Race Report – Köln226 – my first long distance Tri

Finally it was time for the big race of the year, my first Iron distance race, Köln226.  Me and Katja arrived in Köln on Saturday afternoon with the weather wet, cool and windy.  I had to meet up with Christian Hafner pretty quickly, so we could check in our bikes at fühlinger see.  I cycled over and met him outside his hotel next to T2 and we went to the start.  After picking up my start numbers and chip, I checked my bike it in the absolutely torrential rain, not good for the bike, or the roads the morning after.

On the morning of the race I had a breakfast of croissants and bread after getting up at 4:20am. I slept surprisingly well!  There was a shuttle bus from town to the start (it wasn't very full when I got on – see below), I got the 05:20 bus and was at the start in good time.

The mass start time was 7:05 and at about 6:50 I was in my wetsuit and ready to go, the water temperature was pretty nice and comfortable.  The countdown started, and we were off!  The swim is in a rowing lake, with lane markers that are one metre underwater, perfect for staying on course!  I found the line after about 200m and stuck to it like glue!   I was pretty tentative in the swim, as I have never swum 3.8km before, so I kept it steady and ticked off the 250m markers as they came and went.  I had a peeing plan, which was to do breaststroke near the end to allow me to pee, then start to crawl again.  In Hannover I wasn't able to pee whilst crawling, so this seemed like a way to save a toilet stop early on the bike.  I was surprised after 1k that I could crawl and pee at the same time!  Soon enough I was at the turn, I looked at my watch and it showed 37:11, not bad, not great.  There were no lane markers on the way back, so I stayed near a group and pretty uneventfully got to the end, with an empty bladder too!  My end time was 1:16:xx, about what I expected, but not a dream time.

I ran through T1 and found my bike.  Everything went smoothly until I realised that my cycling glasses weren't there.  It isn't too important, but not ideal either.  I started cycling, hoping to hold about 220w for the ride, except that my fxxking piece of sh!t power meter from 4iiii decided not to work, today of all days.  It is the ONLY reason I bought the power meter, so they will be getting a nice email from me.  I quickly decided that 140bpm heart rate would have to suffice, so I set off.  The first 15km are into Köln, then there are 3 loops of just over 55km.  The start was a bit chilly, but I settled into a rhythm, with a slight tail wind.  The turn around in Köln was quite technical and cost a bit of time, then on the way out the head wind was more noticeable.  I was riding behind someone who had passed me, a comfortable 12m behind him when a motorbike ref came to me and said I needed to watch out as I was borderline drafting… I really don't think I was!  The next 60km or so went well, but after 100km my ass, that I had forgotten to butter up, was hurting quite a lot.  Even worse were my triceps, they were agony every time I moved in aero-position.  The road surface wasn't very good either, so every bump hurt 2 body parts a lot!  With my average speed dropping, the last loop out of Köln against a strong wind was pretty bad, I had to sit up due to my arms, so survival was the name of the game.  I was behind someone again a bit later having caught them, I sat in again well back, when a ref came again and gave the guy in front of me a black card i.e. a 5 minute penalty.  He was at least 6 metres behind, not exactly on the wheel of the guy in front.  The ref then came to me and said I was borderline, I said I would be careful.  The ref came past again 5 mins later, when I was well clear of everyone, and again 5 mins later, giving me the thumbs up!

The last part of the ride after T1 was filled with middle distance riders.  I was trying to be careful to stay well away from slipstreams, but the roads were now very full.  I had to brake a few times, and had no more issues getting to the end, though I saw some real packs of riders in the other direction.

Now I hadn't peed since the swim, so knew that I had to go in T2.  I got in after riding 186.5km according to my garmin, and after nearly 7 hours total time, well behind goal schedule.  After a quick change, I went straight to the portaloo, sorted out everything, and set off on the run.  I knew that it was going to be bad, but after 1km I looked any my purposely slow pace was 4:30/km, far too fast.  I tried to slow, but failed!  I decided that I should make hay whilst the sun was shining, so carried on.  Soon enough my pace drifted to 4:45, 5:00, 5:15 and slower.  After 10km I was slowing and getting worried, there was still 32km to go, and who knows how low my pace would fall, maybe I would have to walk the rest! That'd take 6 hours!  I kept on plodding, walking to get drinks at almost everyone of the very frequent drink stations.  My pace was still slowing, but the rate of slowing was falling, I seemed able to hold faster than 6m/km even though I was feeling awful.  The 2nd loop was like purgatory, the 1st loop took 1:12, the 2nd 1:25, pretty much 1 min per km slower.  On the last lap at least I knew that I was on the home straight, after getting over the bridge I looked and saw that a 60 minute 10km would get me an 11h finish time, but I also knew that it wouldn't happen.  I kept plodding, not really feeling any worse than after 20km.  I started to think that my pace was near irrelevant, as with 7km to go, even running at 7mins/km instead of 6 would cost me pretty much nothing.  I won't lie, beating Jochen's time from last year was a goal, but with 5km to go, I knew that was a shoe-in.  With 3.5km to go, I saw Katja making the turn for the half marathon, I shouted for her to come back for a kiss, then sent her on her way, I knew I couldn't even nearly keep pace.

