The swim was amazing - dark clouds lured above us, the lake was hot (almost 24 degrees which is warm in a wetsuit). I started with the pros and 300 age groupers which was definitely an advantage. Not even one fight in the water, but I also had a hard time finding feet to draft on. Hence, ended up swimming most of the time by myself. Exiting the water, I was quite certain that I did not reach the expected goal of sub 60 minutes. Running in to T1 I asked a German about the time and he shouted "FIVE NINE" which made no sense to me until I was a few kilometers into the bike and saw that I had swam in 59.30 minutes - my best ever.
Quickly found a good and planned pace of 218 watts on the bike, legs were on fire and I overtook many athletes going around 42 km/h on the flat first 30 km. Then came the rain ... and the wind. I recall the stings of raindrops hitting my arms, but it was quite "hyggelig" and still had a good time and kept pace well. Hitting the first cobble stones in a small village and had to hold on to everything, bottles and gels which were jumping up and down. Midway through this cobbled village, I realize in horror, that the screeen for my power meter is gone. Break and start to run a few 100 meters back and a nice lady had picked it up. Chain fell off. Shit! Back on the bike and I started regaining the lost terrain again. Rain now really got bad and for the first time ever, I had to pee badly - and so I did ... 5 times in all on the bike, like a race horse. Not a big issue as the rain quickly washed everything clean. Nutrition went really well and I felt good in stomach and body.
Around 80 km, going fast downhill into a roundabout, a pony-tailed gentleman in front of me, realize that he is coming in too fast - he blocks his breaks, slides and crashes like 2-3 meters in front of me. I have the option to go over him or try to find a "soft" landing, BUM! Later in the goal area, a German guy called Marcus told me he saw me crash and said "it reminded me of a MotoGP crash" I think I was sliding like 10-12m on the wet asphalt - but to my surprise I had only little pain and only small scratches on the right elbow - pfew, lucky - keep pushing! Still heavy rain and so, like around km100 I am going at a fairly slow and controlled pace into a turn and my front wheel just disappears, without even touching the breaks. BUM again. Same elbow, but now also the hip and I hear the helmet slamming hard into the asphalt. This time I am in big pain and stay on the ground until some nice spectators come over to help. I am shaking in pain and cant even answer their question "Are you OK?" - wait, I am not OK ... not at all, but 25 years of skateboarding, you slam a lot. So back on the bike. Now the elbow is bleeding badly and its painful to be in the aerobars on the bad asphalt and going over bumps, so I took a painkiller, which relieved the pain slightly.
Finally, 5 km before T2, the disaster completes itself, as I have a rear wheel flat. I cut up the tubular with a small cutter, but struggle too long to get the tubular off - it´s glued so hard. This was probably the moment where I gave up the fight, be it wrong or be it right. But struggling 5-6 minutes with the tire, I could see that this was just not my day. So rolled down to T2, changed and started the 42 km run.
|Andy Raelert Crashing in the same corner at 10 km/H|
I can only say I was not too motivated, now this was my 4th Ironman (St. George, Zurich & Calella) in a row, where I was not doing too good - but at least I wanted to take some lessons on running and nutrition. Must admit it was harder than expected to maintain the planned 4:40 min/km pace, maybe slightly due to pains after the crashes. With 10 km to go, I could see that I could probably sub the 10 hours if I kept a pace just around 5:00 min/km. And so I did, finally finishing in 9:55, around 4 minutes from my personal best.
Good mood though - you win some and you loose some. Motivation is already back!
Cheers - Thomas