The 2nd league race of the season was just one week after the first. That was a good thing for us, as we easily won the team sprint, so were hoping and expecting to win this week too. We thought that we could have 4 in the top 10, that would be cool. I was secretly hoping and dreaming that I could win, but I didn’t want to say that too loud.
An Early Check in
The race was set to start at 11:45, but as they had stupid check in times, we set off on the 8:13 train. I met Christoph, Robert and Michael at the station, along with Judith who was racing too. Christoph was starting in the league team this time instead of Robert, I will say that I didn’t think it was the right decision, but I didn’t think it would make too much difference either.
Delays – again!
We arrived and signed in, then had hours to burn! They moved the start back to 12:00, with the masters race starting at 11am. After running about 1 lap to warm up, we headed to T2 to check in the bikes and watch the swim. They announced that they had a 30min delay, so the races would start at 11:30 and 12:30 now. Great.
Drinking the Rhein
We couldn’t check the bikes in until all the races beforehand were finished, and that didn’t happen until 12:20, so the start was delayed until 12:45. When we finally finally started, the swim seemed to go well for me. I could see a TCECler next to me in the water. After last week I thought it would be Michael. Apart from drinking too much Rhein water, I got to the end feeling good and like I had swum well, but I saw that Michael was already on land, and I was next to Christoph, also not a bad thing. I was amazed to see 13:50 on my watch, a good minute slower than expected, but what can you do? I had to make it up on the bike.
The bike was manic from the start on. Christoph pushed the pace from the get go. I put my head down and tried to keep with him, finally getting to him after about 5km. Number 221 overtook me and promptly sat on Christoph’s wheel, about 3-5m behind him. We took turns at the front and soon on the 2nd lap caught Michael. I ended up shouting at number 221 for his cheating, but I did that as I overtook him, but he just jumped on my wheel.
Blue Card for Drafting
A few minutes later, Christoph had passed me and we turned right into a strong headwind. I rolled up too close behind him and didn’t brake. I thought I would just slowly let up on the power and drop back to 10m, I guess in 20 seconds or so that would have happened, except the referee was there at that moment, so gave me a blue card for drafting. It was completely my fault.
So I rode on careful to avoid a drafting DQ, so staying at least 15m back. I overtook Christoph again, then near the end he and 221 passed me, but we all got into T2 pretty much together with Michael.
Run to Team Victory
After another slow T2, I set off and soon passed Christoph, running isn’t his strength. Michael is a good runner though, so I was surprised to pass him after about 1.5km. Another faster runner overtook him too and was slightly ahead of me, but I couldn’t catch him.
The rest was uneventful, knowing that I had a 2min drafting penalty, I checked to see how many places that would cost me, I thought that I would still finish just ahead of Christoph and a fast finishing Stephan, but it would be an expensive mistake. My run time was about 18mins, decent enough.
What could have been
After crossing the line, I was very annoyed with myself, but happy with my performance, if that makes sense. Michael came in about 15 seconds after me, then Christoph about 2m15 after me and Stephan just behind him. I will state for the record, I was dead wrong about Christoph, he should be in the starting team and was dead strong all day, even his run was better than expected.
Heiko came in 5th a few minutes later, followed by Robert. Sebi picked the team perfectly!
After checking out the results, I saw that a blue card for drafting is only a 1 minute penalty, so I fell from 3rd overall and 2nd in the league, to 7th overall and 6th in the league. I actually crossed the line 15 seconds after 1st place. Number 221 won the league race, that really pisses me off. He cheated so much more than I did but got away with it and won the race, whereas I lost 2nd place for a moment of stupidity.
Anyway, with Christoph in 10th and Stephan in 11th. We had 4 in the top 11, meaning we were the best team for the 2nd week running, it is looking very good for promotion now, there are only 5 races total, so 2 wins is a big step in the right direction.