My main goal for any race is to finish in prize money. It can get hard to pay bills otherwise. From that perspective, twelfth place in a race that pays 10 deep could be considered as a failure. However, I can take much more positives than negatives from this one.
After the swim-start mess settled I noticed a lot of colored swim caps around me. Those are reserved for pre-race favorites so I knew I’m in a great position. I got out of the water in a second group, only 2,5 minutes behind leading group. This was my best swim so far. After very long stagnation, hard work finally started to pay off, but I’m aware there’s still plenty of work to do to make a jump to the front group.
Pace on the bike was crazy fast for the first 65km and our group got smaller and smaller. At that point we caught majority of the first swim group and the pace settled a bit. At the start of second loop I went to the front and even managed to break away from the group. Next 10-15 km were the most enjoyable part of the race for me. I had cameraman beside me and I was getting away from the likes of Llanos, Rana, Aernouts, Viennot… Midway through second climb in the loop the group caught me again, although this time not as numerous as on the start of the loop.
After 140km I started to struggle a bit. Together with Matt Trautman I got dropped but we could still see the group 100-200m in front of us for a long time. Around that time I also missed the water bottle at one aid station. My mouth was already dry and I couldn’t take in any calories without water. Next aid station was 30k away and we had stiff headwind at that section. Lack of calories showed and at one point power was gone from the legs and I went into survival mode. When I finally got some water and calories in I felt good again and managed to minimize the losses.
First 25-30km on the run went very well. I was running in 9th place, 8th placed Viennot was only 200m in front of me and some other guys were not that far away. Pace felt comfortable and I was confident I could pick it up and pass few more guys. Unfortunately, that was not the case this time. First the pace started to drop and then I had to fight cramps in the last 10k. After taking some isotonic the cramps eventually got away but then it was too late. Cunnama, Del Corral and Buckingham passed me in the last 5-7km and I finished in 12th spot. I was thinking I’m running in 10th place when Buckingham passed me within last 2km, so I was actually relieved when I realized I wasn’t “first looser” in regards to prize money.
Although I can’t be too happy with 12th place, this race showed that I improved quite a bit. There will be plenty of races this season to materialize that improvement.
garmin file (T1 is included into swim and T2 into the run)