Sometimes less is more
Sometimes trying new stuff on race day is simply right
Sometimes I wish I can race relaxed all times
First the numbers:
Water temperature 15.5° C
Swim 1900 m: 26.54 (1.25/100m)
Bike 90 km: 2.16.03 (39.69 km/h)
Run 21 km: 1.23.51 (3.58/km)
AG Rank: 2
Overall rank: 37
Country rank: 1
Number of participants: 2000+
I’m really happy I was able to stick to the plan and make my self a great day in the beautiful weather last Sunday in Helsingør. The main purpose was to get a triathlon race before Vansbro Triathlon two weeks later. With the mindset ”Just for fun – with a purpose” as guide I had a relaxed and very brief preparation on Saturday with ”no extras”. Just registration, race brief (during which I also prepared the transition bags, BIB-stickers etc) and a quick bike ride and check in. I rounded of with a short run around the Kronborg Castle and then took the ferry back to Helsingborg for dinner and a nice evening. I slept very well – not much anxiety before a just for fun-race as you can imagine.
For the race I was quite curious regarding some details:
- It would be my first race in the Orca race suit. I had only used it for some indoor bike sessions and a half marathon. Would I like it for swimming and then also riding 90 km and for a hot run in nice sunshine?
- It was the premiere for a longer ride and first race with the Spiuk TT helmet.
- It was the first long run in the new On running shoes (Cloudflow). I had only run 5 km in them twice before.
- I had decided to try how it is to run a half marathon without socks, i.e barefoot in the (new) shoes. I usually never run without socks, but the Cloudflow is supposed to be designed for using without socks, so I wanted to give it a try (not without doubts I must say).
- Finally – for many years I have always used a combination of water and energy gels for racing. Energy drinks works for training, but during racing my digestive system and energy drinks are incompatible. But now I had decided to try a new Swedish energy drink called Maurten.
I had a smooth start in the rolling start, even thought I identified a room for improvement the very first second of the race: I don’t have any swim goggles that stay in place when I dive in, so I jumped in feet first and lost about 5 m to the ”divers” immediately… a bit embarrassing actually. But, I stayed relaxed and enjoyed the swimming all way, it was a bit cold but no big problem. I got up easy on the pontoon and set of to transition.
There is a quite long run from exit swim to exit bike. My Garmin said 800 m of which 200 m was with the bike.
The ”bike-run” was over an uneven field, and probably that made my bottle behind the saddle shake almost out of the rack. It stayed in place about 3 km before it fell out when I rode over a bump… For a second I considered continuing without it, but since a purpose for todays race was to test Maurtens energy drink, I decided to turn around and go back for the bottle with the precious brew!
It turned out it all happened right in front of a photographer from FinisherPix 🙂
On the bike I also started taking my 32GI caffeine shots. Previously I’ve taken some before the start, but I wanted to try without caffein before start this time to stay really relaxed. The rest of the bike ride was great with one big exception: at 40 km I passed Patrik Nilsson standing at the side of the road pumping a tire… and the pros started 10 min before us…Since he also swims and rides faster than I do, it was clear to me that he had lost least 15-20 min vs the leader and Patriks race was over 😦
Where I was there certainly was no issues with drafting. I rode more or less alone for the majority of the bike leg and I actually could enjoy the scenery. Green fields, nice little villages and great views over Öresund.
T2 went smooth and I headed out for the 21 km made up by 3.5 loops around Kronborg Castle and Helsingör city centre. Great atmosphere and Åsa was able to cheer at me multiple times. She also informed that I was 4th in my AG as far as the live track data was updated. In order to be able to try Maurten sports drink on the run I carried a
0.5 l bottle for the initial 10 km. Not the standard procedure. In the beginning I had to carry it swapping between right and left hand every 2 minutes. I drank a mouth full every km and after 5 km the bottle was light enough to resist the temptation to fall down into the lower parts of the suit while running… so I could keep it stuck inside the race suit.
During the run I also use 32GI caffeine shots at 5 and 15 k.
At 13 km Joachim Philipps from Köln Tri (he turned out to be french thought) passed me and said that I had been great for pacing 🙂 I got a bit nervous – same AG?! But he turned out to be 23, and we then stayed within 50 m from each other. I passed him again and then he me, always cheering at each other.
We both pushed it a bit harder for the last kilometers and this turned out to be fruitful: I finished 2nd in my AG with 2(!) secs margin to Pablo Erat in 3rd, and Joachim won his by 17 secs :-).
With a rolling start it’s more or less impossible to know your exact position in the field, so it came as a big surprise when Åsa meet me after the finish and said that I must have passed 2nd and 3rd in my AG during the last few kilometers.
So – I summarize the 70.3 European Championship as follows:
- The Orca race suit worked great (actually I did not experience the heat that so many commented on after the race)
- The Spiuk TT helmet seems fast 🙂
- The On Cloudflow – I like!
- Running without socks is absolutely OK if I have the right shoes. I think I might have saved at least 3 secs in T2 🙂
- Maurten Sports Drink – worth turning around and going back for!
Afterwards I realized that the position as fastest swedish athlete for the day was up for grabs when Patrik punctured. I can’t say I was aware of it, I must say I would have preferred Patrik at the Pro Podium, I will say I’m a bit proud to be the one who grabbed it in Patriks absence.
And – racing just for fun sure is fun!