Vereinsmeisterschaft 2018

I just read my post from last year about the Vereinsmeisterschaft. I ended it by saying that it had been my best season ever and that I’d be kicking on this season. Well this season has probably been my worst since getting into endurance sports properly – how the world turns!

Some background – about a month ago I’d been getting a good few weeks of training in and went for a pre-work run. I ran at 4:37/km with a low 135bpm heart rate. I was back! I hadn’t been running that much, but I was swimming a bit and cycling lots.  A few days later I felt ill. I was weak and nausious, then came the black stool, I’ve seen this story before.

I was hopeful that it was just stomach ache or so, but a couple of days later when I felt a little better, I did a test run. 4:55/km with 151bpm – bugger. I went to the doctor and had a blood test, my haemoglobin was down from 15.8 to 13.2, so I had had a bleed again.

I’ve been trying to recover, but that is easier said than done! My ferritin was already low, now I needed to recover about a litre of blood and get my ferritin up – good luck.  This all happened 3.5 weeks before Neuwied, so I decided to drop out of the race, I wouldn’t be able to compete at a decent level.  1 week after Neuwied is the Vereinsmeisterschaft, that seems like a check to see where I am in my recovery 2 weeks before Remagen.

So I was up and ready on Sunday at 7am. I hadn’t ridden my Tribike in ages, but I got ready and set off to Nieder-Olm. After about 6km I stopped and realised  -I had my bibshorts on, not my trisuit! I had to go back and get it and set off again. Time was now a little tight, but I was still there 40 minutes before the start at 9:50.

I managed a 100m warm up swim, then it was go time. My lane worked out pretty well for me in my current condition. I swam in the pace line quite easily and had a decent swim considering (no clock – don’t know the time).

In the spirit of the day, I decided to put on my socks for the bike, I need to train so don’t want blisters.  The bike started slowly but I got caught in a group of Stephan, Heiko B, Heiko M and Pascal. We got stopped by traffic a couple of times making it tough to separate out, Pascal cheats massively too, so that didn’t help break up the group!

I decided to push on the uphill towards Setzen, it’s a bit longer and steeper there, so I could give it a kick and split the group. That worked well and I was away from the group, though Stephan caught my up and passed my on the more technical part that followed.

I got off the bike having failed with my flying dismount (it’s downhill to T2, so tough to get ready to dismount). I struggled to find my shoes but then was away. Stephan was ahead of my, Heiko maybe 50m behind.

I don’t like this run route of our Vereinsmeisterschaft, it is tough and hard to find a rhythm as it is often fairly steeply uphill or downhill. It’s also a nightmare when you have blood issues, as I have no top end speed at the moment.  Stephan ran away from me and on the out and back I could see all the people ahead of me – where I should be! Heiko was holding firm behind me, maybe edging nearer to me.  With only about 500m to go, he caught me but kindly offered to run in with me rather than run away from me.

A girl was getting encouraged to pass us by the crowd, so we sped up to make sure that didn’t happen. We faked a sprint finish and crossed the line next to each other, but they read my chip first so I was ahead of him, pretty unfair!

My time was 51:26 compared to 48:59 last year (I was off form last year too, but more due to my season being over). My run time was 90 seconds slower this year over 3.8km! I’d like to have a good race at the VM some time, I just need to stay fit through the summer some time, and not get ill. I’ve not managed that so far – maybe in 2019!

Worms Triathlon 2018 – 1. RTV

The 3rd race of the season was in Worms this season, as it is in most seasons.  Unfortunately my training hasn’t been going very well, I’m not injured or anything, just struggling for motivation as I don’t have any goal races planned for this year.

After being at the Punk in Drublic festival all day on Saturday, I was a bit unprepared on Sunday morning. I had quickly packed my bag the night before, but as I cycled to the train station to meet up with the team, I realised I’d forgotten my goggles, so I had to ride back for them.

Otherwise all went to plan and we were at the start before 10am, the start time for the 1st team was 13:15!  I had had some brake problems when switching my wheels the day before, so played around a bit more with them, then I could relax before the race.

