Past weekend I raced ITU Long Distance Tri Duathlon World Championship. Cold and wet European spring affected a lot of recent races and the race in Belfort was not an exception. Swim was canceled and the race format changed into a duathlon 9,5km run – 87km bike – 20km run. I’ve only done one classic distance duathlon (10-40-5km) before and I remember cramps in both quads and both hamstrings all at the same time. But that was 5 years ago when I was just starting out so something similar shouldn’t happen this time. At least I hoped so.
Previous race in Barcelona filled me with confidence and I saw swim cancellation as I chance to get a really good result. The bike course was similar to that in Barcelona which suited me perfectly. So, I decided to take the risk, try to stay with the front group on the first run and hope for the best in the rest of the race.
Initial pace on the run felt comfortable but after 3-4km it started to feel a bit too hard. After some yo-yoing off the back of the group I let them go just before 5km mark. Not long after, Toft and Bockel caught me and I run with them until T1.
The temperature at the highest point of the course was 6C with high chance of rain so I lost some time putting some extra clothes. Bockel got away there and I exited transition just behind Toft. Unfortunately, once my legs started working he was already out of sight.
I passed a couple of guys in the first part of the bike and Estrangeiro was the only one who followed the pace. Considering bike course profile and hard run we had to do before, I was expecting to see a lot of athletes from the front group once we get on the climb to Col du Ballon. We passed Pulat at the base of the climb and it seemed like my expectations could prove correct. For the rest of the 8km climb no one else emerged from the fog and the TV crew that would appear from time to time in earlier sections was not there any more. That’s when I realised things were not as good as I thought. Few spectators shouted “douzieme” and I correctly guessed it means twelfth position.
Those cramps from 5 years ago were running through my head so I started the second run conservatively. Estrangeiro got out of sight soon and there was no one close to us (from either side). My main objective turned into maintaining my position. Since it seemed like the cramps won’t make an appearance I picked it up a bit in second lap, just in case someone from the front group cracks. Sudrie was the only one who cracked but he had sufficient time buffer so I finished the race in 12th place.
This time I was satisfied with my final placing but not pleased with the gap. The opposite from the previous race in Barcelona. My bike performance was not even close to the one from Barca. Maybe the first run killed my bike legs? Anyhow, I hope my bike for the rest of the season will be more like the one from Barcelona then the one from Belfort.
Next big race is Challenge Roth. Maybe I’ll do a low key race before but I’m not sure yet.