Yesterday I was racing in the famous Rothsee triathlon in Roth. As I explained in the pre-race post, the event is a triathlon party plenty of supporters, enthusiastic triathletes, amateurs, rookies and pros. The atmosphere over there is just amazing.
It was my 2nd year in a row there, and for Carlos (that also took part) was the 5th year, so we counted with some tips of the courses.
After picking up the slot, preparing the countless sticks to mark our weapons (and ourselves) and doing the last preparations in the transition area, I was ready to go to the lake to put my wetsuit on.
In the transition, I always do a similar process:
- Select and set up the gear that I want to start with
- Clip the shoes to the pedals and hold them with gums
- Stick a gel in the front part of the frame with tape
- Helmet with sunglasses and belt on the handlebar
- A Towel under the bike with my shoes, a spare gel and my headband
- Odometer in distance = 0
Once this was double check, I headed to drop my bag off in the “lockers”. Wetsuit on and 15′ before the starting I was doing the last adjustments to my goggles. Race was about to kick off. 5′ of warm up and I’m on my way to the starting chamber.
Unlike in the last races, the fastest guys are opening the event, which is much convenient for me rather to wait 4h in the shore of the lake.
Race is on. I’m Swimming in the lateral part of the bunch and trying to get the hits at the same rhythm I’m fighting to get a good position. The problem to swim with the “Top Herren” is that you have to swim fast and a battle is served.
I’m not feeling bad at all but I’ve not visual reference of the buoy. After the first turn I’m losing some strength, but addressing this to the hectic starting. From there to the end, I was more fighting to survive than to swim properly. I’m not feeling good and I want to throw up (actually I did in T1), same sensations as Zell am See last year. Out of the water with my worst time in last years, something around 25’30” or so, more than 3′ down of my pool times and with wetsuit…strange and recurrent.
Dizzy and weak, I’m walking to the tent to put my wetsuit out, and a legion of negative thoughts are rising in my head: Quit immediately, you are not enjoying and worse, having a bad time here.
Lucky me, there’s a wardrobe in my head with some motivation and spare strength that push ass into the bike.
I’m now on the Biking course, jumping and starting rolling the wheels. Still dizzy, but with a different mentally though. Some problems in the gluteus muscle but I’m deaf to soreness.
From kilometer 3 to the 42k in the bike, my attitude and sensations are totally different, is just a new race. I see a bunch of 2 guys and I’m striving to catch them up. I do after some minutes and we make a group of 3 units (without drafting and respecting the distance, for sure) and we are overtaking people. I need to be with this guys if I want to do a good bike split, thus their pace is slightly faster than me but I can hold on though. Enjoying in the uphill and getting closer to them, but losing the contact in the downhills (a room to improve, definitely). I’m with them until the 32k checkpoint, when a large downhill make me lose contact with them. I’m alone for the last 10k, but I’ve them in the skyline, so my pace is still acceptable.
T2 with a flawless jump out of the bike and ready to my favorite segment.
Shoes on, headband on, slot turned. Here we go. I’m in the Running and I the gluteus soreness has been disappeared. The crow is great, they’re shouting and cheering all the athletes, it’s a boost of motivation!
I decide to do something different: Not to check my split pace by kilometer but to run by sensations.
I’m feeling light and overtaking people easier than expected, reducing the gap with good athletes and my body is enjoying. First lap with this crazy uphill in the end and on my way to the last 5k.
I’m still without checking my pace, but I think i’m doing quite ok, thus I’m passing more and more people in the path.
In kilometer 8 I check for the first time the total time, trying to calculate a good two last kilometers and stop the clock below 2h20′. Great, I’ve buffer enough and still feeling good, so I’m going to make it. I hit the 10k in 37’57” eventually.
Crossing the line with 2h18’57” for a 71st overall and 16th age group in a high level race.
Last year I did 2h25’47’‘, so I’m happy with the improvement =)
A room to improve: The swimming. I’m not sure what’s wrong. I’m swimming at least 30”-1′ faster by 500m in the pool or without wetsuit, so something is definitely wrong with the neoprene. As an example, I swam last week the 500m in 7’35”. The pace of this olympic was more than 1′ slower by 500m. Crazy.
Moreover, last year I hit 22’51” in the swimming in the same course, and I was not as fitted as this year (at least, that’s my perception).
I’m thinking several options, like: too small wetsuit that don’t let me breath properly; to cut a part of the legs sleeves, trying to get some efficient kicking or just swim more and more with the wetsuit and try to be more use to swim with it.