Race report: Zeewolde Endurance (OD)

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.

Race Report: Oostermeent Triathlon Huizen (OD)

Sunday the 14th it was that time of the year again. My first triathlon of the season. As previous years, my opening race will be kept in Huizen. The evening before I gathered my gear, to be sure I didn’t miss anything. With packing done, it was time for race day. Despite knowing the course, having started several triathlons/distances, I was nervous.

This morning me and The Girl made our way to the race. First, it was registration or packet pickup. Like other years it contained the bib, swimcap, bib sticker for your bike, and a trash bag, also labelled with your bib number.

After I setup T2, I would head towards T1 on my bike, The Girl went by car, together with my dad and his girlfriend, which just arrived as well.T1 had a surprise. As there was virtually no wind, which is very rare in this area, the water didn’t even ripple. Great racing conditions!

A few minutes before the start everyone did their warm-up.

Until the announcer called us back to the beach. The race would be a dry start.

After Carmina Burana played it’s final notes, the horn sounded, and we were off!

The  swim went ok. I tried to stay out of trouble, but couldn’t, taking and giving some punches or kicks. After the first lap I noticed my watch stopped tracking my time/distance. As the turnaround is quite shallow, you can walk a bit. Enabling me to restart the timer. It took me around 27 minutes to complete the 1500 meter swim.

T1 went smooth. Goggles and swim cap stayed inside my wetsuits sleeve, quickly strip down and stash it in my trash bag.

Belt and helmet on and a dash towards the mounting line. In the process I overtook several that completed the swim before me. My shoes were on the bike already, and unlike last year, I had no issues to put them on, despite the slight uphill.

A few weeks before, me and my Physiotherapist / trainer decided that the focus would be on the bike leg, as this is my weakest part of the race. There was barely any wind, and I was loving it! The lack of wind meant you were able to stayer, without entering the passing zone of the one in front of you. I actually started overtaking some guys. I can tell you it feels great to pass guys wearing aero helmets or disc back wheels on my “budget” TT bike. A few gambled on stayering illegally, but got separated by the officials. Eventually I completed the 40K just over an hour.

However, as I pushed the bike, the run would be tough. I changed to my running shoes. As always lost a bit of time for my socks and pushed on. I took the energy gel I stored here right at the start of the run leg. The first lap went smooth, but as the field was spread out, I didn’t pass / get passed by alot of people.

Here I am a bit into the 2nd run lap.

From this point on things got harder. I kept on trucking, but had to drop my pace a little. As there was a big gap behind me, I could afford to do so without losing any places. I won’t be near any podium finishes, but it’s still a race. Due the lap setup The Girl and family could cheer for me several times. Which always is a nice boost.

Eventually I ended finishing in 2.27 hours. Shaved several minutes of my time from last year! The bike went better, but dropped a bit more on the run. Overall I am quite happy, as I always struggle on my first race of the season.

Race Report: Swim-run

Last year I participated in the swim-run as a team. It went way better then expected, as you can all read here. This year would be different. My teammate from last year indicated he couldn’t make it. So I opted to participate solo. Just like last year there were two distancens:

– Short (500 mtr swim, 4K run)
– Long (1K swim, 8K run).

The long distance was my choice. I left work a tad early, to beat the traffic. When home I had a tiny dinner and got ready for the race. The strange thing with a swim-run duathlon is the fact that you barely need any gear.

– Trisuit
– Swimgoggles
– swimcap (supplied by organization)

– running shoes
– number belt

And you are all good to go! It gave me the feeling I forgot something though, but I didn’t thankfully.

The setup was the same as last year. Number pickup in the bar of the swimming pool, and transition just outside. There would be 5 lanes, with 4-6 people in each of them. This had a little surprise for me. With number pickup, they didn’t ask everyone’s expected swim times. Thus there was no organization in matching people’s speed in the same lane.

The overall message was: pick a lane you like, but keep in mind, the faster, the further towards the outside of the pool, as they would be leaving the pool first. Then, it was a divide and conquer between lanes. Everyone would wear a different coloured swim cap to make counting easier.

