Past Saturday I raced ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship in Motala, Sweden. Water temperature was the main topic of conversations in the days leading to the event. On the race morning they measured 14,7C which meant swim would be shortened to 1500m. I wasn’t complaining :).
Usually, I feel bad for the first 5 minutes in cold water. That’s why I need a good warm up in such conditions. This time it wasn’t easy to get a warm up as we had to exit the water 30 minutes prior to the start due to starting procedures. Then we had to enter the water 5 minutes prior to the start. This all made me feel very cold before the start and I didn’t quite warm up until the end of the swim. However I swam in a group where I expected to be, only badly positioned within the group. Once on dryland I had 2 minutes gap to the swim leaders.
Viennot and Schildknecht were in my swim group but were better positioned and I had 20 second gap to make up. I started the bike hard hoping to catch those two. The chase was unsuccessful, but in the process I managed to pass a lot of other guys. On the turnaround I was pleased to see that there’s no large groups. Side wind combined with 12m drafting distance neutralised any draft benefit.
Danielsson rode with me and half way through the second loop we caught Schildknecht and Nilsson and around that time got caught by Joe Skipper. I was pleased to see that it took Joe 70km to make up for 40s gap after the swim. He rode third fastest bike time in Ironman history recently, so I must have been riding well. Pace started to drop in the third loop but I still had 42,9 km/h average for the first 100 km. There were only 5 guys who reached T2 before us and only Martin Jensen had significant gap.
Once on the run everyone took off like it’s olympic distance race. I didn’t feel good in the first loop, but started feeling better in the second and third. At the start of second loop I passed Danielsson and Amberger, but soon afterwards got passed by Ospaly. I was holding what I thought was a solid pace (around 3:50 min/km) and was hoping that I’ll see few more guys who took off too quickly. Turns out everyone in front had a fast run. I was surprised by how many guys run around or under 1:50h for 30k. In the last kilometer I got passed by Betten and finished the race in 10th spot.
Top 10 was the goal for the race so I’m satisfied with how it went. But if someone showed me my splits before the race I would have thought that it would be enough for top5. I’m satisfied with my current shape and looking forward to Challenge Roth in 10 days. Ironman distance suits me better and I hope to have a good one over there.