Last weekend was my first ever European Ironman where I finished 2nd overall. I knew the eventual winner (Karen Thurig) would be tough to beat on her home soil but was ready for a great race. Although the win would have been nice, I was happy with my race and probably gained more positive experiences from this race than any Ironman that I have won or done in the last two years.
After my disastrous swim at Ironman Brazil earlier this year, I was determined and ready to have a good swim. Well, the good news is that I swam in a group and stayed with the pack for the whole swim. O.k. It wasn’t the fastest swim group where I probably should be, but it was a group and I was happy to stay with the pack throughout the 2 loop course. Usually I’m off swimming in my own little world (sometimes on course and sometimes off course) so this was definitely a bit of an improvement!
I fumbled a bit in T1 and lost some time from the group that I exited the swim with. They were OFF on their bikes and out of sight quickly! The first 30k of the bike is flat and quite fast. I couldn’t even see anyone in front of me or behind me. A couple times I even wondered if I was on course because I didn’t see anyone. After the first 30k I was glad to finally see some hills and even passed a couple of people that were out of T1 before me. I was cruising along and feeling great. Just before the halfway mark, the media motorcycle rode up to me and told me I had a 30 second lead on Thurig. What? Already? But I’m not even at halfway yet? I thought he had to be kidding! I knew she would be coming but was hoping to hold her off a bit longer than 90k. Well… the motorcyclist wasn’t kidding and soon enough Karin came by me. I ended up passing her back going up the famous heart break hill which is a narrow steep hill with crowds so loud it was deafening. Unfortunately Karin pulled away on the descent and flat section and wasn’t to be seen again. I ended up not losing too much time on the second loop and came off the bike about 3-4 minutes down.
Grabbed my Nathan fuel belt and headed out on the run. I usually carry 2 flasks with 400 calories( in each flask) of First Endurance. When I looked down at my belt there was only one flask! The other flask must have fallen out in somewhere in transition. I figured well…I’ll drink my first flask, then get rid of the belt so I’m a bit lighter:), and then just rely on coke and water for the remainder of the run. And…that’s what I did. The volunteers were also handing out Red Bull shots which sounded good. So… I grabbed a couple of those as well and drank one after ever loop (there were 4 loops on the run). I felt great on the run until about the last 5k where it became a bit of a struggle. I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other and drinking coke at every aid station to get me to the finish line. It ended up being my fastest I have run in an Ironman…so far!
I really enjoyed the race course in Zurich and the descents on the bike weren’t too bad!!! The volunteers and crowds were amazing and made for a great experience.
Special thank you to Nicola and her parents for their hospitality race weekend. They took good care of me, chauffeured me around, and just helped make my weekend stress free.
Also, thank you to all my sponsors (TeamTBB, Avia, First Endurance, Cervelo, 2XU, Louis Garneau, John Cobb, Rudy Project Sunglasses, Nathan Sports) for your support as I wouldn’t be able to do what I love without your help.
Next up is the famous Alp D’heus triathlon which will definitely be an experience!