My first Blog for TriathleteTribe thanks for asking me Fella’s hopefully I’ll be able to keep some of you Tri Geeks out there in the Triathlon World entertained.
I’m half English half Kiwi… living in Mainz, Germany (what happened there???) but I also live in Christchurch, New Zealand and a few other places too. I do a bit of Triathlon, a bit of Physiotherapy and a bit of Coaching and a lot of hanging out. Anyway I’ll bore you with stuff about me in a future Blog…
I don’t tend to write standard ‘Race Reports’ or ‘Training Diaries’… you can find this in plenty of other Blogs and Websites.
I like writing about what’s out there and what no body seems to pay attention too… but I think people are far more interesting than ‘Av Power Readings‘.
Thought I’d kick off with my race report of Challenge Copenhagen.
Ah yes Challenge Copenhagen... 3 weeks ago now but here's the official race report... I think this will be quite a Cathartic Experience for me... and I hope an amusing an insightful one for you ;-).
I drove up to Copenhagen from Mainz feeling pretty fit, pretty skinny and looking forward to a fast race... I wouldn't say I was in my best shape… there’s a lot of distractions here in Germany ;-)… but a sub 9 was on the cards. Although the first thing that Coach said to me was that I looked fat compared to him!?? Cheers Coach! Ha Triathletes are messed up man J!
Went to the 'Radisson Blue Hotel' for the Race Briefing, however they told me it wasn't THIS Radisson Blue Hotel but another one 3K away... shit! So I had to do a nice 'Pick-Ups' running session to get to the other hotel in my Jeans and Chucks... Got there sweating quite a bit but happy that my legs felt pretty good and thought that would do as my 'taper' run for the day… hmmm may be I should race in my Converse???
The rest of the time was spent sitting in cafe's watching the folk of Copenhagen go about their business... everyone on bikes... funny seeing people in 'full clubbing gear' cycling to a night out on the town chicks riding in their high heels... Genius!
So onto the race. The start was at 'The Beach' 10K from town... I remember some of the Danish guys telling me it was really nice at The Beach... hmmm??? Well it was grey and wet and a 'Northern Euro Beach'... there was a bit of sand knocking around and salty water but that was about it... heee?!?! It wasn't Mt Maunganui or Noosa anyway L… No Surf and not a Flat White to be found anywhere… what’s up with that???
And of course it was raining... the worse rain and storms that Denmark had ever seen apparently... TOP marks for the Challenge Guys who spent all night dealing with a multitude of problems such as the Transition area flooding out and all the swim buoys getting swept away.
So into the swim... Sweet it was good! Got onto some guys feet and sat there the whole swim... would of been better if there was a bunch of us but the guy lost some feet he was following so it was just me and him. He would of had a hard race swimming into clear water for nearly the whole swim, I felt kind of guilty but he should of 'sat up' if he wanted me to come through?? All I had to do was focus on the bubbles to stay on his feet... this really does help to keep your focus when racing, time flies by AND DRAFTING in the swim is soooooo important for an optimum race... I think a lot of age-groupers are training to be synchronised swimmers rather than triathletes???... It's not about looking pretty in the pool... get ugly, get moving, get on those feet and stay there! Simple!
Finished in 54:45... a PB J Coach was pissed as I put 3 minutes into him... (I told you Coach that Gemmell said I was swimming well!) you need to put some weight on Bro!
Set off on the bike through the rain... The Spanish guy I was drafting in the swim over took me... he was going pretty hard judging by how his shoulders were moving... so I thought yeh! You can have it Bro... I sat in behind him... and 'Legally drafted' his ass J... We then caught Jimmy ('Little Danish‘) Johnson who had just fixed a puncture... and then Coach caught us at about the 30K mark... Serrrrrweeet I thought this is perfect! We formed a nice little pace line and started reeling in people. Yes folks remember Triathlon is a 'Draft Legal' sport... because even the 10 metre rule still gives you a Heart Rate 5 - 10 beats lower... I was keeping my distance even further as I defo didn't want a drafting penalty like Roth last year.
Yep... so it was all sweet until about 90K when I got a flat... Scheeeeisssseeeeeeee!!!! OK Kein Ding I thought... no probs... got my 'Pit Stop' thing and started to mess around with valves and shit and all that messing around you do when trying to fix a flat... tyre seemed to go up J... and then seemed to go down L... OK try again... this time let the tyre spin to let the 'Pit Stop' gunk fix the puncture... wait... wait... be fricking PATIENT Pauli! Just ignore those guy's cycling past you very fast... Wehey!!! I've got it up! A little limp but it'll do ;-)... Off I went feeling very proud of my on road repairs... now to go and catch those bugga's who wouldn't wait for me!
There were many punctures that day... Denmark has lots of 'Flint Stones' on the road which are as sharp as glass and when it rains they all come up to the surface. I had my bestest tyres on for puncture resistance... and I have never punctured on them before... first time for everything?? Seeing other people on the side of the road raised some mixed emotions in me from 'Poor Bleeder' to 'Ha! One more Loser less to worry about...' heeee ;-)
Then after 10K I got my second flat... front tyre completely shredded! I was going to throw in the towel there and then but... I had another spare (I came prepared as I knew what Danish Roads were like) and I knew people around the World would be watching and I didn't want to let the folks in NZ and OZ go to bed yet…!
