Race Report – Erich Fill Triathlon

I found out about an olympic distance triathlon in Taunusstein a while back, and decided to give it a go.  It's not a real olympic distance as the swim is only 1000m (in a pool) but the cycle is pretty hilly, so it looked like a good training event.

I met up with Jochen this morning at 7:30 to head over to Taunusstein, we got there in good time and could check in and watch the jederman race and the sprint start before the olympic started.  I had forgotten my HR monitor, so don't have any HR data for the day, a travesty I know, but what can I do.  Jochen started at 9:30, so I watched his swim, a not great 22:20.  Then I got into the water.  There was a bit of discussion in our lane about who wanted to swim at what pace, it turned out that only me and 1 other thought we would go sub-20 mins, so I took the lead.  I was hoping to swim 18mins or less, and having started and leaving the other 5 in my lane behind, I felt like it could happen.  The swim went by quite quickly and easily, and I jumped out to see an 18:34 time, a bit disappointing but no nightmare, 3:45 ahead of Jochen.

My transition was decent, I found my bike easily and got my stuff on easily enough.  I went sockless and didn't try a fancy flying mount, so it was all standard.  I started passing people pretty quickly on the bike route, especially as it went uphill from the start.  The other TCEC guy there – Jörg Zech – was a better swimmer than me but I caught him near the end of the first climb.  Someone came past me like a train on a short sprint hill, I thought that he was either awesome, or an idiot, I passed him a few mins later and didn't see him again, so I will let you decide which he was!  My recce from last week paid dividends a couple of times when going around corners leading into steep climbs, I could get into gear in advance and have a good flying start.

There is a really steep hill which was tough, I reckon at least 15% for a few hundred metres, but I got over it in my bottom gear at 400w, then overtook a few more people, 1 of whom had passed me on the downhill when I was busy messing up the corners.  It started to get a bit quiet on the bike, I was riding really well and after passing a girl and a guy on the last big climb, I didn't see anyone else, so I started to think I could possibly be in 1st place.  I got over the last hill and kept the pace up on the slight downhills that followed, right at the end I managed to undo my shoes and get my feet out for a faster dismount, though not yet flying.  I put my bike on the rack but couldn't see my shoes.  I was a bit confused until I noticed that some cock had put his towel over my running shoes, what a dickhead, I wish I had thrown his shoes away in retrospect, but I didn't.

I headed out on the run.  I had seen that there were 2 bikes already racked, and no one entered transition while I was there, so I seemed in a solid 3rd place in my start group.  I was worried about my run as I haven't been running enough, so I feared a 42m+ 10km run and was also a little worried that the girl I had passed would be really fast on the run, but I started off well.  I asked the helpers how many were ahead of me, 2, disappointing.  The course is 4 laps, the first half is against the wind and goes a little uphill, the 2nd half is with the wind and downhill.  I liked that route as it is hard work followed by an easy rest downhill.  My GPS said that I was running 4:05/km after the first lap, I thought that would naturally fall to slower than 4:10/km.  After 2 laps my pace was actually faster, but I was also disappointed to see that my time was 18mins, so the course was way shorter than advertised.  The last 2 laps went by pretty uneventfully, no one passed me, I lapped or double lapped lots of people but didn't catch either of the 2 ahead of me that were for position.  Lots of people were saying to me that I looked like tit was very easy, I had to say something like, "it doesn't feel it!" but actually it wasn't the hardest run ever. My pace actually increased on each lap, and to be honest, I could have gone much longer at that pace on that course.

I ended at 36mins, pretty happy with my day, even if it was only an 8.9km run.  My swim wasn't perfect but decent, my bike was good and my run stronger than feared too.  My time was 2:05:11, about 5mins40 ahead of Jochen, meaning he lost almost all of it on the swim!  I was 5th overall, with decent gaps to the top few, the winner did 1:58:28, swimming 1 min faster, cycling 6 mins faster than me and running a few seconds slower than me. My Swim was 25th, Bike 5th and Run 3rd from the 57 entrants, lots to do still on the swim.  I need to swim 16 mins to get a top 5 swim time.

I got my medal for 3rd in my age group and went home happy, but not too exhausted.  No races now until 16. August, so the next 2 weekends will be big training weekends, I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing anymore!

Next up Merzig City Triathlon Sprint.

Week 30 – Long rides

Week 30 was a good one. I have been struggling to get in my miles, but this week I hit 2 of my 3 targets and did 18h of training, so I can’t complain!

