Rhein Ahr Triathlon 2016 – Triathlon Season Over!

Only a few days after my good 5km run and 2 weeks before Berlin, I had my last triathlon of the season planned.  Ideally 2-3 weeks before my marathon I would have done a 10k-HM run, but actually I think it worked out well in the end.

Sinzig or Remagen (which is what everyone calls the race) is kind of an Olympic triathlon.  You swim 2.8km in the Rhein with the flow, then cycle 45km with quite a few hills, then a 10.5km run.  The swim should actually be faster than a normal 1.5km swim, so that wasn’t a bad thing for me.
We had arranged to meet at 7am at the pool on Sunday and I set off in partial light at 6:30am.  I met up with Heiko B and Wieland and we drove to Remagen which takes about 90 mins.

It was surprisingly cool when we arrived, it has been consistently warmer than 28 degrees for a while now, and was predicted to be 30 degrees for the race.  The water temperature was 22, but we could still use wetsuits, phew!  The teams were pretty different to our usual set up, in the 2nd team we had Heiko Maris, Walter, Marco, Andre and me, I have only raced with Marco before, so didn’t really know what to expect.

45 mins before the start, and having finally found a toilet, we boarded a ferry which would go 2.8km upstream to the start.  It actually arrived 30 mins early, so we just had to sit around and wait in the sunshine with nothing to drink, not ideal.  At 10:30 the race started for the Landesliga and I was right at the back of the group from the start.  The water speed is apparently fastest in the middle, so you should swim in the middle.  I swam next to the shore like an idiot!  I had water in my left eye almost immediately, so had to breathe unilaterally all the way.  Even though I swam very badly, I got out in 26mins and a few seconds.  A few masters swimmers who started 5 mins behind me overtook me, a bit embarrassing.

The transition was looong, maybe 800m or so of uphill running.  I got onto my bike and knew I was last out of transition from the TCEC 2nd team, 2nd time in a row.  I set off interested to see what the course was like.  It was never steep, but did drag upwards for a long time.  I started overtaking more and more people on the climbs, passing Andre and Marco quite quickly.  I could see someone ahead of me in a TCEC top, but it took ages to catch him, it turned out to be Walter.  I was faster than him on the uphills, but on the downhills he was faster so we actually ended up riding pretty close to each other for a long time.  The first loop was done after 40 mins and the 2nd wasn’t bad.  I had gotten a warning for crossing the white line early in the ride, so I was careful not to annoy the referees further.  The course was very good, except that the main downhill road was dreadful.  I was checking my skewers as I rode as my bike was shaking so badly going downhill at speed.  After the 2nd loop was over there is a fairly flat run back to the transition, which I took quite easily.  I had 46.5km on my GPS when I arrived at transition and I was right behind Walter.

After destroying my feet in Merzig, I decided to put on socks this time.  Somehow, even after putting on socks, I was out of transition 35 seconds ahead of Walter!  I don’t know what he was doing!  I wanted to take a gel with me, the same ones we will get in Berlin, but as I grabbed it, I realised that I had taken powered drink with me, so I chucked it and did without a gel.  I knew that Heiko M was ahead of me, and I feared that Heiko B had overtaken me in the water and was more than 5 minutes clear of me.  The run course was 3×3.5km, with a little uphill part at the end of each half loop.  After about 2km I saw Heiko B running in the other direction, he told me that Heiko M was just ahead of me.  Just after the first loop was over, I could see him and cruised past him, I guess running isn’t his strength.  I wasn’t 100% sure if Heiko B was way ahead of me or not, but as he was behind Volker, and either not catching him, or very slowly catching him, I thought he was probably behind me.

The next 2 loops came and went, I needed to pee but could hold it.  I ended up running in a 41min run, which is ok, but nothing special (my GPS said it was 10.05km).  The weather really wasn’t bad, only a little warm but cloudy enough to be reasonable.  My time of 2:33 was also only ok, though I was happy to be the first TCEC finisher.  I had a cheeky look at my watch when I finished to make sure that none of the masters were less than 5 mins behind me, though I knew they were further back.

All in all it was a good day.  I haven’t trained for triathlon, so doing reasonably is actually a success!  It was too warm to run a good HM anyway, so Nibelungenlauf would have been a long tempo run for me.  Now I can forget about triathlon for a little while and concentrate on Berlin.  Afterwards I will try to swim more often, though it would be hard to swim less, I didn’t swim at all between Merzig and Sinzig!

Anyway, Berlin, Berlin, Berlin. That is my goal now, I really hope I manage a sub 2:50.  Who knows what will happen though, you will find out in my next blog post, so keep tuned!