Third time lucky
On Saturday I took part in Austrian ½ Iron triathlon on Rocksee lake near Slovenian border. This was third year in a row that I compete there. So far I had two second places and I was hoping to do a little bit better this year. The organizers probably expected that as well as they gave me start number 1.
I made a mistake on the swim as I started to look after some feet too soon. This happens almost every year in early season races. I have a diesel engine and to have a good swim I need to go hard for at least first 200m and then look for some feet to follow. If I don’t do it I get stuck behind slower swimmers who can start faster than me but then slow down after 100m. Once I get around them the group in which I could swim already has a gap. They say that you can make a mistake only once, second time it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a choice. On a bright side, better to make a bad choice now than in some more important races.
I got to dryland 2 minutes behind the leader and 1:30 min behind a small group. Usually I go too hard on the start of the bike but this time I wanted to try different strategy so I went a bit easier. By the end of the first lap I was in second position with about 1 min gap to the leader. I increased the pace and found myself in the lead somewhere around 50-60 km. My countryman Koceic followed me until the hill and then I repeated last year’s scenario. It was just lead motorcycle and me for the last 20k and I got to T2 with 2 min lead.
I often have an internal dialog during races (probably a sign of going crazy). There’s one voice that tries to find a reason to slow me down and the other voice that tells me not to listen to the fool. Usually second voice gets the upper hand in those discussions but this time first one had strong arguments. It was hot and humid so I decided not to go out too hard on the run and monitor what’s happening behind me. If someone gets close then I could try to increase the pace. And if I win I could tell everyone I could have run double as fast but there was no need ;-).
In each loop we had an out and back section so after about 7k I could see what’s happening behind. German with Hungarian name Senczyszyn was about 2,5 min back and Koceic was loosing ground. Not a big lead but it felt like a comfortable one so I decided just to hold the pace. When we got to that section for the second time I still had about 2 min and with 2-3km to go I knew I had the win in my pocket unless something unusual happens. Luckily nothing like that happened and I was first across the line, Senczyszyn was second and Koceic third.
Not to sound too cocky, I’m not sure how much I had in reserve on the run. Sometimes I feel like I can go faster but when I try to do it’s just not possible.
Good and bad news often come in pairs. When I got back to Croatia I found out that my grandfather passed away so I’d like to dedicate this race to him.