First race of Croatian triathlon season was held past Saturday on a beautiful island of Korcula. This was the birthplace of Marco Polo so the race is called Marco Polo Challenge. The main race was in olympic distance, draft legal format and the race had a status of Croatian club championship.
Race morning was warm and windy with sea temperature around 17-18C. The swim went well for me. I had to close a few gaps at the start but after that I was cruising along in the second pack. First pack of 3 guys had 1:40 min advantage at the end of the swim and there was one more guy between two groups.
As I said in previous post, I haven’t raced draft legal race for almost two years. Besides that I don’t practise transitions which showed in T1. In addition to taking a bit too much time to get out of the wetsuit I started the bike like I was in an ironman. When I realized the bike group already formed about 10s in front of me I finally woke up. Luckily, it wasn’t too late as I managed to catch them after a few kilometers of hard riding.
Half way through the bike we got within 40 seconds of the leaders. I was almost certain we’ll catch them before T2. But things turned a bit in the second half and they extended their lead to about 1:10 min. We worked hard but we were not fluent enough. Small gaps within the group would often appear and that slows you down.
After another slow transition I started the run towards the back of our group. Everyone started the run hard, but luckily the finish line is not after the first 500m. After 1km I passed everyone from our bike group and soon after two guys from the front group came into view. By the turnaround point I was already in second position and the leader (Bajai) was not too far ahead.
After the turnaround the race flow changed a bit. Fellow Ironman Dejan Patrcevic caught me and we run together for the next few kilometers. Eventually he managed to get away so I finished the race in 3rd position. Hungarian Bajai won and Dejan came second. My club got Croatian championship title.
This was probably the most competitive race in Croatia in the past few years so I’m satisfied with my performance. I can’t wait for non drafting races to start.
Few more photos: