Fourth edition of Falkensteiner Punta Skala triathlon was held this Sunday in Petrcane near Zadar. This year the race served as Croatian championship in middle distance triathlon. It was a hard race for me to do as anything except a win would have been considered a failure. First of all by me, but probably by many others as well.
I don’t like early morning starts, but unfortunately in this sport they are the norm and this race was no exception. When the gun went off I must have been only half awake as I lost 5 meters in the first 10 meters of running through shallow water. I made up for that quickly and had a good swim. There were 3 guys not far in front of my group. Two of them were part of a relay and third one was Avirović, one of the favorites.
My plan was to try to break away on the bike and get big enough of a gap so that I don’t have to run on the limit. First part of the bike course goes slightly uphill and that’s where I wanted to make a move. The rest of it is much flatter and thus much harder to break away. However, I messed up my transition and lost 20 seconds, so I first had to chase. It was close to the end of the uphill when I caught two of my main competitors Koceić and Patrčević. I spent a lot of energy chasing but still managed to make a decent attack. Few minutes later I turned around and couldn’t see anyone behind. Perfect situation.
Turns out that Avirović missed a buoy and got out of the water behind us, so I was in the lead. It was easy to judge the distance to the other guys as we rode 4 out and back loops. The gap kept growing and when we passed each other for the final time I had 6 minute advantage over Avirović and another 2 minutes over Koceić and Patrčević.
Everything was going according to the plan but I still had doubts. Two weeks ago in Aix, I could barely run at a pace that I usually hold on ironman distance. I knew that if that happens again my win might not be secured just yet. Luckily, within first few kilometers I realized that won’t be the case this time. I felt quite good and kept the pace that I thought was enough to get to the finish without any unnecessary drama.
It looks like Aix was just a bad day and now I can look at the rest of the season with optimism. My next race will be Keszthely triathlon in less then two weeks and then Ironman 70.3 Pescara the week after.