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.