So I pulled into a big crowd of spectators... thought they can help me... but Danish people are very reserved. They sort of surrounded me as if I was an alien that had crash landed and just stood and stared... some of them gazing and poking at my spacecraft / bike which I had fallen to earth on.
Changing the tubbie was a bit of a struggle... I like to glue them on HARD! There was a 'Gasp' from the crowd as I finally summoned up all my inner strength and ripped that bad boy off... throwing the dead tyre to the floor like a triumphant Gladiator...
This one chick had a Track Pump... Sweet! Get pumping I told her... 'Am I allowed to help??'... she replied? 'YES...! because I said so... I'm like a triathlete and from New Zealand and shit...' I told her... now pump... PUMP like the wind! little Danish woman... she did but she was Rubbish L?? so I told her to go away and got a lad to take over... he was much better J By now everyone was helping and they sent me off on my bike with a cheer and round of applause... Oooo loverly Danish folk J...
But now I had lost another 10+ minutes... and worse I had to do the rest on my own. Loosing the plot a little and with the added adrenalin I was just going for it... Passed Ain Ahar like he was going nowhere (though I think he was having a tough day too) thought hmm... I could pay for this... I'm not following any of my advice I would give to people about 'Optimum Ironman Performance' but I had to risk it I wanted to go under 9 hours.
Finally got off the bike in 04:55... pretty fast giving 15 - 20 minutes worth of puncture time... too fast may be???
But I set off on the run feeling not too bad and feeling fast... waiting for that first K marker to get a split... dam... where is it? I must be going too slow better speed up... no still not there??? There it is 1.5k... WTF?!? Then the next marker was 3.2k or something like that... hmm that was a bit confusing… was I going delirious already?? They said there would be 1k markers... every ermmmm… 1k…? Oh well keep going.
Then I saw the Spanish guy and Bex Keat and others I had been cycling with 6+K ahead of me... this is the most difficult thing to deal with when your mind is playing all those mental games with you... Dam! This could have been soooo much better... but have to stay focused... stop thinking about them... 'Stay on Target... Stay on Target...!'
The first 10K was good though... crowds were awesome and I was keeping up a steady 04:00 km pace... picking my way through the field I think I got up to about 12th place sweet! With a big Pro field this was cool J. Then I thought 'Shit' I need to walk...?? It was too early to start feeling such things... Dam it! Keep going... walked a few aid stations... ran on a bit, breathing was getting far too laboured when I was running... like a car radiator overheating I kept having to walk to cool it down L. Then I started to need a poo... Eeek never had to do that in an IM race before!?!? Stopped at a cafe but there was a cue (being in the middle of the city meant I couldn't just squat down a la Paula Radcliffe (My Hero)... no even I wasn't able to summon up those mighty powers of 'no-shame' not with an audience of 1000 spectators... plus the race organisers said it wasn't allowed). The next aid station was too far off... so I had to go back to the last aid station and find the toilet there... and YES... I needed it.
Feeling 5kg lighter I thought I would carry on and headed off again... but I had no clue now what was going on having messed around trying to find a toilet and had walked backwards along the course… I was in a serious state of delirium… I started to have to walk again and then I decided to DNF. Bugga! I couldn't be bothered with another Challenge Roth as it was virtually the same as happened there, fek! The Finish line looked like such a great party too! L
So what went wrong?
· Obviously two punctures loosing 15-20 minutes.
· Loosing the bunch in the bike.
· Going too hard trying to 'chase a time'. I always tell age-groupers not to worry about aiming for a time. If you are going at the appropriate intensity during an IM race... but your splits are coming in slower than your target times... you can not increase your intensity / speed to make a time... you just blow otherwise and end up walking as I did.
· Although I was fit enough for the race to go under 9 hours my training hours had been limited to around 15 hours most weeks... not enough to have the reserves to fall back on when something goes wrong like two punctures.
· The mental energy and adrenalin I had used fixing the flats meant I had little mental strength left to push myself when times got hard on the run... with 10K to go it could have been possible but not with over 20K to go.
· After the swim the race organisers said that the sea was unfit to swim in... nice, but that couldn't be helped with the weather. Many people had stomach issues. My first poo in an IM race couldn't of helped matters. I need to harden my stomach up to European pollution it's got soft in the clear waters of NZ... may be I need to go and hang out in My Dirty Old Home Town of Birmingham for a bit???
· Racing 4 seasons in a row... Northern and Southern Hemispheres takes it's toll and I think I was getting tired.
I have to say it was a great race and bigs up to Kim, Felix and the whole of the Challenge Crew for putting it on, it's well worth doing if you're contemplating an Iron Distance race next year... just pack your bestest Tyres!
Great work to all my fellow athletes out there... especially Coach for coming 8th and Jimmy J 6th despite getting 3 punctures (he could of won????).
Sorry to everyone watching... there and on the net for not seeing me finish, it was a shitter... but at the end of the day I'm just grateful to have been there racing in such a great place thanks so much for your support. I'm already looking forward to a fun packed year... and some races too of course!
So it's time for a bit of RandR... what I do best ;-)... time to take it easy and get stronger again.