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!

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.

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!

Race Report: 1KM swim, outdoor

Today I would take part in the 1km outdoor swim, just like last year. My goal for today was simple: swim faster then last year. My indoor time was good, around 17.30. So that promised something. Here is how things went down.

Registration would be around 18.30, with the start sounding at 19.00. However, I was stuck in traffic, big time. By the time I got home it was around 18.15. So I quickly gathered all my stuff and rushed towards the starting area. Dinner would have to wait until after the race.
The starting area was a mere 5 minute drive, so I made it on time.

Registration was at the start line, well, on the bridge over it. You just had to say your name, retrieve a swim cap, and you’re set. After a swift change into my wetsuit, into the water it was. There wasn’t many time left for a warm up, so a quick up and down towards the start would have to suffice.

As I am not the fastest swimmer of the pack, I lined up in the 2nd or 3rd row, waiting for the horn to sound. Rules for this race are simple. Swim to the buoy, turn around, and swim back. Stick to the right side of the canal, no hitting, kicking, or pulling wetsuit zips.

A quick sound of the horn and we were off! As expected, the line in front of me blasted off, not to be seen again. A few were swimming my pace so I tried drafting of them.

About 2/3 towards the turnaround I had to let them go, to stick to my own pace. I was swimming in a nice gap, so I could focus on my technique. On the turnaround, I used a backstroke to quickly turn and swim in the other direction. Never did this before in a race, but worked well.

I pushed on, and while breathing to either side, I noticed a group started to gather behind me.

As we progressed, I kept monitoring their progress towards me. At the final 100 meters or so I sped up, ensuring they wouldn’t pass me.

With that, my race was over. The results were in. I ended up finishing 13th out of 25. In a time of 17.33. This is around a 1.5 minute improvement over last year.

Race Report: Oostermeent Triathlon Huizen (Olympic Distance)

My triathlon career began at this race. You can read all about my first ever triathlon attempt here: http://www.dennismijer.com/?p=99 Two years later, I am back at the same beach. But first things first, preparation!

As this is my first triathlon of the season, I started gathering my stuff the evening before, to be sure I had everything. This saved me the searching for my championchip on race day.

Just before 10 AM my dad and his GF arrived. With the four of us we would head down to the starting area, which is a 30 minute drive from here. Packet pick-up was smooth as a whistle. Even though it was crowded, there was no line. I simply had to tell my bib and show my NTB license (Dutch Triathlon Association). With that I received my packet, containing a swim cap, stickers with my bib to label my bike, of course my bib, and some flyers to promote clothing and gadgets.

I sorted out my stuff, and set up my T2 area. Just like two years ago, T2 would be on the 400mtr track. T1 and the race start was a 3km walk/bike ride to the beach. I was short on time, so I quickly racked my bike, and put on my wetsuit. Even though the water was around 19-20 degrees according to the sign, I, together with around 95% of the competitors in the OD race, opted to put it on. Just as I entered the water for a warm-up swim, the announcer kindly requested everyone to leave the water, and prepare for the start, as we had less then 5 minutes before we were released.

In traditional fashion at this triathlon they played Carmina Burana, to get everyone pumped up. You could literally see everyone getting into their zone, mentally preparing for the 2-3 hours of agony they were going to put themselves through. As the last notes played, the horn sounded, (no cannon this year, as you can be seen here: Huizen 2012 

 

Talking about motivational music!

They say the swim leg of a triathlon is a contact sport. If you doubt this, you should’ve been here. Arms and legs where flying everywhere, tapping your feet, hitting your legs or back, or even kicking your arms and face. No damage was done to me, although I did spot someone’s timing chip flow around within 50 meters of the swim. Besides this there was the occasional weed bush to wrestle through. All together this gave me a hard time on the first lap. The second lap went a bit better, but my time said everything. Around 31 minutes to complete the 1500 meter swim.

Onto the bike it was. In T1 I probably had the best spot you can be in. Here are my paint skills to proof it. The green line represents my bike.
image

This was my first race where I practiced with my shoes on my bike, to put them on while cycling. The first shoe went very well, the second…didn’t. As straight out of T1 we started on a slight incline of the bridge, it made things a bit worst, but eventually I got my shoe on, and was off.

In the bike leg things were going well, I felt really good and my pacing was better then ever (as cycling isn’t exactly my best leg).
Below is a short video impression of the bike leg. (Hint, I am in the video as well, you see me getting passed within the first 6 seconds). I would be cycling a few 100 meters behind him for the remainder of the bike leg).