Unfortunately the water temperature was 22.0°C, the wetsuit cutoff is 21.9°C, so we would swim without wetsuits 🙁  I’ve been swimming lots in training recently and had a dream situation in my head where I come out of the water ahead of Michael and Christoph and can latch on for as long as possible on the bike, so that I don’t lose too much time, then I can run and pass Chris and Jonas on the run.

Well my dream didn’t happen! I swam ok, but had water in my goggles from the get go.  I got on some feet for the 2nd half, but when I got out of the water I saw 13:02 on my watch and saw Robert behind me in the water. Chris and Michael were gone and I wouldn’t be pulling them back on the bike!

I got going on the bike and was starting to find a rhythm. I had decided to concentrate on being aero, as I’m not that fit so I need to save watts rather than put more out!  I went round a bend after 3-4km and heard a crack. I didn’t know what it was, so continued on. A few minutes later my left arm went through my arm rest, which was broken into 2 pieces – fuck.

I had to do what I could, so I rode with the other arm in aero and my left arm on the brake caliper. It was shocking uncomfortable! A few people passed me, but once I got the hang of it, I could catch back up.  I justed wanted to get through the bike, so I didn’t push it as hard as I’d like.  I wasn’t going to pull out though, even though it wasn’t a great situation.

After nursing my bike round the last 15km or so, I managed my best flying dismount ever, mainly because I thought I wasn’t going to stop before the dismount line, so I just jumped off!  I was then onto the run.  I saw Michael and Christoph almost straight away, they were miles ahead of me.  I felt like I was running quite well though, I passed all the riders who had been around me, including number 401 who had sat about 2m behind another rider for most of the ride. I gave him some abuse as I passed him 🙂

The run was otherwise pretty uneventful. I ran fairly well and was gaining on Christoph quite a lot (I would have needed at least another 5km though!), Michael was faster than me and Robert was holding fairly steady a couple of minutes behind me.  I looked around and saw no one ahead of me or behind me, so cruised in the last part.

All in it was a pretty crappy day for me. I am fairly unfit at the moment, whereas the others are flying! I need to get motivated and train for Neuwied, otherwise a middle distance will be too much for me.  It looks like TCEC were 3rd in the league again, cementing out 3rd place position. We could come 2nd or even with some luck even win the league this year! That would be crazy and scary as the Regional league guys are monsters. The pretty much all swam 11:30 or faster!

So, now we have an 8 week break. I need to start riding and running more and hope that my swim training starts paying off. Otherwise my next race report will be much like this one…

Mußbach Sprint Triathlon 2018 – 1.RTV

One week after the first league race of the season, came the second league race of the reason! This time it was an individual triathlon, so it would be balls to the wall from start to finish, though it was last week for me anyway!

Recceing the Course

I decided to travel to Neustadt on Saturday so that I could see the course and sleep a bit later on Sunday, we would have to be there by 7am.  Neustadt isn’t a very interesting town and I also couldn’t sleep very well due to a hot hotel room without air conditioning.  At least seeing the course worked out well.  It is quite hilly, with 1 big climb from km4-7, then a steep short downhill followed by a 160° turn. A few km later in the valley, the road is badly broken up and shaky as hell, then we would be back onto open roads to battle to the end of the route through traffic.

Early Start

So I was awake at 5:30am after a few fire engines went past, luckily they had their sirens on full, otherwise drivers on the empty roads wouldn’t know to move out of the way… I ate and checked out of my hotel and picked up our 17 starter bags for the 1st, 2nd, masters and women’s teams.  Soon enough everyone else arrived and we chatted about how the bike would go.

Swim training not paying off!

It was a 500m pool swim with 7 starters per lane. The masters and women started about an hour before us, then the 2nd team started 20 minutes before us and finally it was our turn at 9:35am.  I have been swimming lots recently so had hoped to stay on Christoph’s feet, but I didn’t manage it.  I was soon in 7th and last place in the lane, but could swim with 6th place.  I overtook him after about 300m and got out of the water after 8:20, so basically exactly the pace I would expect if I wasn’t doing a swim block…

Hilly Bike

I ran to my bike and saw that everyone else was gone, I knew that already though. They were pretty much all together after the swim, about 50m ahead of me (45s). I got on the bike and set off, I passed more often than I was passed and on the big climb could see a TCEC rider ahead of me. I knew it wouldn’t be Basti or Michael and probably not Christoph, so would have to be Peter. It was Peter and I caught him right at the top of the climb and moved ahead.