I opted for lane 4, as I knew there were faster swimmers then me. But to my surprise, lane 1-4 would be PACKED. Everyone seemed to (over)estimate the others, and opted for a slower lane. so I switched to lane 5. Indeed, 1 of 2 fastest lanes. I got joined by 3 others. 2 of which I know really well, as I swim with them twice a week, and both swimming my pace. This proved to be good.

Then it was time to start the race. The only other guy in my lane always swims away from me, so I took 2nd place in our “train” to slipstream of him. This went rather well and I could maintain this up until around 800 meters. The final set, the lady from my club passed me to push the pace a bit, so I could draft on her. She would only do the swim portion, so she could afford to push hard. The last lady in my lane turned out to be a bit slower, we passed her twice, but it gave no issues in the rotation.

Swimming went well, I completed the 1K in just around 17 minutes. The exit towards transition was near lane 1, so I had to run a tad more then most, but it was mere seconds.

For running I chose to put socks on, as without them I start sliding and run blisters. Normally no issue, but then I have the entire bikeride to dry. Trying to put socks on with wet feet is a struggle, but I took the few extra seconds to put them properly. Then I was off to run, my favorite part!

My position in the race seemed ok. I could see only one or two guys ahead of me. I kept running my own pace, which sadly wasn’t as fast as last year, but still ok. I passed the faster swimmer from my lane, but got passed by three others.

The 8K was divided over 4 laps, with a nice turnaround point to see what is going on behind you.

I loved the run, even though not alot happened. The temperature was good (even though the wind was a bit chilly) and I finished the race in around 52 minutes. Not to bad! When done my watch gave me some information.

New records:

– Fastest 1K
– Fastest 1M
– Fastest 5K

Pretty happy with that as my training intensity was increased from January onwards.

Here are the full results for the long distance:

This weekend I will be heading towards Barcelona, so till soon!

Runaround: Old Heathfield (UK, East Sussex)

This eastern weekend me and The Girl went for a short trip to the UK, to visit her cousin. She and her family migrated there last december, so it was time to pay them a visit.

The day started rather cold and windy, but the afternoon cleared up. Good time for a run. It was actually The Cousin’s husband that opted I would go for a run, and he would tag along on his bike.

As they live in a small village there was barely any traffic.

 

The next village was a bit strange for several reasons.

Whether it was their street naming

 

Or the traditional english phonebooth wich was turned into a book sharing office. Just drop off books you don’t need, and pick books you would like to read.

 

Or the white llama’s we came across. That’s right, llamas…In case someone shouts: a picture or it didn’t happen:

Thats why bringing a camera along for your runs never hurt. Strange thing was that they were actually staring at us, as we were the ones out of place in south-east England….Shortly after we left the village behind and it was back to the rolling terrain. The second picture shows how steep some hills are.

 

From here on out we looped back to the road we came from. So to top off with a nice view from the place we started.

Overall it was a great run. Temperature and weather were good. The loop was about 12K, completed in just over an hour. Enjoy the weekend!

Race Report: Half Marathon Harderwijk

A couple of weeks ago my dad asked me to join him on running the half marathon in Harderwijk. Last week we prepared for it with a 18K trailrun, as you can read over here. The start was a very convenient 14.00, so we had all the time go get ready. As the company of The Girl sponsored the event, she handled all our registration and packet pickup. The only thing left for us to do was warm up, and run a half marathon.

Unlike last week, it was COLD. With cold I mean 4 degrees, and an even colder wind. For us it would be ok as we were running. But respect to all the volunteers keeping the course safe.

We slowly gathered towards the starting area. Lot’s of people were warming up, and the 5K & 10K were just finishing. At 14.00 exactly, the race started.

We were somewhere halfway the pack, so it took about 15 seconds before we started. Around 9K’s into the race, a colleague of me was watching as he lives close by. Always nice to have support along the line.

The Girl and The Girl from my dad were watching, but as it would be a two lap course, they were smart enough to head inside and have a nice hot chocolate. Their timing was spot on to see us coming through to start lap 2.