An hour and 13 minutes later I arrived at the dismount line. However, this line was earlier then a few years ago, surprising me. As I already took my shoes of I was braking hard and tried to swing my right leg over my bike (mistake #1: I never practiced dismounting like this)  to dismount. Now things went quickly, my leg got stuck behind my water bottles (mistake #2), knowing this wasn’t going well, I firmly grabbed my steering wheel, (mistake #3) as I was still breaking, the tightening of my grip == harder breaking. My front wheel decided to lock, launching me in a summersault straight into the bushes. My second official crash in three years. (The first one being in training: Lost & Crashed) A guy behind me rated me a 6 for my first ever summersault, let alone one performed from my bike! I quickly got up, gathered my bike. One of the water bottles got handed to me by the crowd. I picked up my shoe, and off I was. The only proof of this is me running into T2, with a shoe in my hand. As you can see below.

T2 went well. Racked my bike and helmet. Socks and shoes on, and go!

Right from the point I started running, I felt this would be a though run. My legs were burning. In the first K I had the time to assess the damage of my crash. My left elbow had minor skin damage, barely worth mentioning. My right shoulder took a blow, but seemed muscle related, no collarbone issues. The biggest problem was my left thigh. No skin damage, but it was cramping. They changed the course compared to the previous time, but the main part was the same, it was basically a massive figure of 8, so the brick of the run was a straight few k’s.

Below you can see I wasn’t in a happy place.

Things were hurting and my heart rate was off the charts. In the second lap I took a few seconds to let my heart rate drop. Then things went better.

Eventually I finished in 2.33.00. A mere 25 minutes faster then two years ago!

Swim: 00:31:54
Bike: 01:13:46 (01:45:40)
Run: 00:47:21
Total: 02:33:01

Ranking:
AG: 23 / 30,
Overall: 98/170

Satisfied!

Then, it was time for the best part! Feeding Frenzy! They had all sorts of things: Currant buns, bananas, oranges, various types of energy drinks. So I grabbed a couple of each and went to collect my reward. Here I am with part of my loot

With races in The Netherlands it is common to get a finisher t-shirt afterwards. Your bib gets checked when they give it to you, so you can retrieve only one. Here you can see what the finisher shirt looks like:

Thanks for reading, and see you at the next race!

Race Report: Swim-run (1km / 8km)

A few weeks ago I heard of the event at my triathlon club. I thought of registering, but as the date got closer, I thought I might skip it and stick to my regular training schedule. Up till a few days ago. I received a message from Adrian, asking if I would join up with him to participate as a team. He would take on the swim portion, I would do the running. This would be a cool experience so I agreed.

We had some issue with the online registration (we didn’t show up in the list), but he spoke someone of the organisation and got confirmation that all was right. Around 18.45 I showed up at the swimming pool, where Adrian was already waiting with my bib. Our series would start at 7pm.

While walking around the starting area, I learned that another team would be participating, Iris and Guido. Definitely a strong team. Adrian was getting ready for the swim, as was Iris, while I was talking with Guido.

To explain why they are such a strong team, let me explain the math to you. The distances we would compete in are a 1 km swim, followed by an 8km run.
Knowing Iris, she would swim this distance in around 16 minutes. Then Adrian, he is flying, and won the previous 500 meter / 1K distance races. He would cover the distance in around 13 minutes. Not knowing a lot of the other athletes, I figured I would be starting the run in the lead position, roughly 3 minutes ahead of Guido. This would be a problem. The reason is simply, He is FAST, swim, bike, and running. When I asked about his pace, he estimated he would run a 3.45 min/km pace. Compared to my pace of 4.15 min/km. That is 30 sec/km faster then me, or 4 minutes over the 8K distance…hence the problem. He would overtake me somewhere in the 3rd/4th lap.

So how would the race go down? The swim portion will be done in the swimming pool. All 5 lanes. 2-3 people a lane. There are two distances. The 1K-8K and the 500 meter / 4K. First the long distance would start, and when the swim part is done, the short distance goes off as well.

The faster swimmers will take the outer lanes, the slower, the more in the middle you would be. Adrian was in lane 1. Iris was in lane 5. A small advantage for us here, as the emergency door that was open to reach transition, was next to lane 1. I am standing in the doorway when taking the above picture. Small notification: The guy in the bright orange shirt is Guido, remember this, as it plays a part later on.