After the spiral staircase and slight uphill over the bridge, I knew it was all over bar the shouting.  I enjoyed the last 500m, fist pumping and just so happy that it was over!  I got over the line in just under 11:07.

After the race I felt a bit sore, my knees were hurting, my triceps were incredibly painful and I was very tired, but generally I felt better than I had feared I would!  Even though I didn't break 11h, as was my goal, I am putting it down as goal achieved, especially as I would have broken 11h if the bike hadn't been extended by 6.5km!

I am not sure that I will be rushing to do my next ironman.  Something that I thought about during the run was that I struggle to run well off the bike.  That obviously is made worse after longer bikes, with longer runs to follow. Until that problem is solved, I don't think Ironmans should be my main concern!  I will definitely (quote me on that) NOT do a long distance in 2016, who knows what 2017 and onwards will bring, but it isn't a dream of mine to do a second ironman!

So that's that. Project 2015 is over.  It has been a long hard year. I really think that a not extremely hot ironman in late July would have been about perfect for me.  I think I over-cooked it a little at the end, and stated to lose fitness and the will to train, just as I should have been ready to go.  That also corresponded to me not doing my weekly updates, that was partially due to work getting really busy, but also due to constant tiredness and the stress of needing to get out to train all the time.  I think my need to hit my weekly goals might actually have been a bad thing, I would cycle an extra few hours when I was exhausted, instead of resting and getting in more quality.  The next updates will be my next races, let's see how I feel after a bit of rest and recuperation time..

Race Report – Vereinsmeisterschaft

I haven't been keeping up with the week by week updates for the last few weeks, I've been tired, tapering and busy at work. I will try to get my numbers in so that I have a tally of how much I have done before Köln.

1 week out from Köln was the club championships.  It starts in Nieder-Olm with a 300m pool swim, then a ride to Gau-Bischofsheim, it was 16.5km last year, then a pretty tough 4km run to end it.  Last year I was ill with low iron/HGB so was way below my best.  I did a 57:xx then, but this year I was hoping for a sub 50 time, though that seemed tough.  The winner last year did about 45 mins.

I got there in good time, had a bit of a chat with the guys I know from the league team and was in good spirits.  I watched one of the other non-TCEC starts, it was pretty slow going, the fastest swimmer swam 5:50, with most way slower.  Our start time was 8:50 and at 8:50 there was no sign of an imminent start, until they shouted, LOS!  The swim is a bit chaotic as there are no divides, not lanes, and everyone swimming out and backs trying not to hit each other!  I seemed fairly mid-pack.  I went out too hard and after 50m had to remind myself that it was 300m!  I got out of the pool and stopped the watch at 5:10, faster than expected.

I ran down to my bike and had a decent transition.  It was crowded at the start of the bike, and I passed a few people.  My hamstrings and shoulders were feeling tight, maybe a result of 9 days off the bike!  I caught a group, well 3 people, who were very clearly pack riding.  I decided to hang off the back of them until the hill in Selzen, when I would try to get past without them hanging on.  I managed that, but soon enough on the flats and downhills they got back to me.  I was riding a bit out of aero as my shoulders weren't happy.  I pretty much managed to stay near those guys until the end.  I noticed the route was a bit different this year, it was 1km longer as it cut right earlier than last year.

After getting my feet out of the shoes far too early, I got to T2.  I had a very quick change into my shoes, and set off.  I was surprised to leave Heiko behind at the start of the run, but maybe I over-cooked it of the first hills.  Last year I saw the winner Konstantin coming back down the first hill as I was going up it, this year I was a lot further along the course, which was a positive!  I'm not sure he has to worry for next year though.  The run was fairly uneventful.  It was hot and sunny, my HR was sky high and I kept an ok tempo round the course.  It measured 3.8km at the end, and I ran a 15:55, ok for a hard and hot course.

So after a long wait, I heard my result was 51:30 or so.  I was reasonably placed in the club, but 1 minute faster would have been 4th.  I managed to shred my feet in only 16 mins in my new Zoots, I will have to try tightening them and wearing socks, otherwise they will be out of the rotation!

