Race Report – Wasserstadt Half Iron Distance Triathlon – With Photos!

On Saturday was my first Triathlon of the season, and a not-insignificant one at that.  I did Wasserstadt Half Distance Triathlon in 2014 as my first ever triathlon, or at least my first ever when I had trained at least a little bit!  I did it in 5:09 last year and didn't enjoy it too much, but this year I was back and on better form, hoping to smash through 5h and maybe even get down to 4:45.

I travelled to Hannover on Saturday and couldn't check in the bike, so just signed in.  There wasn't too much more to do except get my pasta and head off.  On Sunday the start time was 11:30, so I got up at 8am and ate breakfast at the hotel.  It was good to know that I could eat plenty as it was a late start, so I drank plenty of coffee, ate lots of muesli and toast and felt good about the prep.  Me and Jochen checked our bikes in just before 10am and I was making sure I had everything where it should be.  It was wetsuit legal, even after a few hot days in a row, which was definitely good news!

Soon enough I was ready, I went for the trisuit under the wetsuit, with my HR monitor already on underneath.  I got into the water and took my place near the front on the side, hoping to find a group.  We started and this year was much more aggressive than last.  I got hit a few times and crowded out by people swimming on either side of me even more often.  After maybe 400m I had settled into a group but I think I meandered off course to the left quite a lot.  I re-adjusted but was soon off the course to the right!  Not ideal sighting!  The turn came quite quickly and on the return part I just kept the coast about 10m from me and swam pretty straight.  I swam almost alone, which for speed isn't perfect, but it let me concentrate on my stroke and not have any bother of being hit.  I was happy enough that the swim was over, I couldn't see a clock so didn't know my time, but I guessed faster than last year.

On the ramp up to transition my goggles fell off.  I didn't realise until someone shouted, but in the moment I decided it wasn't worth going back for, so I left them behind, and need new ones now!  I wasn't speedy through transition, but got everything done and was on my way on the bike route.  I noticed an immediate clicking of my not well enough held together disc cover, but it wasn't a hindrance, just an annoying click.  I settled into my rhythm quite quickly, but someone came past me early, so I decided to try to go with them.  I could stay with them and on my wattage plan (266w NP) but I messed up a corner after a few KM letting them open up a gap, I decided not to bridge it as I was pushing a little too much anyway.  That was the only person who passed me on the bike and didn't get re-passed.

I had decided to move my aerodrink to next to the stem of my bike, so my Garmin had to be moved further away to accommodate.  I hadn't tested this set up and was duly punished when my wrist kept switching off the Garmin.  It happened about 5 times over the ride, it was very aggravating!  I still got all of the data at the end, but it was unneeded stress.  My aerodrink was also wonky all day (see photos!)  It also wasn't a big problem, but annoyed me.. I tried to fix it but it would just slant in the other direction, so I gave up on it.



After the first bike loop I looked at the time and saw 12:57, I had expected about a 35min swim, 4 min transition and 50 min ride, so 12:59, but 2 minutes faster was very good news.  My power showed as 278w after the first loop, so I decided to back off a little.  The next loop was uneventful, I thought it was about 48min and a bit easier than the first, so all good.  Last year I didn't drink much, this year I drank the 800ml aerodrink, then my 700ml bottle, then 2 refill bottle, so 2.9L which seems reasonable to me.  I had 400Kcal per bottle for the first 2 and the one more energy drink and a water, so maybe 1100Kcal total.  I didn't use any gels, but I didn't think I needed to, they were there in case anyway!

The final loop was a bit more eventful.  I caught some big guy, who promptly sped up, so I stuck behind him.  Soon enough he slowed and I overtook, only for him to pass again.  I was a bit confused when he passed me as I thought it was someone from the later group, until I recognised his ass when he got ahead again!  Within a km or 2 I passed him again and didn't see him again.  On the 'climb' I caught a group who had been close in front for a while.  I decided to sit in 10m back and take the last 10km easy.  I thought 30 seconds or so lost here could save minutes on the run, so I span in nice and easily, even having plenty of freewheeling on the downhills!


The run transition was easy, though someone next to me got a yellow card for some reason.  I was soon enough on the run course, already aware than I needed to pee, but there were no toilets in sight.  I told myself that I should go slow.  I had 1:55 left to break 5h, so that should be no issue.  I wanted to start at 4:30/km pace, but as I slowly trot along I saw 3:55 on my watch… SLOW DOWN!  I did slow, though the poor km markers don't help with pacing.  The first marker was after 1.38km on my GPS, so my pace was either 4:05 on my GPS or 5:45 according to the marker, very useful.  I trusted the GPS and continued my easy pace, thinking that it would be great if I could keep up this pace at this effort, whilst also fearing the last 5km in the heat after a long day.  I seemed to be passing more than I was passed by, and my pace dropped to 4:15/km which was great.  I got the 1st band after 6km or so and finished the first loop after 10.5km feeling very strong.  I did however have some business to see to, i.e. a toilet stop.

