I had big expectations for the Challenge Roth and once again ended up a bit disappointed with my performance. Recovery from the last race went really quick and I felt great for the whole week leading into the race. The only day where I felt a bit worse was the race day. This is 3rd time in a row that I go back from Roth a little bit disappointed. It’s such a good race with the biggest crowds in the triathlon circuit so I always feel a bit more sad if I mess it up here then at some other venue. But, as Arnie says: “I’ll be back”.
The race didn’t start well. I felt quite bad during the swim and struggled to keep up with the group. On a normal day I think I should have been in a group that was about a minute ahead. The day didn’t start well but it wasn’t terrible either.
I rode with Stefan Schmidt and we set a good pace in the first loop. The pace was hard but felt sustainable for 2 loops. However, in the second loop things started to go south. I had difficulties to take calories as I felt like I’m going to throw up. Until the half-way point of the loop things were still ok. Until then I still had around 41,5 km/h average speed. But then I started to get small cramps and the power dropped significantly. I lost quite a bit of time in the last 45km.
From the start of the run legs felt very stiff. I had that feeling in races before and usually it would get better after a few kilometers. This time that was not the case and it was getting even harder to keep moving. I knew I’ll have some friends in Schwandt at around 13th kilometer so I decided to run until there and if things don’t get better quit and tell them to drive me back to Roth. I barely made it there but had to change the plan as they arrived with their bikes and not with a car :).
Plan B was to walk/run back to transition. At that point that looked like a big task. However, things started to get better. I was walking through aid stations and took as much as I could and in between I started running solid pace. Legs were still in terrible shape and each step felt very hard but at least I was moving. I was still within top10 and it looked like there’s a chance for me to stay there, so I quit quitting and decided to finish the race. It wasn’t easy but I got it done and finished in 8th spot.
Expectations were much higher but things don’t always go as expected in a race this long. At least I’m happy that I finished, even though at some points on the run I thought there’s no chance I’ll see the finish line today. There will be more opportunities to prove that I can do better. Now I’ll travel to St. Moritz where I’ll train in Suttons group until September. My next race will probably be Embrunman.