Monday was a complete rest day, I was feeling tired and it was deserved! On Tuesday I went for a 10.5km run, just 5m/km, nothing special.
I took Wednesday off work so that I could do a long ride. I left the house at 10am and rode to Bingen. That was the easy bit, then came the hills! It was up and down for the next 80km or so, with the wind against me whenever it was a bit flatter. I felt strong on the climbs (on my road bike) and put some effort into some of them. Near the end of the day I was getting really tired, but still could keep an ok tempo going. It ended up being 184km at 27km/h with 2700m of climbing. My TSS was 365, which is much more than the bike leg of the ironman will be (270TSS is my plan), though I definitely didn’t feel like running a marathon afterwards, so that was good news!

strava of long cycle

On Thursday I had to go to Wiesbaden after work, so took it as a leg stretch totalling 33.6km, including getting lost a few times!
On Friday I was worried that I hadn’t run much so I ran before work, 10.5km again at about 5m/km.. standard.

On Saturday I went for a swim at TBB. It wasn’t a good one at all really, with my 100m times near 1:50-2:00 all the time. I got in 2500m before having to head into town, I thought I might manage another swim on Sunday, but it didn’t happen. Later I went for a longer run. I had planned to do a bit more than 20km, but my stomach wasn’t having any of it! I did 17.8km officially before deciding to call it off, but I ended up jogging home as I was still 1km from my flat, but I haven’t counted that. The pace wasn’t great at 5:08/km HR of 145 is ok, but my guts were just hurting by the end, I will have to get a proper longer run in next week.

On Sunday I met up with Jochen to do a recce of the Erich Fill triathlon that we are doing next weekend. We went on the Wiesbaden 70.3 bike course for a while, then went up the Platter. For some reason Jochen likes this climb, even though it is quite long, quite steep and on a main road, not the sort I like at all. I was on the front and setting a decent pace, like 310w or so. About half way up he came past me and decided to push it as hard as he could, I was hanging on as he really gave it all! If it was a mountain top finish in the tour that would have been a decent amount of effort, but with plenty left to ride, I think he went a bit hard! We rolled down to Taunusstein and found that start point of the triathlon route. It goes straight uphill, pretty steep at times. We managed to take the wrong turn at every opportunity but eventually found the right way. Just after the 2nd loop of the 8 shaped course starts there is a nasty incline, maybe 15% for 500m, that will be interesting next week. That is followed by a long 300m vertical climb, all at a reasonable gradient, but a leg sapper, before a roll down to the end. It’s a good course, but dangerous as it will be easy to destroy the legs before the run. We cycled back to Mainz and ended the ride after 127.4km easily getting me past the 300km weekly target. It was also 273TSS, making it as hard as my Ironman bike leg, twice in a week, nice!

Later in the evening I went out for a run to get me to 50km for the week. I had planned an interval session, but my legs weren’t good and it was humid and windy, so I just jogged around until I got in my 11.1km to get to my 50km goal.

It was a good weeks training, it’s a shame about the swimming, but as I plan next week to be a bit easier, I will be able to get in more swimming then (maybe twice and the 1k triathlon swim). I feel like my cycling is coming together but my run isn’t so good. I will start increasing the runs a bit in the next (and last) cycle before Köln.

Running – 50km (1311,1km YTD)
Cycling – 344.7km (5324km YTD)
Swimming – 2.5km (102,35km YTD)

Week 29 – Punctures aplenty

As last week was a really bad one for running, I decided to get going on some intervals early this week, so did a late evening 6x1km interval session.  I was running 1km slightly uphill at about 4:05 then 1km slight downhill at about 3:35 pace.  It wasn't too bad really, the weather was much cooler and I felt like I could go on.  It was 14km total at about 4:40/km average.

Tuesday I ended up doing nothing, I forget now why, I guess I was tired, but who knows!

On Wednesday I got up at 6am and ran my 10,5km route at 4:57/km pace.  In the evening I cycled to Nieder-Olm and it wasn't crazily full for once, so I got 3000m in before heading home.  It was a good session with the pool gradually getting emptier as time passed as I got there about 90 mins before it closed.

Thursday I stupidly went for a run in the evening after eating quite late after work.  That meant that my stomach was all over the place, but I got through it anyway, even if it was very slow at 5:17/km for 10.5km.

