BITTER SWEET RACING
“A tough race that doesn’t go to plan is bitter sweet in more ways than one. That’s the beauty of racing and putting yourself in those situations.”
For me, the lead-in to Challenge Roth was less than ideal.
The day before the race, Sal and I were hit by a quad bike in our rental car on the way to a pre-race swim reece. I ended up being escorted to the station in a German polizzi car. The process was German styles so pretty efficient, but it still took half the day and had us both on edge in terms of the potential repercussions. I didn’t think the crash affected me, but looking back I think it rattled me more than I considered. I was also attempting to race two long distance races one month a part, in different hemispheres which made the challenge of being able to get that 5% back hard and I definitely noticed that on race day. Turns out the coach was right about that one, but I always like to have a race in my calendar that is new and exciting. It’s hard to get the timing right racing long distance events, as you only have the potential of a few good results up your sleeve.
You have to be smart about when you show your cards.
Photo: Norbert Wilhelmi
On the day, all-in-alI I felt pretty good. I had a solid swim and exited the water in 2nd place 1.5 minutes behind Jesper Svensson in 2:49. I felt like I was close to staying with Jesper but it was hard to keep top swim form with all the travel and I was a bit off. But starting the ride at the front of the race was a good place to be. I knew the big German hitters would catch us soon enough.
Giving it death from the onset has always been my trademark, but if I am not on full form it can have its repercussions.
I really enjoyed being put through my paces on the ride though and felt like I was holding my own at least until the 130km mark. I felt like I was minimise the losses from the Germans right out front and from my perspective I thought I was tracking well. I didn’t realise how much time I bled in the last 50km, but it was a solid lesson to take on as I track towards Kona and shows me where I need to put my focus.
If I only had the Cairns ride to go by, I might of convinced myself I was crushing it and not have approached the next 8 weeks of cycling with the same level of focus.
I didn’t really know what I was up to power wise as my power metre had been playing up and I was dubious that the readings I was getting were accurate, but upon review its seems like they were correct and that might be why the cracks started to show in the last 50km.
On review, I ended up producing 5 peak power results; 30sec, 1min, 5min, 20min and 60min. My normalised power was 270watts overall at Roth, compared with 262watts at the Ironman Asia Pacific championships in Cairns 1 month prior, when I lead the bike for 180kms.
I also had a peak 60minute power of 286watts compared to 261watts in Cairns. All in all my power results over the three long distance races this year clearly indicates that power whichever way you look at it is trending up, which I couldn’t be more stoked about and is something positive to take from racing a solid field of cyclists at Challenge Roth.
Getting off the bike, I was 10 minutes down on the leader and felt like on a good day I could bring that back. But within the first few kms my gut went crazy and I couldn’t take on any nutrition, and spent more time in the bushes than on the first half of the marathon. The mind was still in good form and keen to see it out, but the rest of me was done.
There’s nothing quite like investing a big chunk of money to get a family of 4 all the way to Europe, and having to fabricate the motivation to train hard off the back of a solid win in order to re-perform 4 weeks later, to then end up pulling out of the run half way through in fear of finishing the race with brown pants. As much as I feel that pain, so does my family. We live together through the highs and lows, and the Cairns and Austria high started to wane. I won’t lie – we were all a bit off it after that and decided the sooner we got out of Germany the better. Reflectively I would go back and would love to race Challenge Roth well. It is an epic race and I think the course would suit me on a good day. I will have to push repeat on a 4 week turn around as Cairns will always stay on my calendar in early June, but maybe having a bit of insight into Roth now might help set me up better in 2020.
Photo: Petko Beier
Challenge Roth was also an incredibly opportunity for our family to have an awesome trip to Europe. It’s been about five years since we have all been and for our youngest child, Bella, it was the first time she will remember visiting Europe so it was cool to take her there and experience the culture.
Challenge Roth was a great motivator to take this trip.
We were incredibly lucky and fortunate to have the opportunity to stay at Hotel Mohrenwirt in Fuschl, Austria. For us it was an all round awesome experience and hands down made our Europe trip.
Fuschl is an epic location for training with everything on the doorstep including all the resources to be able to keep training efficiently and all in all, it’s a beautiful place to stay.
This has to be one of the most epic outdoor pools I have ever swum in. The entire pool is made from stainless steel and sits about 10metres from Lake Fuschl. Allowing for an awesome combination of open water, combined with pool sessions. Photo: Markus Berger
My physical recovery post-Roth has been relatively smooth. When you don’t run that marathon on tired legs and just do the 20km at a steady pace, the impact physically isn’t significant. It just feels like it’s been a big training day.
I didn’t feel as though I’d raced an Ironman to my potential so the physical-recovery aspect hasn’t been hard.
I had just received the 2nd edition of the 2019 Specialized S-Works Shiv Disc, matt black and so fast! At least for the first 130kms of the ride. Photo: Petko Beier
Mentally however, I’m a strong believer that overcoming a result you’re not happy with is the hardest part but I guess in my mind that’s just the nature of racing.
I’ve always been an advocate for‘you have to take the good with the bad’.There’s those golden races where everything goes right, you pull off a great result and you perform the way you want to. Other times there’s elements you can pick out as distinguishing factors as to why the event didn’t go well. Then sometimes theres just ‘out-there’ challenges that you can’t really help and you cant get hung up on those either because they come and they go.
So for me, the mental side of it is swallowing a bit of a pill and taking the result for what it was, putting it behind me and focusing forward on the 10 week build to Kona.