him outside his hotel next to T2 and we went to the start.  After picking up my start numbers and chip, I checked my bike it in the absolutely torrential rain, not good for the bike, or the roads the morning after.

On the morning of the race I had a breakfast of croissants and bread after getting up at 4:20am. I slept surprisingly well!  There was a shuttle bus from town to the start (it wasn't very full when I got on – see below), I got the 05:20 bus and was at the start in good time.

The mass start time was 7:05 and at about 6:50 I was in my wetsuit and ready to go, the water temperature was pretty nice and comfortable.  The countdown started, and we were off!  The swim is in a rowing lake, with lane markers that are one metre underwater, perfect for staying on course!  I found the line after about 200m and stuck to it like glue!   I was pretty tentative in the swim, as I have never swum 3.8km before, so I kept it steady and ticked off the 250m markers as they came and went.  I had a peeing plan, which was to do breaststroke near the end to allow me to pee, then start to crawl again.  In Hannover I wasn't able to pee whilst crawling, so this seemed like a way to save a toilet stop early on the bike.  I was surprised after 1k that I could crawl and pee at the same time!  Soon enough I was at the turn, I looked at my watch and it showed 37:11, not bad, not great.  There were no lane markers on the way back, so I stayed near a group and pretty uneventfully got to the end, with an empty bladder too!  My end time was 1:16:xx, about what I expected, but not a dream time.

I ran through T1 and found my bike.  Everything went smoothly until I realised that my cycling glasses weren't there.  It isn't too important, but not ideal either.  I started cycling, hoping to hold about 220w for the ride, except that my fxxking piece of sh!t power meter from 4iiii decided not to work, today of all days.  It is the ONLY reason I bought the power meter, so they will be getting a nice email from me.  I quickly decided that 140bpm heart rate would have to suffice, so I set off.  The first 15km are into Köln, then there are 3 loops of just over 55km.  The start was a bit chilly, but I settled into a rhythm, with a slight tail wind.  The turn around in Köln was quite technical and cost a bit of time, then on the way out the head wind was more noticeable.  I was riding behind someone who had passed me, a comfortable 12m behind him when a motorbike ref came to me and said I needed to watch out as I was borderline drafting… I really don't think I was!  The next 60km or so went well, but after 100km my ass, that I had forgotten to butter up, was hurting quite a lot.  Even worse were my triceps, they were agony every time I moved in aero-position.  The road surface wasn't very good either, so every bump hurt 2 body parts a lot!  With my average speed dropping, the last loop out of Köln against a strong wind was pretty bad, I had to sit up due to my arms, so survival was the name of the game.  I was behind someone again a bit later having caught them, I sat in again well back, when a ref came again and gave the guy in front of me a black card i.e. a 5 minute penalty.  He was at least 6 metres behind, not exactly on the wheel of the guy in front.  The ref then came to me and said I was borderline, I said I would be careful.  The ref came past again 5 mins later, when I was well clear of everyone, and again 5 mins later, giving me the thumbs up!

The last part of the ride after T1 was filled with middle distance riders.  I was trying to be careful to stay well away from slipstreams, but the roads were now very full.  I had to brake a few times, and had no more issues getting to the end, though I saw some real packs of riders in the other direction.

Now I hadn't peed since the swim, so knew that I had to go in T2.  I got in after riding 186.5km according to my garmin, and after nearly 7 hours total time, well behind goal schedule.  After a quick change, I went straight to the portaloo, sorted out everything, and set off on the run.  I knew that it was going to be bad, but after 1km I looked any my purposely slow pace was 4:30/km, far too fast.  I tried to slow, but failed!  I decided that I should make hay whilst the sun was shining, so carried on.  Soon enough my pace drifted to 4:45, 5:00, 5:15 and slower.  After 10km I was slowing and getting worried, there was still 32km to go, and who knows how low my pace would fall, maybe I would have to walk the rest! That'd take 6 hours!  I kept on plodding, walking to get drinks at almost everyone of the very frequent drink stations.  My pace was still slowing, but the rate of slowing was falling, I seemed able to hold faster than 6m/km even though I was feeling awful.  The 2nd loop was like purgatory, the 1st loop took 1:12, the 2nd 1:25, pretty much 1 min per km slower.  On the last lap at least I knew that I was on the home straight, after getting over the bridge I looked and saw that a 60 minute 10km would get me an 11h finish time, but I also knew that it wouldn't happen.  I kept plodding, not really feeling any worse than after 20km.  I started to think that my pace was near irrelevant, as with 7km to go, even running at 7mins/km instead of 6 would cost me pretty much nothing.  I won't lie, beating Jochen's time from last year was a goal, but with 5km to go, I knew that was a shoe-in.  With 3.5km to go, I saw Katja making the turn for the half marathon, I shouted for her to come back for a kiss, then sent her on her way, I knew I couldn't even nearly keep pace.

