Merzig City Triathlon – RTV 2. Landesliga – Race Report

This was my 2nd league outing of the year, another sprint distance race.  Merzig is in Saarland, about 180km from Mainz, so I was getting a lift from a team mate Heiko.  The alarm went off at 5am, a nice start to the weekend!  I decided to go without the wheel cover as I didn't know if it would be ok on the back of the car, no problem though.

We got there nice and early at just after 8am ready for the 10am masters start, and the 10:45 league start.  It was pretty cool for once, with a little bit of rain beforehand, but not enough to really wet the course.  Christoph, Heiko and me went for a loop of the run course before the start, it was pretty interesting, some on trail, hairpins, steep short sections, looked good to me!  We watched the masters start the swim in the Saar, they swam against the current for about 400m, then turned back and swam 350m with the current.  The water was pretty warm at 22 degrees.

I had taken my new Zoot running shoes with me, even though they aren't may favourite shoes, they are quick in transition at least.  I was also debuting my Giro Advantage aero helmet, I was a little worried about this, as it can be a bit tricky to get on, but I need to try it out before Köln, and this was the perfect opportunity to do it without looking like too much of a cock!

The race started at exactly 10:45am and my left half of my goggles were full of water after exactly 4 seconds!  It was very uncomfortable to start with, but I breathed unilaterally so that it wasn't too bad.  I was in a group and there was quite a bit of contact for the first 200m, then I started moving forward though the group and then off the front.  It all seem to be going ok, sighting wasn't too easy with one eye, but I found my way and made the turn.  I cleverly swam straight into the 2nd buoy, before heading back with the current.  I really felt like it was a decent swim, so was very disappointed to see 15:30 on the clock when I got out.

I ran through to transition, Heiko was still there but about to leave, I quickly got ready and was on my way with only minor shoe difficulties.  I even managed to mount quite decently, clicking in first attempt, in the right gear too!  It's a shame that wasn't the case for the guy just ahead of me who did a 'flying mount' and falling dismount.  The exit was very narrow, so I couldn't easily get around him, so that cost me a few seconds waiting for him to recompose himself.  I soon got my head down and got a head of speed going.  At the first turn I saw that Heiko was about 30 seconds ahead of me, I thought I could catch him, and if I wanted to finish ahead of him i would need a little gap on the run.  After the turn we went against the wind, someone overtook me, but hit the wind and slowed quite a bit.  I sat behind for a short rest, then someone else overtook.  This guy couldn't even actually get past us both, he got just ahead of me on my left, before running out of steam in the wind.  I decided that just before the 2nd turn, I would go for it, so that they wouldn't be able to hang on with the wind behind us reducing the slipstream advantage they would get.  It worked well, I saw Heiko just ahead of me and I left the two riders behind on a fast stretch of road.  I soon came up on Heiko's back wheel and went straight past, I didn't put in a kick, as he is a team mate, but I don't think he followed for long.  The rest of the ride was quite uneventful, I managed to get my feet out just before the transition and was really fast, for me, in T2.

I started out on the run knowing Heiko was probably about 1min behind and Christoph was well ahead.  I knew that Heiko was in marathon training so he could catch me, so I just went for it from the start.  It's strange with 2 leagues competing at the same time, the 1st league has some seriously fast people in it, and they sometimes overtake me like I am standing still.  Generally I run quite well for our league though, and I overtook quite a few people too.  I knew the route already, having run it earlier, and my legs felt fine, so it was a decent enough run for me.  The first lap always seems the worst to me, but after that they tick away quite quickly, they should too at only 1.66km per lap!  I kept looking around for Heiko, but couldn't see him, half way round the last lap I could see 30m behind m and he wasn't there, so I finally could stop worrying about being last in our team!  Heiko was the fastest for the 2nd team in Zell earlier this year, so it wouldn't have been a disgrace to be behind him, but better to be ahead I reckon!

I looked at my watch, hoping to see 1:05 or so.  I was very disappointed to finish in 1:10.  It seems that the course was slow somehow, the cycle was 750m long, and the run a bit technical, but still…
As the 2nd team only had 3 members, instead of the 4 that score league points, or the full team of 5, we needed to all do well to pick up decent points, and we did that with Heiko coming in 16th out of 46, me 13th and Christoph 9th.