After a good training block I was itching to get racing again, and in particular have a good race before heading out to Australia. I flew out early on the Friday morning giving a good couple of days to sort everything out. It was great that Will was also racing, so had lots of time with him to talk Australia tactics and some potential thoughts on next year.
All about general race prep – registering, picking up numbers and bags, getting a feel for the finish area, driving around the bike course (thanks to Will and Ben for letting me tag along!), little swim and then chilling at the hotel. Was great to bump into Kim Morrison at lunch and hear more about her great season so far and thoughts on next year.
Little spin on the bike, testing out the climb out of Wiesbaden, race briefing, short run with some strides, getting everything into the bags ready for checking into transition. Then time to navigate the split transition – although Ironman put on buses and try and make it as easy as possible, it is a bit of a hassle, and makes the day before slightly more stressful than the races where everything is in one place. The lake was looking great though, and getting everything set up got me excited for the race!
5.20am: Off goes the alarm, forcing some breakfast down (note to self – always come prepared with own Oats – hotel provided Muesli not quite the same!), getting race kit on, and heading down to the bus stop to catch the coach down to transition 1
6.00am: 30min bus trip down to transition 1 – the atmosphere definitely one of nervous tension, lots of headphones in and game faces on as people were getting ready to race. Arriving at the transition area with the sun just coming up – time to do final bike checks and get race ready (including the normal long wait for last loo stop pre gettting the wet suit on!). Was nice to be able to get in the lake for a proper warm-up, and then get excited watching the pros set off.
8.10am: And we’re off! Run, stumble, swim – frantically try and stay on some of the speedy feet around. Lots of different groups forming, could tell straight away I wasn’t feeling my absolute best swimming, but often it takes a while to settle in. Slightly odd course with some of the turns, and Australia exit at 1500m – felt on my own for most of it, but at least that gave me space to get into a rhythm.
Coming out in just over 30m – not my best swim but not terrible – time to get to work on the bike! I was very much looking forward to this course – some amazing roads and great scenery to ride through. It was pretty tough – first 30k or so was relatively flat, few rolling bits but easy to get into steady rhythm. I was wary of all the hills coming up so careful not to push too hard.
The climb just after Wiesbaden is tough – there is a hilly technical bit and then you are into the 4k steady climb up the dual carriageway. I quite enjoy climbs like that, as you can just get into the right gear and spin up. There were also lots of age group men around so people to constantly aim to catch on the way up.
The rest of the course was a lot of fun – support through the villages was amazing, and the final descent into Wiesbaden I finally felt like I found my descending demon – reaching top speed of 82kmph! Coming into the run I had no idea where I was – i hadn’t seen many girls around but was expecting there to be some ahead given my slower than expected swim.
Having done a recce of the run course I knew it was flat and shaded, a good thing considering how hot it was getting! I was hoping to really push on the run and see how fast I could go before Australia. The first of the 4 laps went well – was holding good pace, legs felt good and was feeling confident. As I came to the end of this lap Dreitz was going down to the finish – which gave a good boost of cheering and music to keep me going.
Coming into the second lap, the tummy cramps that I thought I had solved had suddenly come back with a vengeance. I kept trying to push, thinking I could maybe push through it, but I had to slow the pace massively and thought at one point I was going to have to stop to throw up. After a loo stop (where a kind spectator helped me in and out of the tri suit – it may be super aero but has not been built for getting in and out of quickly!) I felt slightly better, but was nowhere near able to push the pace. This was going to be a matter of survival. Coming into the last lap an age grouper came storming past on the run, followed by another one as I was coming into the final stages. I was praying they weren’t in my age group, but was also inwardly screaming that today my body wasn’t letting me push hard on the run. Coming over the finish line was mainly relief that I had managed to keep moving, and that it was over!
Finding out that I had won my age group was a huge relief – definitely didn’t feel like it had been my race because of the run, but was very happy with the bike split, and with mentally continuing to run to get to the finish. However still things to improve on for Australia.
Thanks to Will – for getting me from 1st 70.3 distance to European Champ in the space of a year, TrainXhale for great training platform, Precision Hydration for their great electrolyte tablets, Torq for nutrition, Walker Brothers for some super speedy wheels and everyone else who has supported.
Looking forward to the Australian adventure!