This weekend was all about the Zeewolde Endurance. The kick-off on friday hosted various events, including a school/kids triathlon. Saturday was packed with triathlons. The Olympic distance in which I would participate in the morning, and the sprint distance in the afternoon. Sunday included the running races, consisting of the 5, 10 and half marathon distances.

Back to saturday morning! As the race start was literally 500 meters from my doorstep, I could afford to take some extra sleep. Around 8.30 we got up and had breakfast. Then it was time to gather my gear. In between I went for a walk towards registration to pick-up my bib and swim-cap. A lot of volunteers were working on transition and made sure the entire pick-up process went smooth.

Back home I made the final preparations and did the final check to make sure I had everything. Then, it was time to set up transition. It was pretty straightforward, and as the guy across the fence didn’t show up, I had a bit of extra space. In transition I met my colleague, Dennis, who was doing his first Olympic distance triathlon.

It was time to put on my wetsuit, and do some warm-up laps. Below you see us entering the water.

After some minutes, everyone got summoned behind the starting line. The swim course consisted of two laps, counter clockwise before swimming back to transition. About 200 meters into the swim, the harbour exit would narrow. Therefore I decided to start at the far left, out of the biggest crowd. I started behind some of the fastest swimmers of the pack. The starting horn sounded and we were off!

As the faster swimmers got away, I was swimming in a nice gap, to get into rhythm. The volunteers and organization were great. They had alot of divers on standby, including several on boats along the course. At the end of the first lap, we had to swim through a canal. The second lap I got within a group. When we entered the canal for the first time, some elbow work was needed to get some space. But that’s what you get when attempting to swim 4 athletes wide through a small canal.

The second lap I created some more space and got back into my pace. A final time through the canal before making the turn right back towards transition. Great for all the people to watch, as you could get within a few meters of the triathletes. The video below is made by The Girl, which was, despite her pregnancy, running around to cheer as much as she could. Great support!

The swim was nice, but my pace was a bit on the low side. I took over Dennis just before the canal. You can see him swimming behind me at the start of the above video. T1 didn’t pose much of a problem. Within minutes I was on the bike. The organization put in a lot of effort. Other years we had to stick to bicycle path’s, but this year the entire road was closed off. Awesome! Within the first few kilometres I picked up the first few guys. After a few right turns, we rode out of town with a strong tailwind. I was flying! The bike leg consisted of 2 laps, totalling just under 40K. Ofcourse, the strong tailwind, would turn into a strong headwind the second part of the lap. I made sure I kept my cadence up to get through. I overtook a few guys, and on the second lap I got passed by a few locals, which were flying passed me. I couldn’t keep up with them, so I stuck to my own pace. The last few k’s had a nice tailwind back to transition.

I took my shoes off on the bike, and people watching already warned for the dismount girder, as it caused problems with a few other athletes already.

I took a bit more time in T2. As I had to put on my shoes and socks. While I exited T2, I took a quick gel. In the meantime the sun won it’s battle against the clouds and it got pretty warm. The 10K run consisted of 4 laps, with a single aid station each lap. My pace was good, and every time I came across the aid station I stuck to the following order:

1. Grab/drink energy drink
2. grab water to drink / flush the energy drink from my face
3. Grab a sponge to cool down.

A lap was basically a from/to circle, with the finish being one of the 2 turnaround points, so you had a lot of opportunity to see friends/family watching, or to check out your competition during the race. I was able to maintain my pace for the first two laps. Around this time, Guido, the leader of the race passed The Girl, closely followed by me (even though he was a couple of laps ahead).

The sun was bright and it became quite warm. I had to lower my pace a little but nothing too serious. A big thumbs up for the volunteers here as well. All the sponges and cups that were littering right after the aid station were collected right away. The last couple of hundred meters I sped up, across the line.

The finishline had all kinds of drinks, oranges, bananas and instead of a finisher t-shirt, a finisher cup. Great to see that the entire top 3 on the male podium were locals from my triathlon club. I finished on place 32/83, Dennis finished around 4 minutes behind me. A great performance for his first OD.

My times:

Swim:  00:24:41
T1:      00:01:06
Bike:   01:06:52
T2:     00:01:23
Run:   00:50:14
Total:  02:24:15

Compared to a couple of weeks ago, I shaved off some minutes again, and had a blast! Looking forward to next year.

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