Past Sunday I took part in Challenge Walchsee over half-ironman distance. The weather was much different from the one in Vichy. It was only 7C when we arrived to Walchsee and it was also quite cold and rainy in the following day. Race day was a bit better, without rain and with 12C at the start. Chilly but ok once the gun went off. By the end of the race the sun made an appearance and we got a chance to enjoy some beautiful Alpine landscapes.
There was no UFC moves at the swim start and I found myself in a big group. I could recognize a friend who’s quite a good swimmer so I assumed we were swimming well. I worked my way up through our group and got on the feet of group leader as we rounded the first buoy. The pace felt easy but when I got out of the draft it felt much harder so I decided to conserve some energy. I got onto dry-land 3 minutes after main group. Not bad, but I had better swims.
We had two lap bike course with one bigger climb in each lap. I did fair share of work at the front during the first lap. A large group formed and a lot of guys had trouble estimating 10m distance. There were some race marshals around but they haven’t done much. If you wanted to stay clean, you could either ride at the front or behind the pack. Pace, set by Liebelt and Cigana, seemed to be good so I decided to save some energy and rode most of the second lap 10m behind the group. I went back to the front when we approached the climb so I don’t get stuck behind if someone attacks. But Cigana and 2 others managed to get away and got to T2 1 minute before us.
After once again loosing too much time in transtition I went on 4 loop run course that goes around the lake. The course is undulating and a bit longer than half-marathon. There was a sign that said “21,2 km” 300-400m before the finish line. By the end of 1st loop I passed almost all guys from the bike group. During the run only Bruno Pais passed me at the end of 3rd loop. But he was later disqualified so that doesn’t count :-). Usually on multi lap courses I get passed in later loops by people who just started the run. That didn’t happen this time which was a good sign. My run time was 1.19 h which is not bad for this course.
Going into the race I knew the competition will be tough and my goal was top10. With 10th place I met that goal. If you offered me this at the start of the season I wouldn’t be happy but considering all what happened this year this was a good result and probably the best race of the season so far. I competed here two years ago and this time I went 10 min faster. The course is the same and weather conditions were almost identical. This time would get me 5th place 2 years ago. I’m improving but so is the competition. There’s still a lot of work in front of me…