Löwentriathlon Team Sprint

Last year the team sprint was a stress filled affair. I knew that the others would swim better than me, I would struggle on the bike, but the run should be okay. This year I was in the 2nd team and expected a fairly easy day out, which is pretty much what happened to be fair!

The water temperature was 18°C after a few warmer days, so we swam. The team was made up of two youths, Alex and Janik, and a guy I had never met Danny and me. I had trained on the bike with Janik and Alex a little before the race, cycling isn’t their strength. Danny would be a dark horse, but he didn’t seem too confident in his swim!

We started at 15:23 and I knew straight away that I wasn’t the slowest swimmer. I feel like I swam well for me, even though I had water in my goggles from metre 1 onwards. Either I swam a weird line, or others did, as I could see people swimming way off to my right and left at different times during the swim! Soon enough I was out of the water in just over 12 minutes and on my way into T1.

I was told that I was the first TCECler, but I was actually 20 seconds behind Janik. We got out of our wetsuits, I put on my socks, start number was on and helmet too before Alex came around the corner. He too managed to get completely changed and ready and wait a while before Danny arrived. I helped him with his wetsuit and start number, then we were off. It felt like we waited an age for him, but it was actually 3.5 minutes.

Off we set on the bike and I went to the front to control the tempo. Last year we started too fast and blew up, this year I wanted a more controlled pace. Unfortunately even this controlled pace was too fast for the youngsters, so I had to back off some more. The first lap was a learning experience, trying not to drop Janik and Alex!

The next 2 laps went much better, we controlled the pace better so that we could stay in a group. We weren’t riding fast, but we were together as a team, after the 3rd lap came T2. I had a strangely good change and I was out well before the others. I had to stop myself as I didn’t want to risk getting the team DQ’s if they were too far behind.

We set off the run and I had no idea what to expect. The pace was decent and we started overtaking teams fairly quickly. After 1-2km Alex started to fall back but the other two seemed strong. Danny hung in behind so I didn’t try to push the pace too much in case he hit a wall. After the 1st lap all was good but Danny was starting to wane. I gave him a push now and then as best I could, but it isn’t too easy to do, especially from just one side.

When we reached the top of the hill, Danny had a 2nd wind and Janik seemed to start to struggle. We still kept up a decent pace though and I tried to get a good sprint going at the end to catch a team in front of us (it is irrelevant if you catch someone as we start at different times, but as a goal it seemed to work). We crossed the line for 8th place from 13 team, so pretty much in the middle.

It was a shame that we had weaknesses in each discipline that cost us a lot of time. We had the slowest bike split in the league by more than a minute, only to have the 2nd best run! Our swim time for the first 3 swimmers was decent too, but that isn’t how it works.

Anyway, the 1st team were flying and I’m not sure that I would have kept up with them on the bike and run and they swam a minute faster than me too, so I am happy to have been the big fish in the small pond today.

Mainz Half Marathon

I’m going to make this a short one, as I am actually writing 3 weeks after the race!

The super short version is this: I bought a pair of Vaporfly 4% shoes, I used them for one 6km run before the race, I set off at about 1h20 pace, but got weird cramps in both quads very early in the race (right after 5km, left after 7km). I had to back off the gas, I was going to quit but could hold about 4:00-4:15/km pace for the rest with only fairly severe pain in my quads, so i ran in a 1:25 half marathon.

Now I will extend it slightly more. I set off with Michael and he wanted to run 1:22 of so. I felt good and he seemed to be going well too. We caught the first women and were cruising. It was seriously only about 4-5km into the race that my right quad started to cramp, I hoped it would stop, as I have never had quad cramps when running before. The right leg was actually bearable, and I kept up with Michael and our group, but after the turn around so that we would be running with the wind on our backs, my left leg started to go. It was agony!

I still hoped it would subside, but it didn’t. I decided to stop and stretch, but that didn’t help, so I decided to drop out. I was in Mombach so just stopping seemed stupid, I needed to get back to the start, so I jogged on. My leg felt much better at a slower pace, so after 11km I decided to keep on and I could drop out in the city centre at km14.

I soon reached km14, Robert had passed me a while back, but I was still moving ok. I decided that dropping out when running sub1:30 pace seemed stupid, especially given how many people would dream of running such a time, so on I went. My main fear was the pain that I would feel in the next few days! Wormserstr was crap, but I could manage it okay and I soon realised that a 1:26 was on.