Lovely Asphalt!

The valley wasn’t so bad at speed, the bad road surface also felt better than it had the day before.  The traffic was very annoying though, cars were trundling along and blocking the road, then stopping at roundabouts just in front of me, it was annoying.

Hilly Run

Anyway I got into T2 and was told to park my bike the other way around. I had parked as I always do, with the aerobars pointing in, but I had to swap it around costing me a few seconds. Peter arrived in T2 and was next to me, he isn’t a bad runner so I was slightly worried that he’d catch me.

start and end of the run

The course goes straight uphill after 400m then rolls until the turn around, then it is largely downhill on the way back. I saw that Basti was 1km ahead of me, then Michael behind him, and Christoph was also well clear of me, I wouldn’t be catching him today. I could also see that Peter was falling behind, so I would at least not be our Streichergebnis (the person who doesn’t count in the results).

The downhill was fun, especially the steep last part. I bounded down at full speed, even though it was hurting my feet. I passed one last person, but couldn’t get the guy just ahead of me in the stadium.

Better than last time, still not good!

I finished, it was a better effort than last week from me, but to be so far behind Christoph and Michael having been with them last season is obviously not ideal.  I saw in the results that I lost almost all of my time on the bike, that was slightly surprising to me, but I guess shows that I need to ride my TT bike much more from now on.

Overall it was a decent day for TCEC. Basti was 4th in the league and Michael 12th. I think we were 3rd in the team results, so better than last week. It’s not going to be easy this year, lots of teams are starting with better athletes, for example Boris Stein who is a top Ironman pro started in our league. That’s just crazy, he was 10 minutes faster than me!

So now there is 3 weeks until Worms. I hope my swimming training pays off by then and my TT bike riding should be better too. If I’m not going to be the Streichergebnis, I will have to beat most probably one of Jonas or Christoph. That isn’t looking like being an easy task at the moment!

With no races planned until then, that will probably be my next post, I’ll try to get some better photos next time!  See you then!

 

Hachenberg Löwentriathlon Team Sprint 2018

The long awaited start to the 2018 RTV season had finally arrived. It was a team sprint, so 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run but with 5 people in the team, on road bikes and the 4th man over the finish line counts. Oh sorry did I say 4th man? I mean 3rd man! We had assumed it was the 4th man that counts, but found out 1h before the race that actually the 3rd man counts.

I had ‘won’ my place in the team by the skin of my teeth, basically because Peter’s far superior swim (11:45 over 800m) couldn’t be fully utilized as Chrisoph and Michael are much slower than he is (12:50 over 800m), so he’d have to wait for them, then quite possible get dropped on the bike.

Our ‘pack leader’ Sebi decided to suggest to our team that they leave me behind in the water if I fall behind, and that they could cycle as a 4 man team. This pissed me off quite a lot. I wasn’t there to swim 750m and be left to suck my thumb for the rest of the race.  The team rejected his suggestion and we had decided to wait for me in T1.

preparing for the race (with cake!)

The race started with 2 teams running into the lake, then the next 2 teams started 1 minute later. We would start at 16:01, 1 minute after the first 2 teams.  I got a good start using the John Newsome ‘leave on 2’ tactic! I was soon into my stride/stroke and was swimming on Basti’s feet pretty well.  My fear was that they would swim away from me at pace, but actually they didn’t get away from me at all. After the turn around, which was surrounded by very thick weeds, I actually felt good and started moving ahead of Christoph. I got out of the water about 5-10 seconds before him, so they couldn’t have left me behind of they’d wanted to 🙂

warm up loop

After a slow T1, we started on the bike course. We had expected a pan flat course, but had done a loop as warm up and it was far from flat!  We set off like a bat out of hell and I was worried, I couldn’t keep up this pace!  Luckily Christoph couldn’t either, so they slowed to let us catch back on.  The first loop was tough for me, it was just too fast.  The 2nd loop was tough, but better, I was keeping pace. On the 3rd loop I felt strong, I could even start doing my pulls at the front, probably as no one else really wanted to by that point!