I hadn't seen a single toilet on the loop, except for at the very start.  I had decided that I would use that one, except it was occupado…  I waited about 5 seconds not sure what to do, before deciding that I had to go on and nature would be my friend!  I managed about 2km, before some thick bushed seemed like the way to go.  All done in about 40 seconds, and I could comfortable run it the last 8km or so.  I had seen that Jochen was maybe 4 mins behind me at the turn around, and I was slowing and had my toilet break, so I was worried that he would catch me.  I kept plodding though and after 20km there was a little switchback where I could see he wasn't in sight so was more than 100m behind me, I was very relieved!  I didn't sprint it in, I didn't feel the need to, I took off my cap and sunglasses, and hoped for some good photos!  I was in at 4:15pm so about 4:45 finish time.  My chest was feeling very tight and I didn't feel too healthy, but 30 mins or so later I was back to being ok.  Jochen came in 8 minutes after me, having apparently slowed by more than me.

Swim 34:30
Cycle 2:27:52
Run: 1:37:10
End time – 4:45:23

I am really happy with that. A 24 min PB!  I think there is time to be taken in each discipline, with the run being the one I could push more.  I also saw afterwards that I under did the bike:
Loop 1 : 268w 47:52 154bpm
Loop 2 : 261w 48:59 148bpm
Loop 3 : 243w 49:41 144bpm
So just by holding my planned wattage I would have been about 2 mins faster on the bike, though the last loop was also 260w average until I hung with the group and did the last 10km at 217w!

Confidence is high now, but work needs to be done before the long distance, time is on my side though 🙂

Race Report – Bike and Run Köln – Team Sprint

This isn't going to be a long race report, but it was a race, so there is a report!

This was my second year of doing Bike and Run Köln in the team event.  We cycle 42km then run 10km, there are four in a team and the clock stops after the 3rd person crosses the line.  Last year we were pretty good, but I struggled to keep up on the bike, and was the 3rd fastest runner, making it a hard day for me!  This year I fancied that I would be able to run much faster and hopefully ride better too, though that was less certain.

Dimi doesn't run too much and has been actively telling us that he won't be able to keep up on the run for a while now.  He is a strong cyclist though, so we were dropping hints that he could put in more work on the bike so that we are fresher on the run!  Christian was our best cyclist and best runner last year, but he told me that he hasn't run at all since January, so he wouldn't be strong on the run.  Jochen is an all-rounder, if he was our weak link, we would be doing ok!

Last year we went out of the blocks like a bunch of idiots, only to have to slow down gradually over the 42km, this year in slightly damp, but not wet weather, we started off quite controlled, much better.  We were pushing about 40km/h which was the same as last year, with the speed gradually increasing.  Last year my pulls were short and I was really struggling to stay on the back of our train, this year it felt 100 times easier, I could push the pace and get back on a really rest.  After 3 loops surprisingly Dimi started to struggle, he wasn't coming through to take his pulls very strongly, then he would fall of the back after the corners, I shouted for him to take shorter pulls, and he skipped a few too, and we continued on at about the same pace.  After 4.5 of the 5 loops, he couldn't keep up anymore, and me, Jochen and Christian pushed on for the last 4km or so.  We didn't want to break up on the ride, but as Dimi had said he wouldn't run fast, it seemed a waste to wait for him on the bike.

We got into transition and I was incredibly slow.  I don't know why exactly but the others were ready before I had my first shoe on!  I was shouting for them to run as I felt confident that I could catch up, but they waited not sure if we had to leave transition together or not.  After about 500m, it was clear that Christian's lack of run training was going to make him our number 3 for the day.  He wasn't slow, but in comparison to last year, he didn't have his edge.  One team had passed us on the bike (we had passed 2) and after about 3km another team came past us.  There was nothing we could do about it, it was more a matter of getting to the end now!  I noticed that the team that overtook us was pushing one of their runners, I offered to do the same with Christian, which I then did for 6km.  It was new experience for me and quite hard work!  It means you have to work harder and you can't swing one arm, quite a strange feeling.  The next 2 loops of 3.3km went by and we ran in a respectable 44min or so 10km.  That was about 2 mins slower than last year, but our bike was about 1 min faster, so we were 1 minute slower overall.  Unfortunately there were 3 real triathlon teams in the race this year, and they were all minutes ahead of us, so we were 4th.  I'm not sure that we could have been top 3 on our best day…

Dimi came in a few minutes later and we enjoyed our well earned alcohol free beers and cake!

I think a big difference this year was that me, Christian and Jochen all had tri-bars on our bikes, with me and Jochen having TT bikes.  Dimi is a strong rider, but without the tri-bars, he was giving himself extra work to do, which caught up with him.  I know that next time we climb a steep hill, he'll still be racing off up the road!  It was a shame that Christian hadn't trained for the run, but he has a new job and where he lives now isn't great for running.  I would have like to see what I could have done, I had the feeling I could have gone sub40, maybe even more.  It isn't too important anyway, it was a great brick workout and I'd be keen to do the solo version next year if we can't get the team back together.