All in all it was pretty good.  I am a little worried about the bike, so I will get out 2-3 times this week for a spin to keep loose.  My run and swim were good enough, especially if the weather is as predicted next week, i.e. cool and cloudy.

I might try a final post before Köln, but if not, see you on the other side!

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.

Weeks 31 and 32

Sup y'all, so I was really busy last week so didn't get a chance to write my weeks review.  It was an easier week anyway, ending in the Erich Fill Triathlon, so I will cover it in a few sentences. I swam a 3.5km on Tuesday evening along with 2.5km on Saturday and 1.1km on Sunday, so 7.1km for the week, not bad. I had monday as my rest day and ran 11.5km on Wednesday and Thursday. On friday I rode 59km, my legs felt great having not ridden for 5 days, so I was ready for the Tri on Sunday.

Running 33km (1344.1km YTD)
Cycling 96km (5420km YTD)
Swimming 7.1km (109,45km YTD)

So on to last week. On Monday I ran 11.5km again, I wanted to run quite slow after my fast '10k' the day before, but it ended up at 4:53/km so not dead slow.. On Tuesday I went to the gym and did my old school 7x1km intervals on the treadmill.  I did the intervals at 15km/h with the last one being 1.5km with increasing speed up to 16km/h.  It felt pretty good to be honest, it made me feel like I haven't lost too much run fitness since spring. I did some strength work too, mainly legs but abs, triceps and chest too.
On Wednesday I couldn't really be bothered to do anything, and just about binned training, but finally got out for 34km on my road bike.  On Thursday I swam 2.7km before going to the pub quiz, I wish I had time to do more, but I didn't 🙁

Friday I cycled 58km to wörrstadt and around to Wallertheim and back.  When I was in Stadecken Elsheim I looked to my left and saw Jochen, then quickly noticed that he was bandaged, and next to a car with a broken window!  Apparently he had crashed into the back on the car after a downhill, but wasn't badly injured, just a few cuts.  I hung around until he left in an ambulance, made me think though.

On Saturday I set off early to cycle to Heidelberg.  Its about 100km away, so I found 2 GPSs and started following the line! It was pretty good with only a few slightly gravelly parts.  Last time I cycled to mannheim it was a nightmare getting through Ludwigshafen, this time was a piece of cake!  Speaking of cake, when I got to Heidelberg, I stopped to get a coffee only to find they didn't have any cake, or anything to eat at all actually 🙁  I only stayed for about 20 mins, before heading back on the Hessen side of the Rhein.  The wind was a bit all over the place, but I the Ks clicked away quickly and even after 180km I felt fine.  By the time I got home, I had 195km on the clock at just over 31km/h, I could have gone faster if the track had been smoother, but that's not the point anyway, it was a good long training ride.

On Sunday it was hot, so I decided to run my long run late in the day.  I went out at about 19:30, but had so many problems with my stomach that it was pretty pointless.  I had to stop for "comfort breaks" so often that it was becoming a joke.  I ended up doing a hilly 14km and calling it a day, and a week.

It ended up not being a stellar week, but I did hit 2 of my 3 key workouts, i.e. running intervals and long cycle.  If my stomach had let me I would have done the long run to hit the trifecta, but it wasn't meant to be.  Next week is just another training week, I will try to step it up a level, but the weather looks hot, hot, hot, so swimming and running will be bad. Let's see what I manage.

Running 36.1km (1380,2km YTD)
Cycling 288.1km (5708,1km YTD)
Swimming 2.7km (112,15km YTD)

I need to get 2 long swims in next week, I want 7km+

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)

End of week 27 – easier week

So I hadn't planned an easier week, but that's how it ended up, so I will just have to live with it!

Things started well on Monday with a 10.7km run at 4:48/km. Average HR was 138 which is great, my aerobic base seems to be good.  On Tuesday I cycled to the pool in Nieder Olm, swam 2.7km before cycling into town to meet friends for a few beers.  It totalled 25km cycling, again pretty decent.

I had Wednesday off work so wanted to do a long ride.  There was a wasps nest in my window shutters, so an exterminator had to come around, so i had to wait until that was done.  I also had arranged to meet Katja at 2pm and I was tired, so I lounged around and napped instead of riding!  I finally got myself out to ride in the late afternoon, though only for 91km at 32km/h on my road bike.  It was actually good fun, I really attacked the hills, setting some Strava PBs.

On Thursday I ran late with Katja.  It was a pretty relaxed pace.  I was in work until late and the weather was hot, so we ran at about 7pm for about an hour.
On Friday I went straight from work to the pool and swam 2.7km again.  On Tuesday I had been fast, with my 200m repeats being at 3:25 or so.  On Friday I was slow!  Repeats were more like 3:50.  I guess the water temp (26 vs 20) and clothing (trisuit vs loose shorts) played a part, but I didn't feel so good on Friday either, whereas I was flying on Tuesday!