 

As you can tell, we were not in a happy place. The 2nd half of the lap was a full headwind, really hurting your legs. The tailwind part of a lap was mainly in urban area’s, breaking up the wind. But we soldiered on.

The time we set up front was 5.30 min/km, but as soon as we started, that was out of the window, and stuck to a ~5.10 min/km. Which went pretty well!

Lap two was more of the same. We picked up a nice group. Somewhere around K marker 16 one of them fell, hitting me, but I could maintain my pace. But as he took the group with him, we dropped them.

The last few K’s were horrible. We pushed through even though our muscles really started hurting because of the cold headwind.

The finish line was in the city centre, close to where we started. The only annoying thing: the last K were cobblestones. Not the best surface to run on when your muscles are exhausted.

 

But we made it! Both finished in around 1.49. Not too bad this early in the season. When finished we received a cup of warm soup and a bag with flyers, energy drinks, and apple and a finishers towel. We met up with The Girls and went for a drink in a bar close by, before going home for a nice warm shower.

Trailrunning Kootwijk

Since the return from New Zealand the training is picked up again. Coming March I would participate in a half marathon together with my dad.

The past couple of months he has been focussing on trail running. As a preparation for next week, he invited me over to run a trail. It would be around 16K through a forest, about a 20 minutes drive from here.

So early sunday morning I got ready en picked him up. We were in luck, as it promised to be a really good day. Even though it is early march, temperatures would rise to somewhere between 15-20 degrees.

As the weather was good, the forests were crowded. Lots of families going for a walk, cyclists on their Sunday morning ride, and motorbikes going for a spin. We were lucky to snatch the last parking spot. We grabbed our nutrition, and were ready to go.

 

 

The first K’s were easy to get into a rhythm. We were aiming for a 5.30 min/km pace. The track was easy. Later on the car wide track would turn into a single track. At some points we ran into sand drifts/heathland, which we would be running along.

 

About halfway we would have to cross the highway so the track converted to a paved path.

Shortly we were into the heathlands again. If you look at the picture below, conditions were perfect for a run!

The last few K’s was all single track again. As I was messing around with the camera, I missed one of the roots and went down flat. Luckily me and the camera survived as proven by the pictures.

Here is the final stretch of single tracks

We ended up running about 18K in 1.40 hours. Not to bad for an easy Sunday run. Despite the crowds at the parking lots (about 2-3 cars were waiting for spots to open up), we barely encountered people during our run. We drove back to my dad’s place. In typical trail run fashion, we enjoyed a nice cold beer in the sun, before I went home.

Winter training

We are back in the cold and freezing Netherlands. It is time to ramp up my training again. As all the nice warm weather got left behind in New Zealand, it was back to indoor training.

In short my schedule looks like this:

Monday
Swimming – Regular training with the local club. Mostly focused on technique and shorter intervals (up to 500 mtr’s a time)

Tuesday
Core stability training – More on this in a bit

Wednesday
Swimming – Same as Monday

Thursday
Cycling – Done on my TACX. Depending on the time I have I fit in an interval training or a low heart rate endurance training. To keep it more fun and entertaining I watch TV/movies/series.

Friday
Rest! – Time for friends and anything other then training.

Saturday
Running – In winter mostly endurance runs, lower heart rate zones. Sometimes mixed up with Sunday.

Sunday
Cycling – TACX time, mostly lower heart rate workouts

 

So, the core stability training. At my club the amount of people showing up for running in winter drops quite a lot. To give the training a bit of a mix up they introduced core stability training at a local gym. The setup is pretty straightforward. Circuit training.

The amount of exercises depend a bit on the amount of people. In our case it ranged from 7-12 exercises. Could be anything from push-ups, squats, lunges, core workouts on exercises mats etc.

Then the circuit itself:

1-2 minutes for each exercise, 20-30 seconds rest, then move on to the next. Repeat until you complete 1-2 laps. The intensity of the exercise is all up to you, most of the time it is self limiting. Make sure you have 1-2 trainers walking around, to be sure your form is good throughout the exercise.

