Monday, 13 July 2015

July 12th 2015 Challenge Roth, Germany

3.8km Swim 180km Bike 42km Run - Temperature 84oF
Swim 62:45 - T1 02:47 - Bike 05:06:18 - T2 01:56 – Run 00:00 Total Time DNF
 000 50-54 Age Group, 0000 overall
This one is on everyone’s bucket list so I had been sharp on the keyboard to secure my entry nearly 12 months ago. I felt positively relaxed coming into the event as I had not targeted it as an ‘A’ race but simply wanted to experience one of the most famous long distance triathlons on the planet with one of the deepest fields outside Kona. In addition, I really wasn’t sure I would be able to complete the marathon after my foot pain had not disappeared despite extensive rest since Staffordshire. My normal taper had been put to one side in favour of beer, cake and generally loafing about.
The swim was in waves of about 200 athletes and somehow I had been slotted into the ‘SUB9’ wave, a massive admin error on someone’s part. It would be a very different race for me as I would be at the front from the start, not clawing my way through the field after an average swim. The banks of the canal were packed with many of the spectators staking out the prime spots from 0500. I will admit to feeling a little intimidated at being in the first wave and whilst normally I would have plonked myself on the front line, I opted to start at the back as all these guys would be strong swim/bike/runners, way ahead of me. With the sound of the canon ringing in my ears I set off but at a steady pace rather than the usual red lining anaerobic sprint. After about 500m I was amazed to discover that not only was I passing people but the head of the wave was only about 30m in front and I was still swimming steady. And so it was, about the easiest swim I have ever had with an occasional draft, clear swimming or perhaps a surge for the next set of feet up ahead. I knew sub 65 minutes would put me in the mix so when I saw 62 and change I was very pleased. I exited the water in 10th place in the age group.
T1 and T2 were fantastically organised and the volunteers superbly drilled, it doesn’t get much better. Quickly onto my bike and ready to tackle the bike course. It is billed as an uber fast bike course but actually, whilst the road surfaces are excellent, it really rolls, taking in 1500m of elevation over the two laps. I got the first lap under my belt in exactly 2:30 but really didn’t feel as though I had held back so I resolved to pedal easier on the second, capping my HR and power lower down. The second lap was 2:36 and I felt much better as I approached T2. Off the bike in a total of 06:14 and in third place, 13 minutes behind the leader.
I was increasingly sure my foot wasn’t going to function but I was determined to have a go until it either exploded or I could run the soreness off. I gingerly
clipped off the first 4k which was effectively the point of no return. Going by past results sub 9:30 would put in the mix for the win so if I could pull of a 3:15 then I could bag the win……and now I am in the world I wudda, shudda, cudda because it easy to say if only. At 8.5k the shooting pains returned in my foot and I struggled to even walk with a limp, it was game over rover. It would have been folly to try and carry on and risk my injury turning chronic and wrecking my chances at the two world champs I have later in the year. Only my second DNF, the last time was in a duathlon nearly ten years ago. I don’t consider myself a quitter but right now it doesn’t feel good. Have I made it alright to quit and put a small chink in my mental armour? I will have to wait until Austria to find out.
In the meantime I have an MRI booked on the 14th and hopefully will get a diagnosis and rehab programme on the 16th. Finger crossed it’s not a fracture or anything requiring extended rest, I need to get cracking!
By the way, the event awesome, put it on your list  !

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