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Challenge Germany « James Cunnama’s Blog

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Challenge Germany

TeamTBB testing out the blueseventy suits the day before the race (we didn't just play on the slides...)

TeamTBB testing out the blueseventy suits the day before the race - we didn't just play on the slides, we also swam... ;)

This past weekend Rebekah and myself headed up the road for a Challenge event for the second time in a week. This race, held in Kraichgua, Germany, was not far from last week’s Challenge France event and this time we were joined in our adventure by Keegan, with Lisbeth coming up a bit later.

The weather was pretty much opposite of the week before, with sunny, warm conditions but the rest of the event was quite similar (with the same professional presentation by the Challenge guys).

The event itself started in a lake which was, thankfully, a lot warmer than last weekend. Our wave had a few more people in it this week too, which made the start more interesting. There was a lot of creeping at the start, and we were all about 50m past the line by the time the gun went. (At least I heard the gun, most pro’s told me after that they never heard it – cos they were already swimming!!! Next time I may also be swimming – if you can’t beat them…)

Out the water and onto the bikes, about two minutes down on the leaders (again) and it was time to see how the legs felt 7 days after a hard half. As I exited transition I was next to Keegan, with Rebekah a few metres ahead and Lisbeth just behind… Everyone must have thought we were all working together in the swim, but I actually had no idea where they were in the swim!

I got into my rhthym on the bike in the first 15km, which was about the only flat section on the ride. I was already passing a few guys and was overtaken by one or two (including Thomas Hellreigel), but I felt okay and made sure I was eating and drinking according the plan. I saw Chris McCormack with a punture on the first hill, and that was his race done. After about 50km a group of 3 caught up to me, including Luke Dragstra and Stefan Liebetrau. We stayed together until the final 10km when Stefan and myself moved ahead a bit.

I had a really fast T2 time (2nd fastest of the day!) which must be because Rebekah convinced me not to wear socks, and headed out on the run in 11th place, 5mins behind 2nd place. (First place, home-town boy Sebastian Kienle, was 13mins ahead by now after a monster bike leg, and not even worth thinking about.) I was feeling good and started winding it up. Macca was standing road-side now and watching the race with all the passion of a true fan, and he shouted to me that I was looking better than anyone and must keep pushing. Before the end of the first lap (7km) I had already pulled in about 5 places and over 2mins on 2nd place, and was still feeling good. Again I passed Macca and this time he shouted, ‘If you keep pushing you will get 2nd place!’. Good to know. And even better to have a World Champ shouting encouragement to you. Thanks mate!

Needless to say, I kept pushing. At the start of the final lap I caught and passed 3rd place, confusing the lead mountain bikers enough to bring a smile to my face. With about 5km to go I caught 2nd place, Raynard Tissink. He was not enjoying his day, but had the energy to compliment my run and hold on for 4th. Well done for sticking it out on a tough day, Ray.

I finished in 2nd place in 4h02:17 and the fastest run-split of the day (by almost 3min30!) in 1h12:45. It was my first race in the new Avia Avi-Bolt II’s and, well, my run split speaks for itself…

Congrats to teammates, Rebekah and Lisbeth, getting nice one-two for TeamTBB in the ladies race. And to Keegan, for finishing after a bad day in the office. TeamTBB seems to have good results all over the globe this weekend, so well done to all the team members who raced and recorded good results. If we weren’t before, TeamTBB is on the radar!

Three weeks until Ironman Austria in Klagenfurt and I can’t wait! Stay tuned…

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