When I got there, the day before the race, it was raining and the temperature was around 10C which was quite a bit of a temperature shock. I haven’t felt temperature like that since April. Luckily the rain stopped over the night so we had a sunny day, but it was still a bit chilly.
The swim didn’t go according to plan. I had a bad start (and not much better middle and final part also :-)). I’ve lost some swim fitness over the summer. I exited the water in 21st place, almost four minutes down on the leaders.
The bike course had around 800m of ascent over 80km, but there were no long hills. Most of the uphills were somewhere between 500 and 1000m in length. Since I’m riding a road bike, hilly courses suit me better. On the flat sections and especially on those exposed to the wind, I was loosing time and on the uphills I was closing the gaps. During the ride wind was picking up but the conditions were the same for everyone. After 2:04h on the bike I was back in the transition area.
There’s a steep and longish downhill at the beginning of the run which really kills your legs (if they are not already dead). The course doesn’t get much easier later, it’s mostly slight up/down hills but there are a few very steep parts. At the first turnaround I saw that the leaders were not too far up the road which motivated me to run a bit faster. Overall I had a slow start, I found my legs and started running really good in the middle part and in the final kilometers I slowed a bit (probably due to lack of calories). I finished in 12th place with the time of 4:02. That time would put me in fifth place the year before and I heard they had better weather conditions that year (no wind and a bit warmer weather). The competition in Austria is getting tougher.
The victory ceremony was held the next day in the center of Saalfelden. They don’t have classical elite field here, so I ended up on the podium as a third placed in elite1 category (24-30 years). I haven’t checked my category placing before so I was pleasantly surprised.
Overall it was very nice race with a lot of fans, excellent organisation, tough competition, beautiful countryside… I would be happy to go back here next year.