After not finishing at Vineman a few weeks back due to my hip playing up again, I was ready to make another go at a shorter race, or a 70.3, that was going to have a good field of athletes. Enter the European 70.3 Championship.
It’s been a long time between visits to Europe and I can certainly say that I’ve missed being here, not to mention that the Europeans know how to put on a show and look after their participants. Last time I was back here was in 2011 where I defended my Challenge Copenhagen title. What fond memories I have from those two wins.
Looking at my current schedule and placings, I didn’t feel any pressure as my ticket to Kona was already locked in as well as having Peter Robertson, aka Robbo, heading there.
Something that worked for me was the fact that we stayed a fair distance away from the course which ensured we’d get some decent work in without all the hype and noise you sometimes get from big races. On a lighter note, lets just say the autobahn is quick. Having a change of scenery was also really enjoyable.
Going into the race I had a fair idea of who was going to be the top performers on the day, including, Robbo and Bart.
The swim start was a little different than usual as it had two swim sections, or loop, which you had to leave the water and then re-enter again. I felt that my swim was fairly good and exited with the main group. The first, of two laps, I was sitting on the back and hoping to not be dropped. Once we exited onto the second lap, I felt that things started to settle down a little and I slowly made my way to the front of the main group. I exited the swim in 8th place in 22:47.
Heading out on the bike and within the first 10km I watched a few guys fly past me. The course was fairly demanding with fairly big climbs and fast descents – which one athlete ahead of me had crashed in front of me and I nearly become the second casualty. I entered T2 in 6th place with a time of 2:28:42 and average speed of 36.31km/h.
I was heading out of T2 with Robbo and we were both swamped with guys running past us. I was now feeling a little sluggish and in the back of my mind I thought “this is game on.” To give you an idea, the run was very up and down dirt track, kind of something that you’d find in a park which I found really enjoyable. I completed the run in 1:14:57 with an average in 3:33/km.
Overall I’m really happy to have finished in the top 5 in 4:10:07.
I’m now heading back to Boulder, Colorado, with next stop is the 70.3 World Championship in Canada.