So I owe you a few blogs from the last few weeks – it’s been a busy time! First up, a re-cap of Challenge Roth.
Challenge Roth was again a major focus for my season – as defending champ I very much wanted to have a good performance there against a quality field, and set myself up for a good second half of 2013. After a bike crash early in the year and a poor performance at Ironman South Africa, I felt I was back on track at Ironman Texas, but needed to prove to myself (and others) that 2012 was no fluke.
I travelled up with Stephen Bayliss and was welcomed to my usual homestay – the von Hardenburg’s were, as always gracious hosts and I feel like part of the family as soon as I walk in the door. After the pre-race festivities, including the normal pasta party and less-normal (for me anyway) lederhosen, it was down to business for race day.
I had a good swim – unlike last year the pack was broken up early by some strong swimmers, but I was able to stay with the ‘main pack’ with only a few guys up the road. One of those guys was Dirk Bockel, and halfway through the first lap, he was the only one still hanging out up front, about 2-3min ahead. Timo Bracht then flatted, and Konstantin Bachor took the pace up a notch (or three!). It wasn’t long before the chase pack was only 3 strong, and not much after that it was only Bachor, with myself and Markus Fachbach falling off his pace.
Into T2 and out the other side Bachor was up the road (as he was in 2012) and Bockel was in front of him. Having had no splits for the second half of the bike, I was astonished to hear Bockel was a full 11mins in front of us. At my current fitness, a 4h23 bike split was all I had, especially with no real group for much of it, so I won’t beat myself up about that and simply bow to Bockel’s excellent 4h15 split.
However, the race wasn’t over, and even 11mins can disappear quickly if the wheels fall off, so I set about putting myself in a position where if the wheels did fall off I could take advantage, and if they didn’t I would not have anyone behind me to worry about. I didn’t feel too great on the run and hit a few bad patches but was able to push through them all and get back to running. It’s not fun, but its good experience and lessons.
As it turns out, Bockel was having the day of dreams, and his 11mins didn’t decrease to less than 10, and even went out to over 12mins at times. I would have had to run a 2h37 or so to have been near him at the finish and while I fully think I will run that one day, I didn’t have that today. I had to be happy with 2nd, and I am. It was a good move in the right direction.
Caroline Steffen, Steve and myself celebrated Xena’s win and my second and survived the brutal drive back to Leysin where we picked up the training again for the second half of the year…