After destroying ourselves on the bike for 30 minutes, I did not feel like running a fast 5km. I messed up my transition badly. I pushed my bike by the stem and lost control hitting it against my knee and drawing a little blood. Jonas decided he wasn’t going to run, he’d worked hard on the bike. Christoph was ahead of me heading out onto the run course. I hoped that he would be strong and I could drop out, but after a few hundred metres it was clear, I was our 3rd best runner on the day, and I would have to suffer.

Basti and Michael pushed me most of the way round. The course was rolling and all not on asphalt. It was also hot and humid, far from my favourite conditions.  I felt like I would vomit after 2-3km but I didn’t and could keep my fairly crappy pace going for the full 5km. The last few hundred metres were purgatory, but Michael especially was so strong, it felt a bit like I was Jonny Brownlee being carried by Alistair in Cozumel at times!

We crossed the line with a 20:20 run split, ever so shit! I need to start running properly again, otherwise I won’t be having any good races like last season.

Our team finished 6th from 12, but some of teams had dropped down some top athletes from higher teams for the first race of the year, so although it wasn’t a great result, it wasn’t a disgrace either. We were in the main pack, a small improvement would have had us near the front.

So on we go. The next race is in 8 days in Mußbach.  It’s a 500m pool swim, 18km hilly and technical bike, then a 5km technical run. Why can’t we just have a nice flat race??

Trimmathlon – Vereinsmeisterschaft 2017

It’s been a while, Pirmasens was cancelled for some reason and Remagen has been cancelled too.  I have been ticking over in training, but I don’t have any pressing goals, so it is a bit more relaxed than normal at the moment.

Vereinsmeisterschaft

The Vereinsmeisterschaft (club championship) is a super sprint with 300m swim, 17km bike and a 4km hard run. The run is a right bastard, but we’ll get to that later!

I got to the start in good time, everyone was in good spirits but the potential winners were looking a bit more serious. Our wave started at 09:50, which means that the pool is full of competent swimmers, which is good for avoiding collisions.

Surprise start

The race started and we were off. I was the fastest in my lane and most of the race was to my right hand side, with only one guy behind near me on my left. 300m is basically a long interval, but you can’t start too fast, or you will blow up after 150m. I paced it ok and got out after just under 5 mins had passed.

My change was quite quick and I overtook Marcus in transition. I got going on the rolling bike course and saw that Sebi was stopped with a technical problem at the side of the road. Up the hill I was passing the fast swimmers who can’t bike so well. On the flat a little later I was doing fine, but I wasn’t feeling confident on my TT bike.

Cautious Riding

After going wide on a round about, Marcus and Sebi passed me. Sebi was getting a nice draft off Marcus for a long time, before passing in him on the next hill. I was losing time on the downhills, gaining on the uphold and staying about the same on the flats.

Te last few km were a bit twisty and downhill, I haemorraged time on this part. After just about getting in clipper on the downhill to T2, I had a good change and was off on the run.

Running Tough

The hills are tough on the run. There is a steep bump, then a bigger bump, then a long slight downhill, a switch around and everything in reverse. I caught Marcus on the big bump, but everyone else was way ahead of me, and I couldn’t see anyone behind me. At the turn, I could see that Max was in range, I got him just at the end of the long drag uphill. I knew that I was in 5th but way off 3rd and in a different time zone to Lukas and Konrad who were side by side in 1st and 2nd.

Meh, but better than last year

I jogged it in for 5th in a time that was 3 mins faster than last year. My swim and run were decent, my bike felt like crap! I was just so careful and felt like I was losing time on every corner or bend.

It turned out that Sebi had crashed at the start, he didn’t have a mechanical. He did well to get going again so I forgive him his recovery draft! Christoph came third, he has got so much better through the season, he’ll be tough to beat next season.

So another Vereinsmeisterschaft is over, and with it my Triathlon season 2017. It was my best season by a mile, it’s just a shame that 2 races were cancelled. I’ll be back next season though, targeting the shorter stuff and hoping to help us get promoted again!

P.s. Lukas beat Konrad by 17 seconds on the run.

