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Archive for September, 2012

EPIC Leadman …truly epic

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

On saturday I raced my first Leadman Tri race. The name “Leadman” is derived from one of the most famous ultra distance run races in the world, the Leadville 100. But instead of running a 100miles, the Leadman tri consists of a 5k swim , 223k bike, 22km run. Which is a total of 250 km. And here we go.  Epic Leadman 250.

But it is not just the distances that makes a race epic. I think in this case, it was as much the unusual weather conditions (3°C at start of race, 26°C at end of race) we faced, the riding at altitude (around 1500m) , the winds, the cold water (15°C), the tough bike course with some solid climbing and the super hilly run course. And lets not forget the amazing scenery at Cultus Lake during the swim, around Mt.Bachelor during the bike and around Bend during the run. I love all of it, even if there is a few points the organisation has to get better at. But the race was held for the first time in Bend, so we can expect they will sort this issues out till next year.

the race itself went well for me. I knew it will be a big challenge to beat Jordan Rapp (the current Ironman US Champion and Ironman Texas winner). He has a great year and I think he will go very well in his first attempt at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

I was out of the water in second, right behind Bryan Rhodes. The swim was way too short. A mistake that should not happen to the race organisation, but I am sure it wont happen again.  I took my time in transition to put a lot of clothes on. As coming out of 15°C water and facing 3-4°C outside temperature is not what you normally deal with in a triathlon race. Once on the bike I put even more clothes on (armwarmers, gloves, extra jacket). For the first time I was using those hand/foot warmers you normally use for skiing. you shake them and they get warm.

The cold lasted for about 1 – 1.5hour. then it started to warm up. so it was time to peel off. All the pros were separated by several minutes by then. which made for a super lonely 223km bike ride. but that is the way I like it. everybody by himself. not a chance for drafters out there. so , if you dont like to ride solo, you better dont do this race. as you will feel lonely out there.

180km into the ride Jordan went past me. and he was looking strong. He always rides the second part of his races very strong. I knew I just have to keep going my pace. as at this time we have been out there for several hours already. He started the run 3.5 minutes in front of me. I was running hard for 10km (which was mostly uphill running). I knew Jordan is a better runner then me. but you never know what happens after 7hours into a race. once I saw Jordan is not gonna blow up, I settled in for second and took a bit of speed out. as I was still about 12mins in front of the guy running in 3rd.

I finished after 8h16mins on 2nd place. Congrats to Jordan for another win in his already great 2012 season.

rain man

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

My good friend Luke McKenzie once called me the “rain man”. As every race  I showed up it seemed to rain. Not a good thing for me, as I dont like cold and wet races at all. My body just does not function the same way in those conditions.

But the last 2 weeks showed it once more. Freezing cold and rainy conditions at Voralberg Triathlon. A great revival race in Austria. In the 90′s it was famous for being one of the toughest triathlon events out there. Then it disappeared and now, about 10 years later, it is back there. And I can say, it still is a real tough challenge. The distances changed a bit. it is now a 1.2km swim / 102km bike / 12km run. But the bike course starts in Bregenz and ends up in the mountains. in the ski resort of Lech. which means, the course is super hilly and towards the end you climb up a 15km mountain pass. Followed by a 12km trail run up at altitude. I got off the bike in second, but due to wet and cold conditions, my back was completely locked up. I nearly didnt get up those mountain trials. I finished 4th at end. which was ok after a big week of training.

Only 6 days later I was on the start line in one of the european classic half distances. The Gerardmer XL triathlon. A challenging half distance race in the Vosges mountains. I ended up racing in the coldest conditions I have ever raced in. the temperature dropped down to 6°Celsius. Conditions I think more of jumping on my snowboard then jumping in a mountain lake …. well, it was the same for everybody. so why complaining. and like my TBB team mates, I made sure I covered myself up in as much warm clothes as possible. which ended in the slowest transitions times ever. I was out of the water with the lead pack, but lost 1minute on them in the transition. so it took me a while to catch them again. After 90km I ran out of transition in 3rd place. I showed improved running form, but it was not good enough to hold of a flying Dave Dellow. At least DD and I didnt end up in a sprint finish this year.

Now this period of training races is over. it is not always easy to go to a race knowing you are absolutely flat from the training you have done in the days before. But when you finish still strong, then you know, it will be so much easier once the legs are a bit more recovered.

I am looking forward to race the epic Leadman Triathlon in Bend,Oregon on September 22 now. The distances look very interesting. A 5km swim / 223km bike / 22km run. It will be a different challenge in an amazing area. I cant wait to explore it and give my very best on race day.

M