After the spiral staircase and slight uphill over the bridge, I knew it was all over bar the shouting.  I enjoyed the last 500m, fist pumping and just so happy that it was over!  I got over the line in just under 11:07.

After the race I felt a bit sore, my knees were hurting, my triceps were incredibly painful and I was very tired, but generally I felt better than I had feared I would!  Even though I didn't break 11h, as was my goal, I am putting it down as goal achieved, especially as I would have broken 11h if the bike hadn't been extended by 6.5km!

I am not sure that I will be rushing to do my next ironman.  Something that I thought about during the run was that I struggle to run well off the bike.  That obviously is made worse after longer bikes, with longer runs to follow. Until that problem is solved, I don't think Ironmans should be my main concern!  I will definitely (quote me on that) NOT do a long distance in 2016, who knows what 2017 and onwards will bring, but it isn't a dream of mine to do a second ironman!

So that's that. Project 2015 is over.  It has been a long hard year. I really think that a not extremely hot ironman in late July would have been about perfect for me.  I think I over-cooked it a little at the end, and stated to lose fitness and the will to train, just as I should have been ready to go.  That also corresponded to me not doing my weekly updates, that was partially due to work getting really busy, but also due to constant tiredness and the stress of needing to get out to train all the time.  I think my need to hit my weekly goals might actually have been a bad thing, I would cycle an extra few hours when I was exhausted, instead of resting and getting in more quality.  The next updates will be my next races, let's see how I feel after a bit of rest and recuperation time..

Race Report – Vereinsmeisterschaft

I haven't been keeping up with the week by week updates for the last few weeks, I've been tired, tapering and busy at work. I will try to get my numbers in so that I have a tally of how much I have done before Köln.

1 week out from Köln was the club championships.  It starts in Nieder-Olm with a 300m pool swim, then a ride to Gau-Bischofsheim, it was 16.5km last year, then a pretty tough 4km run to end it.  Last year I was ill with low iron/HGB so was way below my best.  I did a 57:xx then, but this year I was hoping for a sub 50 time, though that seemed tough.  The winner last year did about 45 mins.

I got there in good time, had a bit of a chat with the guys I know from the league team and was in good spirits.  I watched one of the other non-TCEC starts, it was pretty slow going, the fastest swimmer swam 5:50, with most way slower.  Our start time was 8:50 and at 8:50 there was no sign of an imminent start, until they shouted, LOS!  The swim is a bit chaotic as there are no divides, not lanes, and everyone swimming out and backs trying not to hit each other!  I seemed fairly mid-pack.  I went out too hard and after 50m had to remind myself that it was 300m!  I got out of the pool and stopped the watch at 5:10, faster than expected.

I ran down to my bike and had a decent transition.  It was crowded at the start of the bike, and I passed a few people.  My hamstrings and shoulders were feeling tight, maybe a result of 9 days off the bike!  I caught a group, well 3 people, who were very clearly pack riding.  I decided to hang off the back of them until the hill in Selzen, when I would try to get past without them hanging on.  I managed that, but soon enough on the flats and downhills they got back to me.  I was riding a bit out of aero as my shoulders weren't happy.  I pretty much managed to stay near those guys until the end.  I noticed the route was a bit different this year, it was 1km longer as it cut right earlier than last year.


After getting my feet out of the shoes far too early, I got to T2.  I had a very quick change into my shoes, and set off.  I was surprised to leave Heiko behind at the start of the run, but maybe I over-cooked it of the first hills.  Last year I saw the winner Konstantin coming back down the first hill as I was going up it, this year I was a lot further along the course, which was a positive!  I'm not sure he has to worry for next year though.  The run was fairly uneventful.  It was hot and sunny, my HR was sky high and I kept an ok tempo round the course.  It measured 3.8km at the end, and I ran a 15:55, ok for a hard and hot course.

So after a long wait, I heard my result was 51:30 or so.  I was reasonably placed in the club, but 1 minute faster would have been 4th.  I managed to shred my feet in only 16 mins in my new Zoots, I will have to try tightening them and wearing socks, otherwise they will be out of the rotation!

All in all it was pretty good.  I am a little worried about the bike, so I will get out 2-3 times this week for a spin to keep loose.  My run and swim were good enough, especially if the weather is as predicted next week, i.e. cool and cloudy.

I might try a final post before Köln, but if not, see you on the other side!