As said before I had some leg problems going into the race. The condition was getting better every day and on the race morning I felt like I would be able to run a good marathon.
The race was held in Calella, a small tourist town 50km north of Barcelona. There are not many tourists left in this time of the year and the weather is a bit milder than during the summer. There was not a cloud in the sky during my stay there, daily temperatures were around 27-28C and sea temperature was around 22C. Finally a race for which I don’t have to pack a jacket.
The start was scheduled for 8.30am which made for a more relaxing morning. We swam one big lap along the beach. My swimming is not where it used to be last year so I had very modest expectations for the opening leg. Those expectations proved to be right and I exited the water with 8min gap to the leaders and 4-5 min to the big chase group.
Things got better once I reached mainland. We had 3 loop bike course (2 big and 1 small loop) along Costa Brava. The surface is excellent and it’s almost completely flat. I felt very good on the bike and passed a lot of people early on. After one hour I was already at 42km mark. That’s the pace for 4.17h bike split, so probably a bit too fast. Stefan Riesen was with me for a while and except for that I was on my own. I covered the first half in 2.11, still an excellent pace. In the second half of the ride wind started to pick up. Costa Brava means “windy coast” in Spanish so that was not unexpected. Somewhere towards the end of the 2nd loop I caught a big group with most of the pre race favorites. I tried to break away but couldn’t do it so I decided to sit in and save something for the run. At the end I had second fastest bike split (4.29h).
I was in an excellent position in T2. Only Alonso, Bayliss and Blokhin were ahead of my group. But, from there on things turned south once again. First few steps in T2 indicated that my race is going to end sooner than I planned. I was hoping the pain would eventually ease up but it was getting worse after each step. After 5km of limping I decided to call it a day.
DNF leaves a bitter taste but my confidence went up after this race. I’m getting closer to the front and I’m looking forward to the next season.