Last weekend I raced Ironman Austria 70.3 which was one of my major races for this season. We (me and two friends) had a hard time finding accommodation. Everything in the radius of 30 km was full a couple of months before the race. That’s one of the reasons we arrived on Saturday, one day before the start. We managed to find a room in a village about 20km from St. Polten. Saturday was pretty stressful with the 4,5 hour drive and a lot of time spent waiting in rows under the hot Austrian sun.
The race grew significantly this year with 2400 applied competitors (compared to last year’s 800). The PRO field was stacked with stars. Overall there were around 55 male PRO competitors and around 25 female PROs.
There was a pontoon start for the PROs . As usual I had a bad start and had to work my way up through the first part of the swim. At one point I had to bridge the gap on the group ahead of us and I managed to do that with a little help from another competitor. In the middle of the swim there was 300m run between two lakes. It was great from the spectators point of view, but not so much for competitors. It’s not easy to run hard in your wetsuit after the hard swim. All the time I thought that I had a slow swim, but actually I can be pretty satisfied with it. I exited the water in the second group, around 2 minutes down on the lead group.
The bike course was tougher than I thought. There were two large hills. One 4 km long and the another one 8 km long. About 10 minutes into the ride a large group passed me. We started picking up competitors in front of us so the group became larger as the time passed. At one point Michael Weiss came by and went to the front of the group. Pace increased quite a bit but I was still riding within my comfort zone. The problems started when I lost focus for a second and my gap increased from 10 to 20 meters. For the next 5-6 minutes I was riding 46-47 km/h (with slight headwind) and I couldn’t bridge the gap. We were approaching the first hilly section so I was hoping that I’ll catch them there. Once on the hill I passed Eva Dolinger and the lead women, Lucie Zelenkova. I also caught one Danish guy and the two of us rode the rest of the course together. On our way into second transition we caught two more guys. Overall it was pretty good ride for me. Too bad I lost the group in the beginning.
The run is usually my strongest discipline. I was hoping that we haven’t lost too much time to the group ahead so I could improve my placing. Before the race I was confident that I could run sub 3:40 min/km. I didn’t feel too good at the start of the run but I was hoping to get better later in the race. In the first lap I was holding the pace close to one I planned, but in the second lap I faded a lot. I lost motivation and just held 4 min/km until the end.
I was hoping for a lot better overall time, but considering this was my first race of this format this wasn’t too bad also.
You can find the results here: results