Friday: I knew that I had a lot of cycling left to do if I would do my 300km for the week, so I cycled 75km on my road bike in the evening.  It was really nice and at a decent clip too.  I attacked the Muy de Dittlesheim which was fun too, 1min at full power.  I got back feeling good and ready for my real long ride on Saturday.

So as prep on Saturday, I found a GPS online and downloaded it.  I wanted to go to Odenwald so found a 80km route from Mainz into the Odenwald.  Apparently I didn't check that it was for Road bikes, and I spend a lot of time on quite questionable paths, but usually it was ok.  It was slow going though, so my average was just over 25km/h.  I got to Zell and the road I was supposed to take was closed, and I had 85km+ on the clock already, so I turned for home.  I didn't want to mess around too much, so headed straight for Darmstadt, from where it would be an easy 40-45km home.  I saw a sign saying it was 7km to Darmstadt, then a left turn saying 10km to darmstadt, so I continued on the shorter route.  After about 1km the road ended at a motorway, with a bike route going on through a forest.  I took the bike route, but it was a bad one, very bumpy and lots of sharp stones everywhere.  Sure enough, I got a puncture after 1 or 2km.  I stopped and changed the tyre, but that went again a few hundred jaw breaking metres later, leaving me in the middle of no where.  I decided I had to push my bike to the nearest town, Roßdorf, and hope there was a train station there.  It turned out there wasn't one, but I could take a bus to Darmstradt, then a train to Mainz and Tram home 🙁  I had at least cycled 120km, so it wasn't a dead loss, though it was a lot of effort and 2 inner tubes and my cleats ruined.

On Sunday I had to ride again to get 300km in, so I rode 54km early on.  My planned run was chucked and I cycled to the pool later for another 3km swim.  I needed another 20km to get to 300km, so in the rain, I cycled an extended route home, ending with 302km for the week!

Running: 35.1km (1261,1km YTD)
Cycling 302km (4979,3km YTD)
Swimming 6km (99,85km YTD)

(The nearly forgotten heatwave of) Week 28

I didn't get around to writing last weekend, as work has been busy.  So here is a quick update of the last 2 weeks as best as I can remember them.

So the day after the Worms triathlon was boiling hot, the start of a heat wave.  I decided I would go swimming in Nieder-Olm in the evening, except that is was a) too warm water and b) jammed with people swimming anywhere but straight ahead.  I only swam 2k before chucking it as I was getting too annoyed by people swimming across me and not being able to swim at a proper pace.  I cycled to and from the pool (extended ride through Sörgenloch on the way home) for 30km extra riding.

On Tuesday it was too hot to run, so I cycled after work.  It was just a 90min ride but I got through my 2 bottles and was thirsty at the end! Usually they are pretty much untouched for rides under 2h.  Average speed was a tick over 30km/h on the road bike for 45km, I couldn't be bothered to switch the power meter over, but I planned to soon. Though it was hot, I blasted up Harxheim for my best time ever, when the wind is friendly I will set a real time up there and get higher on the KOM list.

On Wednesday it was another 35degree day, so I planed to get up at 6am to run, but when the alarm went, I was too tired and slept another hour.  I went to the pool in my lunch break (as I had to stay at work until 10pm) it was so full that I went to the indoor pool and did 2100m before heading back to work.  On Thursday I dragged myself out of bed at 6am, but it was still 26 degrees when I ran!  It was fairly standard at 4:59/km for 10.5km, I did that again on Friday, when it was just as hot again.

On Saturday I was behind the 8ball and wanted to go for a long long ride, but it was 40 degrees and sunny all day.  I finally went out for a ride in the evening, but only did 75km at a slow 26km/h.  I was getting through bottles like it was going out of fashion, stopping to fill up at a questionable well in Partenheim!  It really wasn't a good one for me, but better than nothing I guess.

Sunday was Frankfurt Ironman day, so I met Jochen and cycled to watch how the pros do it!  The ride wasn't hard, but the temperature was still crazy.  It was about 45km there and a bit less back.  I also cycled to the Nieder-Olm pool for another short swim in the evening, even though it was too full again, and the normally crystal clear water was milky white, apparently due to sun cream not dissolving in the water!.

Not a good training week, but with the weather as it was, I couldn't do much more 🙁

Running 21,2km (1226km YTD)
Cycling 262km (4677,3km YTD)
Swimming 6.1km (93,85km YTD)