Yo, whatz hattnin? hope all good with you guys. i am doing too. just got back from Europe where i did Switzerland 70.3 and Luxembourg 70.3 and a bit of training in between. all in all, i am happy how the trip turned out. I don’t know what it is but every time i go to Europe, the weather is just bad lol.
Anyway, i got into Switzerland 2 days prior to the comp, and gawdamn, that lake was cold. I know Lake Zurich since my childhood, in June it is never especially warm. The lake on race day measure just a tad below 15C which for me living here is very unusual. but i sucked it up and did it. The starting procedure also was not very clear as there was no gun shot and the guys just went off. So i lost precious meters in the beginning of the swim already and had to claw back through the field. I thawed up about 30k into the bike and started warming up a bit and felt good after that.
Nevertheless, no shame in it, i got chicked so hard by Daniela Ryf, who just got down from St Moritz for the race and is already in tip top shape. Had a good run and in the end took 14th in a new PB on the mountaineous technical course. nothing spectacular, but nothing bad either.
The day after i travelled to St Moritz to train for 10 days with my buddy Jan van Berkel and later Patrick Lange joined us as well. Really great scenery and a change of air to fill up the batteries between races and train. We had a great time together and i enjoyed the sessions very much.
From there i drove directly to Luxembourg for the 70.3. quite a long drive i must say. Luxembourg 70.3 as every year is also our national long distance championship, where i tried to defend my title after winning it in 2015 and 2013. had a couple of press thingies before the race, which was great because it takes the heat off a bit and gives you something else to do other than just mooch around.
Due to the heavy rain recently, the river Moselle was completely flooded and the swim was cancelled. Actually, looking at the bike and the run course, that was in my favor. but in the end a race is a race no matter what or who is on the line.
This year, the FLTRI, our triathlon federation, has decided to give the national championship a bit more of a face and recognition and therefore decided to let the national Elite start with the rest of the pros, which i think is a great idea because it motivates you to do better if you see the like of Van Lierde, Bracht, Diederen, Stein etc at the start line.
As said the swim was cancelled, so it was going to be a Duathlon 5 90 21, which turned out to be 6 90 21. That s a hard format, because of the many run kms you have to be put down in a relatively intense fashion.
Weatherwise, we had everything on the day: wind, rain, thick rain, thin rain, sun, humidity, just everything. So the gun went off at 1000 and we attacked the first run leg. Since there are many run kms to put down ( 27k ) , the trick is not to go out too hard. which it was.
i ran very comfortably in the first group at the head of the race in a 3:19 pace for the 6k and it felt very easy. onto the bike, the sorting out and the hammering began from the beginning. Downwind, the first 20k we were in the lead group of 12 and the speed was rarely below 50k per hour. Myself i also took it upon me to do some work in the lead to keep the rest of the field at bay. after 40k there are 2 consecutive climbs that sort out the men from the boys: a flattish 2k climb and straight thereafter a little steeper 3k climb. Here the field separated further. The 2 climbs for a combined 10min you will not be able to keep the group if you can’t hold 450W or more. I checked my power meter and it was between 450W and 515W at all times. In hindsight, i can say that i gain a lot of confidence from moments like these in company like that.
Bracht fell off the second climb with a mechanical ( bent chain, i think ). i kept up at the helm with Evert Scheltinga i think, and Bas, Van Lierde and my countryman Neil Peters and the rest of the gang.
At 55k, disaster struck: while going up a hill i switched ring from small to big and the chain got stuck. i had to stop and rip it up violently from its position to put it manually on the ring again. That cost me about 2min and the group of 12 was gone. So was my race and the national championship. It is little mundane things like that that actually decide a race.
But i did not panic, i accepted it and went on and tried my best to catch up with the group, but if you have to ride against a group of 12 with above mentioned great athletes, then you will lose. i lost in the end ca. 4mins to the group and kept my position and got in at 13th.
That’s sports for you right there. sometimes you win sometimes you lose. i don’t wanna use the incident as an excuse. People forget you need to be lucky to come out on top as well. I was plenty lucky in the last 6 years, so i can easily accept the fact that this time around luck was not on my side. Next time, hopefully, it will be again.
Nevertheless, i am very happy with the way i raced and behaved like a gentleman. Because you see the true colors of someone, when things don’t go as planned. Vice national champion is also an achievement that i am proud of in my palmares.
Congratulations to Neil Peters, who really had a good race and performed great. Also congrats and well done to Christian Krombach, who rounded off the podium. Fellas, it was a great and fair fight. Also big up to the rest of the Luxembourg Elite crew: Eric Wagner, Paul Bentner, Tom Krier, Dany Papi, Steve Moog, Thierry Dondelinger, Jerome Ewen, Philippe Lamberty who unfortunately missed out on the race because of a virus. Get well soon. Big congrats to the ladies and well done to Danielle Flamang, Jil Gloesener and Paule Kremer.
Big thanks to my wife for letting me travel and train, and to my Dad for support and splits along the course, the FLTRI team around Chris Krombach and Patrick Thill for giving the National Championship a face and recognition. It was a great event, i think it is safe to say everybody enjoyed it big time despite the shit weather.
See you next year. Booyah.