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.

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.

Rüsselcross Duathlon 2018

Don’t worry, I’m not dead! I just haven’t raced in a long while. I’ll give a bit of an update, then get on with the Rüsselcross duathlon race report.

An Update since Remagen

So Remagen was a nightmare. I mean really bad. I took a bit of time after the race to recover and get into the off season. The weather has stayed lovely through all of September, October and even now in November it’s pretty good, so I decided to ride some longer rides on the weekends and collect a few extra kms as some base for next year. That went pretty well. I did some fairly hilly rides including Feldberg and Hohe Würzel and Hausen and really enjoyed them on my new road bike.  I even did a CTF, which is a cross bike ride. I’m so bad off road that I didn’t really enjoy it too much though.

Back to Base

At the start of November, even though the weather wass still good, I decided to hit the trainer. I’ve started the TrainerRoad Sweet Spot Base Mid 1 and I’m at the end of the 2nd week now. I think I’ll do a post about it sometime.

I wanted to increase my running again, not a lot, but back to 40km or so per week. Though my fitness seems ok (not good, ok) I started feeling my piriformis and groin again as soon as I started running 3 days a week. Last week I discovered as I lay in front of the TV that I always lie on one side with my legs bent. I tried lying on the other side and it was agony! My piriformis felt very short and seems to be pulling on something that affects my groin.  I’ve been stretching it as much as possible for the last week and it seems to be loosening up, I’m fairly hopeful it will get better now.

Rüsselcross Duathlon

Anyway, to the Rüsselcross duathlon. I was fairly unaware of the Rüsselcross duathlon until Basti asked if anyone wanted his start slot. I looked it up but was too scared. Fast forward 1 week and I decided to give it a go. It is a 5km train run, 20km cross bike, then a 2.5km trail run. My bike handling skills are very limited so I was glad that the course was pretty dry and flat, though there would apparently be some sand to watch out for.

Lots of TCEClers were taking part, so we had a nice group and I had plenty of people to hang around with and chat to. One awkward moment was when I arrived and some young woman came straight up to me looking almost excited to see me asking what I was doing at a cross duathlon. Unfortunately I have no idea who she was, I didn’t even recognise her! I had to talk unspecifically for a couple of minutes, thinking she may have mistaken me for someone else before getting the hell out of there.

Start Easy

So the race. I didn’t want to push the first run too much, so from the off I settled in to a tough but manageable pace. It was 2 loops and not a difficult course at all. My GPS says it was 100m long, but I finished feeling good in 20:09. My transition wasn’t bad considering I don’t have mtb shoes, so was in normal SPD-SL shoes and cleats.

Crash Hard

I came out of T1 with the first woman in about 9th place. I decided that although her pace wasn’t too fast, I would sit in and see what the course had to offer. After a few km a teammate of hers passed us and pulled in in front of her to work as a domestique. It was perfect. I was drafting at a good pace whilst riding fairly comfortably.

 

After maybe 7km came a left turn, I was losing time on the turns due to my crapness, but catching back up on the straights. This time though there was the sand. I know you should carry speed through sand, and I needed to catch back on, so on I went. I remember my front wheel sliding, I guess I over-corrected then I was airborne!

The good thing about crashing on sand is landing on sand. I wasn’t hurt. I jumped up, got my bike, struggled with the chain for a while and got going again. It seemed like a bit group had passed me as I was struggling. Having crashed once, I was very cautious for the rest of the ride meaning that lots of people passed me. The rest of the course wasn’t so bad though. There was only one muddy part which was a bit scary on the 2nd lap for me. The 2nd time in the sand section I crawled around it on the grass. 15 seconds lost is better than a 2nd crash!

Finish Strong

So I was happy to be finally done on the bike, even though I would probably be in abut 30-35th place now. I had a good flying dismount and quickly got my shoes on, before realising that I had a chap stick in my shoe. I had to take it off my shoe again, remove the chap stick and go again, stupid.  Off I ran feeling pretty good. I overtook 3-4 people and near the end realised that I was right next to the guy I ran with on the first run – he must be a crap cross biker too!

12th Place – not so bad

He had a little sprint left so finished just ahead of me, no harm. Sprinting for 30th place wasn’t so important to me. I chatted with the TCEClers as they finished and got ready to ride home before realising that, somehow, I was 11th place (since changed to 12th) and 4th in my age group, with the sprinter being 3rd! Again, it wasn’t a big deal, I wanted to head off anyway rather that wait for a bottle of wine, but I need to fight for every spot in the future.

So that was my first cross duathlon. My runs were okay. Apparently my 2nd run was faster than my first – 3:52/km vs 3:57 – so that is decent. My bike handling skills are so bad though. Even though I crawled the 2nd lap, I was 45 seconds faster on the 2nd lap. I have to think I could ride 5 minutes faster if I could handle the bike better (and not crash), and that would have had me in about 5th place.

Future Races

I’ll have a think about doing another cross duathlon in the future, but until then I will be back on the trainer laying some base for next year. Who knows I might even swim at some point, it’s getting a bit embarrassing how little I have swum since Remagen!

I guess it won’t be as long until my next race now. I owe you a new bike post and a trainer road post, so I’ll see you soon!

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!