Below is transition:

The race was underway and things were going well. Adrian was taking the lead in his lane as expected, with someone drafting off him for 600 meters or so. He got tapped, indicating he had 50 meters to go. Time for me to walk outside and wait for his tab. Before I know it, he was there, and I was off! Time to see if I could find a minute somewhere. As I wasn’t familiar with the course (I thought it would be 2 4K laps at first, which turned out to be 4 2K laps) I was glad with the cyclist that would join me along the course. This was Iris’ father. As always with races, I started fast, too fast. Within the first K I became really thirsty. I lowered my pace a tiny bit, to a level I knew I could maintain. The first kilometer still went in 3.50min. On the back of the course there was a U shape, which allowed me to watch back easily, to see who was following me. I saw a few people, but no one wearing a bright orange jersey. Still good there.

A short while later the first lap was done. At this point I got right behind someone from my club. He is a good runner and was running my pace as well, so I stuck with him. At this point in the race, I wasn’t comfortable passing him, as I couldn’t maintain the higher pace, I was just capable of following, so we stuck together. The cyclist was doing a great job alerting everyone around us, as it was crowded with cyclists, other runners, people walking their dogs, the lot. In the second lap the cyclist said Guido was almost grabbed by a dog, which was kind of funny, as he was joking at the start he would send his dog to tackle me, so he would be sure of first place. Luckily nothing happened. We pushed on and in lap 3, we came across the same dog. Big thanks to Bas (the cyclist) as he was riding his bike between us and the dog, nearly crashing as the dog ran into him, to make sure we would be fine. Still no sight of the orange jersey, so things where good. Before we knew it I entered the final lap.

Once again, on the back of the course. I saw him, Guido! Not in a bright orange jersey, but in his black&white tri suit. ****!! And only a few 100 meters behind me. This was getting close, too close! I even shouted to Bas that Guido was coming to hunt me down, he just laughed and said I had to keep running. You can even tell from my heart rate when I saw him. It jumped from 187 to 193.

 

Only solution for me was to increase my pace, cheered on by Paul (the guy I ran along with). I just took off, not looking back, trying to stick to my higher pace. The last long straight, cheered on by people watching, I stuck right towards the finish line. Done! Finished, We won!! Right after I finished I turned around, I would guess that Guido was around 50 meters behind me. This race was tight!. Overall my average pace was 4.07 min/km. Later it turned out that Iris was tapped at the wrong time or not hard enough, causing her to swim 50 additional meters. That is around 1.30 minutes added to their time. Her pace was really good, as she crossed the 900 meter point around 14 minutes. Easily bridging the gap between me and Guido. Still, we are excited we managed to win. The event went great. Good organization, and around 60 people attended on the various distance, solo, or as teams. This is my first podium finish, and we got rewarded with a 15 euro coupon for a restaurant close by. Not bad for a Wednesday evening!

A short impression of the event:

Race Report: 1km Indoor swim

Today the training was replaced by the 1Km indoor swim race. As usual I went down to the pool around 18.45, as normally the training starts at 19.00. It’s only a 5 minute walk so I was good there. I was in for a big surprise when I entered the pool area 5 minutes before the start, and 34 people were already in the water, warming up. Me and another were the last to register and were lucky there was still a few spots open in the last series.

The race would go down like this: 4 out of the 5 lanes will be used for racing, and one for warming up. Then, everyone will be divided in 3 series. 4 lanes a series, makes 3 people a lane. I was matched up against 1 of the fastest swimmers from the lot, and a guy from our club, but doesn’t take part in our swim trainings. So I wasn’t too sure how my pace would be compared to him. I know he is a better cyclist then me, but when it comes to swimming I figured we would be about even.  My race would be in the 4th lane in the last series, next to the warm-up lane.

Just before the start, we agreed on sticking to the far right of the lane, swimming in circles, so the fastest swimmer would have enough space to pass us. So when we set off, we let him go first, and we would follow close after. I took the middle position, but within 50 meters he was gone. No drafting off him. So I went with my own pace, which went good. A couple of lanes in and I dropped my chaser, slowly but surely increasing the distance. About midway I lost count and had no idea of the distances covered, or better, distance to go. I did count how many times I was overtaken by the faster swimmer, so when he would get out of the water, I knew where I was again. Before I knew it, that time had come, he passed my 5 times, so about 200-250 meters to go. At this point I lapped the other guy once.
At the 100 meter to go point, they would tap you on the head with a foamy stick, they use for aerobics. A final push, and the race was over.

My finish time was 17.38. The only comparison I had was the 19.10 from the 1km outdoor race. So I was pretty stoked.

This race was part of the swimming competition. Before the start someone told me I was 4th in the men’s competition, and that I would have to post a great time to be able to take 3rd. But, the full top 3 posted quicker times then me, but I managed to maintain the 4th place.

No hardware, but still great!