I’ve spend another weekend in Belgium. This time I was racing Antwerpen half-Ironman. I had a great home stay in down town Antwerpen. The weather was also quite good. It was excellent actually, except for a couple of hours of rain and wind. That brief period of bad weather came in the worst possible moment, before and during the race.
In the week prior to the race I had a lot of work which left me quite tired. On the other hand I had some very good training sessions so I was still hoping for a good result. The field was very competitive with around 40 registered male PROs.
As mentioned above, the day started with the rain so once I got to the start area I was soaking wet and cold. I warmed up a bit when I put my wetsuit on. Trough the entire swim I was trying to find my stroke and exited the water about a minute slower than usual, three minutes behind the lead guys.
The cycling leg was mostly on the highway. It was almost completely flat, with quite a bit of train track crossings. They were covered with the carpet, but still I saw a couple of falls on those spots. I was riding with the lead group of woman. I’m usually faster than them so I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t shake them off. Maybe the aero equipment benefits increase in conditions like this (wind), so I payed the price for the lack of the equipment. In the last couple of kilometers I got my first penalty ever. I’m still not sure why. Maybe the referees saw something that I wasn’t aware of. Still, I’m quite satisfied with 40 km/h average speed considering very unfavorable conditions.
The running course was set up in the down town Antwerpen. From the start of the run I was feeling something in my left knee. Fortunately it didn’t get worse during the race and I don’t think it slowed me down much. I didn’t feel good, but who can feel good 3 hours into the race? All the time I was thinking I’m having a terrible race so I was pleasantly surprised with the end time of 4:06.
Overall, it was a very good race. The bike course is mostly on the highway and surrounding area is far from beautiful. But on the other hand it’s completely flat and fast. Running trough the down town Antwerpen was a lot nicer. There were quite a bit of spectators. Too bad for the rain, otherwise the overall impressions would be even better.