City Triathlon Merzig 2017 – Sprint – RTV 2. Landesliga

  Merzig the Third

I’ve done Merzig twice before, but it is a staple of the RTV league calender, so I was down to do it again in 2017.  I haven’t been doing much training since Roth, and I have been eating lots and have gained weight, so I was worried before the race that I wouldn’t be on form.

I had to get up at 5:30am and I had only slept about 4h, perfect preparation. Add to that that I had a puncture on Saturday, so walked home and hurt my foot by standing on a stone, I wasn’t feeling tip top!

We were there at 8:30 and the weather was nice, we had a very strong team, Christoph, Michael, Heiko, Jonas and me. After being the best team in Zell and Worms, we were hoping to win again and make getting promoted a near certainty.

Wetsuit Swimming

Happily the water temperature was 21.2°C so we could wear wetsuits, it’s only a 750m swim, but given my lack of training, I wanted to wear a wetsuit.  We watched the mixed relay whilst warming up, the referees were pretty confusing, one told us that we had to hang our bikes by the brake levers, the other said that it didn’t matter, the saddle was fine too…

So at 10:09 we went into the water. I hung back slightly so I could find some clear water to swim in. With absolutely no advance warning, the race started!  I felt like I swam ok, not brilliantly, but decent enough. The Buoy was packed at the turn around, but after that I could get going on the 2nd half.  I had hoped for about 12minutes, but got out and saw 12:45 on the clock.

Draft legal?

There is a bit of a run from the swim to the bike, team captain Sebi told me that I was 20 seconds behind Christoph and 30 seconds behind Michael.  I got going on the bike and didn’t feel so great, but my pace was good.  There was a group maybe 100m ahead of me, so I pushed to catch them.

After 3-4km I caught the group, or should I say peleton. They were riding in a group and after Worms I didn’t want to get involved in that. A couple of guys gave it a good go at blocking me by accelerating as I was passing, but I made it past.  I got to the front of the group and wanted to push on, but soon enough the group swallowed me up and I was left in the middle.  I decided to hang off the back, as we had a near 41km/h average speed, so I couldn’t speed up to get away on a flat course, so I would just hang and hope that they get busted.

Trying not to draft!

We caught Christoph after maybe 12km and he had the same problem as I had had. We ended up just rolling around near the group, it sucked. In Worms I averaged 310w or so, here I averaged 255w.

Not feeling the run

In T2 I messed up putting my shoes on again, so Christoph was 15 seconds clear of me. Apparantly Michael was 40 seconds clear, that would be tough!  I passed Christoph after about 500m but wasn’t feeling too hot. I was passing plenty of people, but my legs felt flat.  By the 2nd round it was getting a bit better, so I could at least roll for a few km.

I could see Michael in the distance at the turn around, but I wasn’t catching him. I kept my pace up, but it wasn’t so impressive.  On the last lap of the 4, with only about 400m to run I could hear someone behind me.  A quick look back showed me that it was someone from Tri Post Trier, so someone from my league, this was for position!

Sprint for position
Tri Post Trier man right behind me on the last lap

Though I really didn’t want to, I started building speed early so that it wasn’t a side by side sprint. I kept accelerating and could hear that he wasn’t keeping pace, phew!  As I started to feel like the job was done, it was still 100m to the finish line and he wasn’t far back, so I kicked again and got over the line 1 second before him 🙂

Race Overview – meh but 5th place

It felt like a bit of a nightmare race, my swim was average, bike limited by the group and run below par. I was 3rd from the 5 in TCEC.  When the results were posted though, it turned out that I was 5th in the league in 1:04:06, so more than 6 mins faster than in 2015 (I think the bike was shorter and faster this year).  I only lost to Michael by my bad transitions and ran the exact same time as he did. Actually it was a decent performance.

TCEC – always winning

More importantly, with 3rd, 4th, 5th, 12th (and 19th) for Michael, Jonas, Me, Christoph and Heiko, we were easily the best team, in fact it would have been near impossible for us to lose with those results! So we have won every race this season clearly, and just need to stay competitive in Pirmasens and Remagen to win the league.

For me, I need to get back into training. It doesn’t need to be crazy training, but more swimming and running would be good, and maybe ease up on the eating too!  It’s been 3 weeks since Roth, I have been sensible and taken some down time to recover, but now that time is over!

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”