I jogged it in, actually I ran backwards over the finish line. I don’t know why I did that, I just fancied doing somthing a little wacky, especially as my time was irrelevant. As soon as I stopped, my legs seized up, I could hardly walk, but at least I hadn’t DNF’d.

I was surprised that my legs weren’t too bad in the coming days. I guess it’s because it wasn’t DOMS, just cramps. I sent the Vaporflys back and bought some Nike Streaks instead, it seems like a safer option.

I was disappointed that I couldn’d do a good time in Mainz, I will break 1:20 in Mainz some time, maybe next year?

Skoda Tour – Frankfurt/Eschborn Classic

I haven’t raced for a while, as you can see by my lack of race reports. Training is kind of going well, I am cycling well and running is a bit on and off, but generally good too. Swimming isn’t where it should be, but I have a base and should be able to build from here.

So where is the problem? Well my recovery has been really bad all year. I do some harder training and I have DOMS for days afterwards. Here’s a good example. We did a 10x800m set in run training. It went okay, but all the next day (Thursday) I was very sore in my quads. We had arranged a bike ride on Friday to Feldberg and I could ride well, but that on top of my pre-existing DOMS really knocked me out for 3-4 days.

Anyway, enough of that, this is about Eschborn. I decided to sign up on the day this year so I had some rest time on Tuesday. I had to get the 6:39 train from Kastel though, so I was up early! I ate a bucket of oats and was on my way. I had bought myself a speed suit for this race along and my upcoming Time Trial in Wörrstadt. I felt a little silly stading around in it before the race, but when were riding, it felt comfy and fast.

I set off just after the first starting pen and with the Team Skoda boys. There were a few of them who were really strong and wanted to push the pace from the start, which I was happy about! After getting into a rhythm we were moving well and after 38 minutes of hard work, we caught the/a main peleton. I made a stupid mistake of not moving to the front of the peleton.

Pretty soon the course started heading up, not steep at first, but soon it hit Feldbegr proper. My problem was that the peleton was falling apart, and I had to keep bridging to the next group. On Feldberg I was passing all the people who were falling off the groups ahead, but only slowly reeling in the big groups. Near the top I finally caught them, but decided to kick on at my pace, knowing that my decending skills are not the best.

At the top my average speed was 33km/h, last year it was 29km/h if I remember coreectly, so I was much faster. I also decended well for me, I could keep my place more or less, I mean some were faster, but I passed some people too.

On the climbs I generally seemed to be one of the strongest riders near me, often riding away from the group that formed on the flats. The tarmac on the roads was lacking quite a lot of the time, I don’t like hitting potholes at 70km/h!

There were more small uphills on the decent of Feldberg than I remembered, but nothing too hard. I was still feeling strong when we headed to Mammolshain, home of the famous stich.

This time I didn’t leave the entire group behind, but was still one of the faster riders. Very steep climbs aren’t my forte, but the 17% stich was still fine for me, even though I lost a lot of gears on my Merida compared to my Canyon I rode last year (36/28 vs 34/32).

At the top I knew it was all fast and easy to the end. A group formed again, but it didn’t work well together. I, and others, were shouting for people to take short pulls, but all too often they would get to the front and stop working, or try to stay at the front without having the legs to do it.

Anyway, I crossed the line in 2:48, which is about 30 minutes faster than last year, but the course was slightly different. Looking at Strava segments, I was much faster on every part of the course this year, so I am happy with how it went.

Post Race:

I headed to the Skoda VIP tent and ate some pasta and cake, then drank some Apfelschorle. I felt good and waited for Marco to finish to chat with him before heading home. After a while I headed off with rucksack on back and soon found that I felt like dirt! I couldn’t breathe, I think I had eaten too much or something, but as soon as my heart rate reached 130, I was in trouble.

I rolled home very slowly, and pretty disappointed after a good day up to that point. I guess it might really just have been a digestive problem, as my stomach wasn’t good for the rest of the day, but wheezing like that isn’t a good thing…

Anyway: next up is the results of my blood test to see if I have Diabetes (no need to get into that too much, long story short, I am sleeping badly because of a dry mouth, could be diabetes, probably isn’t) then Mainz half marathon on Sunday. I should run between 1:19-1:30 there, more exact I can’t really say, things seem very variable at the moment!