I should have cycled on Friday evening, but didn't.  That left me needing a big ride on Saturday to catch up.  I woke up to heavy rain…  It dried up by about 11am and I was good to go by 1pm, when an almighty flash storm hit, so I decided that this week could be my easier week instead of next week.  So I did nothing on Saturday except nap and generally be lazy!

Sunday was Worms Tri day.  I cycled 18km to the start then did the event, see the race report.

Running 26.2km (1204,8km YTD)
Cycling 154.1km (4415,3km YTD)
Swimming 6.2km (87.75km YTD)

Race Report – Worms Nibelungen Triathlon

I made my debut for TCEC yesterday in the 2. Landesliga.  The event was the Nibelungen sprint triathlon in Worms, 750m swimming, 22km cycling and 5km running.  It had been cold most of the week and stormy, so I had expected that it would be wetsuit legal.

Troubles even getting there

Jochen picked my up at 8am, he was going to Lampertheim sprint triathlon, which is quite close to Worms, so I joined him and would cycle the last part.  Obviously the roads were closed between Lampertheim and Worms, so my 10k cycle became an 18k cycle, but no harm done, my start time wasn’t until midday anyway.  I found the TCEC tent and the organisers had no idea who I was, I guess that’s what happens when you never go to team swim or run training!  Karl-Heinz seemed to be in charge and was a really nice and friendly guy, he gave me a TCEC polo shirt, told me where to put my transition stuff and explained a bit about how it will all work (there are 2 separate transition zones and they take your bike in T2, you don’t have to park your bike).


I rolled over to the swim start area with the masters team as they were starting at 11am, even though it was barely 10am.  I got my bike checked in, but ended up sitting doing nothing for nearly 2h, except for watching the Masters start and finish their swim.  They had worn wetsuits… Christian Hafner was in the masters team, another nice guy, I spent most of my time before and after the race talking with him.  He had done a 1:26 last year and was hoping to get below 1:20 this year with a bit more experience and training behind him.  About half an hour before the start we were told that it was not wetsuit legal, some rubbish about the youth teams swimming with us and that means we can’t wear wetsuits…  It was cold, so that wasn’t ideal.

No wetsuits allowed

We started on the dot at midday.  I settled into my swim pretty quickly.  I gave up a few places in the manic start, but soon started catching people and overtaking.  It was a one loop swim and it was over pretty quickly.  I saw 12:13:59 as I stepped out of the water, so a 14min swim, ok not not spectacular.  I got to my bike and a team mate was already there, another – Christoph, arrived immediately after me.  My transition wasn’t great but ok and I left just behind Christoph and a bit behind Tim (the guy who was already there).

Technical Bike

On the cycle I found pretty quickly that I was about the same pace as Christoph, so I tucked in 10m behind him. We passed quite a few people, including Tim.  The course was quite technical with lots of right angle or more turns.  Otherwise it was flat and fast and there were always people around me.  I wanted to pass Christoph for a while, but as the route was narrow, I couldn’t.  Eventually I managed it, apparently annoying him in doing so, he came back past me a few seconds later.  The cycle ended pretty quickly and I was soon in T2.

Although we had been told that they would take our bikes from us, they didn’t, and apparently we should have just known that we should hang them on the rack at the side…  After a few seconds lost there, I ran to my shoes.  I was number 231 but couldn’t find where my place was.  It is obviously mainly my fault for not making a mental note earlier, but as I ran back and forth along the rows, I was getting frustrated.  It must have lost a minute there.  I hadn’t got my watch set to run, but looked and saw it was just after 12:48, so I could expect a 1:08 end time with an ok run.

Strava Bike File

Hot Running

It was hot and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky for the run.  I set off and soon saw that I wasn’t the slowest!  Only one overtook me near the start, whereas I passed a few.  It was 2×2.5km, but the first loop seemed to last for ages!  There was a TCECer was behind me and that the 2 ahead of me (Christoph and Max) were long gone.  I ran ok, but seem to be lacking my top gear, same as all of my other races recently.  I got overtaken by the TCECer behind me (Stephan Jung), and ran in to finish in 1:07:37.  It was  pretty decent overall, though my transitions were rubbish and my run could and should be better.
.After 3.5km with Stephan closing in on my

So that’s the end of the Nibelungen Triathlon and my 5 weekends in a row of racing. I am glad that it is over to be honest, now I can get back to training!  I still plan to do Merzig Sprint on August 15th and the club championship 1 week before Köln.  A Taunusstein Olympic distance is also my list on the 26th of July too, though the 550m of climbing over 40km cycle route seems tough!

10 weeks to go!