The training results you will enjoy in two ways. Long term with a good and stable core, and short term for the next couple of days!

 

Other options can include:

– Going on holiday to warm places. But as I just returned this is not an option for me at the moment.

– Cycling can be done on ATB’s as well.

– Speed skating (ice) instead of swimming

All together proves to be a good schedule for your cross/winter triathlon, or a good preparation for your summer season.

 

Note: Don’t force yourself to stick to your schedule. Be sure to listen to your body and adopt your plans accordingly.

Runaround: Nelson (airport)–New Zealand

The past few months have been quiet around me. I completed Challenge Almere-Amsterdam, my main goal for this season. Sadly I sustained a hamstring injury during the event. The few months that followed consisted mainly of swimming, easy cycling, and running short distances, low pace. December offered some relief. As me and The Girl headed out to New Zealand for 4.5 weeks. All holiday!

We would travel around in a small campervan, crossing both islands. Below is our planned route, and our campervan

 

 

 

Today was the first day I ran since weeks. We did do a lot of hiking through cities and national parks, but I didn’t go out on a run. We just crossed the cook strait with the interislander ferry and Nelson would be our first stop.

At the reception of the motorhome park I picked up a map with hikes in the area. The closest by was the Nelson Airport walkaround. Getting there and around totaled to around 10K, perfect for a nice run to see how my legs would hold up.

After I memorized the map on how to get there, I was off. A few k’s into the run I arrived at the airfield, but no hiking trail to be seen. I came across a local runner and asked him. With his directions I managed to find it, and it was clear to me why I ran passed it. As this is what it looked like:

The first part was mainly on a small path shoved between a fence and bushes. But further on you were out in the open, as on one side there was the airfield. On the other a golf course.

The run turned out to be quite warm. There was barely any wind, despite the airfield being an open area. But with all the distractions around it was manageable. Below is the sign showing airport security has some sense of humour.

 

Around 75% of the lap I was forced to stop. The following picture says it all:

A plane was approaching. But within a few minutes I was off again. The last part was a bit confusing, as all the airfields access roads were crossing, but eventually I was on my way home again.

Overall it was quite a success. Time to lit up the BBQ and relax!

Race Report: Challenge Almere-Amsterdam

This race is the big one. My first half distance triathlon, and the one I have been training for for the past year. The race will be on saturday, so I took the day off on friday to get everything set-up.

Friday it all started with the briefing at 12 PM. This covered the basic rules that would apply, the use of the transition bags (more on that later). They also explained the swim, bike and run courses.

After the briefing was over, I quickly left to head down to package pickup. There are two lines, one for the full distance, and one for the half distance. Things went smooth, first, they would write your bib on your hand with a marker, as a precaution, and then give you a paper bracelet, indicating you are an athlete that will race. To give you access to transition. Then you walk over to the desk next to it, and they give you a big envelope, and a red bag. The envelope contained some flyers, your swimcap and some wristbands. The red bag, contained some other flyers, stickers with your bib number, a green bag and a blue bag. Exactly, you receive three bags.

The bags are for every transition.

The red bag is for T1, you leave your bike gear in here, including your helmet.

The blue bag will be T2, containing your running shoes and the like.

The green one is your after race bag, In my case it contained an energy drink, a towel and a shirt.

After I checked out the contents, I had to wait for about an hour before I could rack my bike. So I wandered around the city a bit.  They set up some tents, from the bigger brands like Powerbar and Cervelo. Racking the bike was done quickly. As I was there I checked out “the basement” where all transition bags would be, so I knew what to expect. Then it was time to go home, and pack all the transition bags.

Next morning the alarm went off at 5 AM. A quick breakfast, and it was time to get ready. This consisted of changing into my trisuit, and put on my race number. A kind of “tattoo” as they have for kids, but then it looks way more awesome. I bet you can’t tell that it was early..

