This past weekend I had triathlon season opener on Austrian 1/2 Iron triathlon race not far away from Graz.
The swim course was located on a small lake near Slovenian border called Rocksee. I had another bad swim start and it took some time until I got out of mess. By that time two guys broke away at the front and I was now leading the chase. The rest of the swim was uneventful. One guy beat me on the exit so I was 4th out of the water. Leading duo was almost two minutes in front and first bigger group was 1 minute behind us.
Soon after climbing on the bike I moved into 3rd and drove alone until 20km mark when Austrian Ironman champion Andreas Fuchs caught me. I expected this to happen as I knew he had some 4.30h bike splits in Ironman events. The plan was to stay with him for as long as possible. But the plan was short lived as he started to pull away on one downhill section. It was non-technical, straight downhill and I was caught under-geared (my biggest gear was 53×12). From there on he slowly gained time on me. Shortly thereafter I caught the swim leader and moved back into 3rd position. During the second lap I kept loosing focus. I was riding alone and couldn’t see anyone in front or behind me. My thoughts started to wander and when that happens I know I’m not riding hard enough. Anyway, I thought I was having a decent race until I saw a group of 5 guys less than a minute behind and then some negative thoughts started to set in. They caught me just before the transition line.
I had excellent second transition and felt very good on the start of the run. At that point Fink was running in second place 4,5 minutes in front of me and the leader Balazs Czoke from Hungary was out of reach. On the first out and back section (maybe 7km into the run) I was 2.20 minutes behind Fink and started to believe I could catch him. The gap kept shrinking and I finally caught him with 5km to go. From there on I just cruised to the finish line and crossed it with 3.48h on the clock.
As in every race there were some good and some bad things. I had the fastest run split by more than 3 minutes and finished 2nd overall. On the other hand I know I’m capable for a faster bike split. Triathlon season just started so I’ll have plenty of time to redeem myself.
Overall this was a very nice and well organized race in beautiful Austrian nature and I’ll be happy to return here next year.