 

A bit later and we were off to Almere. Around 6.30AM we arrived at the transition area. The atmosphere is amazing. There was a lot of activity as the full distance would start at 7AM (pro’s) and the age groupers at 7.10AM.

Time to check my bike. Inflate the tires, put my shoes on the pedals and put as much nutrition on as I could. Then, the waiting game began. Half an hour before the start I attempted to eat an energy bar, and drink some energy drinks. By this time I was so tense, I almost had to throw up from the energy bar, but managed to keep it in.

If I was nervous? Nah..

5 minutes before the start, I spoke with some club members which made me more at easy. While all the half distance were waiting, the leader of the full distance was already out of the water, with a huge gap to the chase group. Then it was our time to hit the water.

A bit sudden the cannon was shot and we were off.

I managed to swim into a bit of a gap, to avoid getting kicked or hit. Short after it was time to round the first out of two buoys, as the course was one big triangle. A quick glance at my watch told me I reached it in 11-12 minutes. That was the first 700 meter done!. I couldn’t believe I was that fast. Either way, still 1.2 km to go, so I pushed on. My swim time ended up being around the 33 minute mark. Transition was auto-pilot all the way, I noticed some clubmembers, friends, family and The Girl all cheering.

Onto the bike I went, this would be the hardest part of the race, as the bike is my worst leg. The first 10K went smooth, barely any wind, and if any, it was a tail wind. In this part I learned two lessons:

1. My new repair kit mount system failed miserably. It fell off, so I had to get back to collect it. I stuffed it in the back of my tri suit and continued.
2. At the water stations they handed out half banana’s. Trying to grab one of them while going 35+ km/h proves to be quite a challenge. Hence why I found banana everywhere short after.

From about 10K’s in the bike, things made a turn for the worst. This was a 30-40km almost straight road, without any form of protection against the elements. Of course on this part of the course, there was a headwind, more powerful then expected. This is what I feared the most. My pace dropped, and one by one I got overtaken. Sometimes even by entire groups of 10-25 people. The judge motorcycle drove past, but nothing happened with the groups. I kept pushing on. At the end there is a sharp right turn, from here on out, things went better and better.

You can see the sheer flatness, in the area we bike.

 

My pace quickened, and I started overtaking people again. My nutrition went better, was able to eat and drink more. My bike time: 3.02 hours, 2 minutes slower then I estimated.

In the final results it showed that I lost about a 100 places during the bike.

Once again, transition went really smooth. Within minutes I was out on the run course. This half marathon was spread out over 3 laps around the lake we swam in. I felt good, and continued where I left off, overtaking people. I clicked off one after another. At the end of every lap we would come through transition, being cheered on by lots of people.

Really nice motivation boost! The laps became more and more heavy. About 5K before the finish line, my feet were on fire, and my thigh’s felt like there were hit with hammers with every step I took. I pushed on, and the last 1.5K I got cheered over the finish.

In the end I finished in 181th position out of 490, passed 77 people on the run.

 

Swim: 33.46
Bike: 3.02.24
Run: 1.45.26

My finishtime: 5.28.44

The event was amazing, and I am VERY satisfied with this result!

Race Report: Zeewolde Endurance (1/6th)

As this race is taking place as close to my house as it can possibly get, it is more then obvious I take part in it. When I went to sleep the evening before I already noticed. I was nervous. I slept light and woke up early, but falling asleep every now and then. It got worse as hours progressed, even felt a bit noxious. After breakfast, around 9am I made my way towards the packet pick-up.

The content wasn’t that much. A few stickers containing my racing number, a swim cap, my bib, a flyer, and an ankle bracelet to put your timing chip on. As I have my own ChampionChip, it was just the bracelet.

All my gear was packed, so it was time for some relaxing, as the start would be around 12. When it was time to make my way to T1, gathered everything and checked my bike. When we set out, the tape from my handlebars snapped. What a timing!

Glad I have the advantage of living in the centre, as 50 meters from my place there is a bike shop. A few minutes later, and everything was sorted out.

In T1 everything was setup quickly.

T1 and T2 are the same zone, so it was pretty straightforward. I made it a habit to scope out the transition zones to make sure where I enter, and leave. This time, I clearly noticed where we would enter T1, and the bike exit/entrance would be the same. But the exit for T2, to start the run, let straight to the water….This couldn’t be right. So I asked someone from the organization. It turns out, the run course would be dynamic. As soon as everyone was out of the water, they would move a floating bridge, effectively closing the harbour, so we could run to the other side, to start the run loop. How cool is that!

The image below shows you the swim lap, transition and the bridge.

When everything was set-up another wait session began. I spoke with some triathletes from my club. Even others with way more experience were feeling nervous. After a while it was time to get into the water. Wetsuit on and do some warming up. Hopefully to calm the nerves down. In the meantime some friends found The Girl, who will be supporting me. After a bit of a warm-up, the announcer said everyone had to form a line, to have their swim caps marked with their race number. Something they forgot to do before packing them. When everyone was marked, it was time to get things on the way. I picked a spot on the far left. Close to my friends and The Girl. Hoping to stay away from the washing machine that was about to start. The horn sounded and the starting rope was lifted from the water. We were off, and all the nerves were gone!

Quite fast I managed to create a “free” spot to swim, without arms or legs hitting me, or people swimming against me. I stuck to the far left, as the lap was counter clockwise. Only on the last meters I would sneak in to the right, to round the buoy, and continue. This strategy worked well, as I saw various people switching to breaststroke instead of freestyle. Even a girl kicking in place to empty her goggles. I continued this strategy for the second buoy, and made my way into transition. The swim went good. I was a bit out of breath and slightly dizzy when I came out. But no complains! As the previous race I had issues putting on my shoes while cycling, I chose to put them on while standing next to my bike.

It worked well, as shortly after the bike start, a guy in full TT gear, was standing still on the course. Later I heard his shoe fell off the bike because of a speed bump. He would pass me around 10-15K into the race. Me on the other hand? I started flying! Which caused me some trouble too. Within the first 5K, there are a few intersections, all taken by volunteers to manage traffic, so we wouldn’t have to care about that. However, on the second intersection, the volunteer wasn’t exactly clear to a driver on what to do. The result being a car stopping in the middle of the course. As I was in TT position, I barely made it to avoid him, giving the driver an earful. I pushed on and passed several people. A few passed me. A part of the course we had to do as two laps. The final stretch of a lap had a strong headwind. In this place I tried eating one of my energy bars. This proved to be quite a struggle, as the thing was really dry, barely possible to swallow. In the same time I got passed by a group of riders, including the guy I saw standing at the start of the bike course. Sadly there was only a single motorcycle with a judge on it, to rule against drafting.

They pulled a gap on me for about 100-200 meters, but that was as far as it got. I pushed on towards transition, to start my favourite part of the race. The run! Despite putting them on next to the bike. I took off my shoes during the bike, hence why I arrived at T2 looking like this:

What a relief to put on my shoes. I flew over the bridge onto the course. Within the first 2K I caught the entire group that was riding in front of me, and pushed on. One after another I picked up. Then the heat set in.  I managed to maintain my pace and stuck running with another guy. Every now and then we would pass each other, but continued ticking off others. In the last few K I had to let him go, I couldn’t maintain my pace, or he increased his, not even sure which of the two it is. I kept pushing, and saw some more guys in front of me on the last long straight. I tried to increase my pace, and slowly but surely decreased the distance. A few more corners to turn into the harbour, during the corners I started putting serious effort towards a sprint, as a guy was closing in on me as well. A left turn, over a bridge, to pass another two guys, hanging for the final right turn, over the finish line! If you look closely at the finish photo below, there are actually two guys close behind me.

I was really satisfied with how the race went and got some things to work on.

The results:

Overall: Rank 35 / 145
Age group: 16 / 50

Swim: 00:11:10
T1: 00:01:30
Bike: 00:54:36
Subtotal: 01:07:15
T2: 00:01:22
Run: 00:36:32

Total: 01:45:08

This is a 15 minute improvement compared to last year!