Our stay was great. Through airbnb.com I found the perfect stay where the four of us could comfortably sleep and be very close to the race venue. The immediate access to the sea and dunes, aka the race venue, helped a lot to grt familiarized with the course itself. A few easier workouts tuned me up for the race including a sea swim at 8pm on Thursday night and numerous rides over the course.
The deep sand was overwhelming not only on the bike but also on the run course. While on the run we only had to carry ourselves through the sand we had no choice but to dismount and push our bikes through what seemed impossible to ride across. On race day race conditions were as close to perfect as they could get when sea, sand, and hot summer days are all present. The whole day started with shorter races including the one where my sister, Niki, who first tested herself as a triathlete. I have to say I'm super proud of her now as she battled the waves and dunes to complete her first multi-event race. She exited the water in the back but made up a lot of ground on the bike and run to finish 8th as a female.
With all the running to catch the snapshots of my sister's first triathlon and the lack of nutritional intake that morning may have contributed to my sub-par performance during the race.
The swim was scheduled at 13:30 but we were all started a little earlier. Yes, I didn't have a chance to warm up properly. Again. However I surprised myself with a 13th place out of the water along with about 6 other competitors. Transition took a bit longer than I had hoped for. I wanted to clean my feet off the sand to prevent blisters and and agonizing run later in the race. That took me time and lost some positions. On the bike at first I tried to keep the pace under control to prevent a huge spike in my heart rate. It's hard to tell if it helped or not later in the race. I passed and was passed by a few. There was a German guy whom I caught but as I did we went back and forth for two laps before he eventually gained a good 30 second lead on my into T2. My tire choice wasn't the best. Again, I should have listened to my instincts and the majority of riders who chose slick tires. Conrad for example even had his wife cut the small knobs off of his alread fast rolling Specialized Renegade tires. Me on the other hand, I had the worst tires for the wet sand with Specialized The Captain on the back and Purgatory on the front. I was able to ride in the wet sand between the water and the deep soft sand but the knobs slowed me down and it took much more energy to maintain a given speed. There I dug deep and drained my energy reserves.
Off the bike I had an OK first lap running in what it seemed endless sand everywhere. The aid station at the finish area in each lap had nothing else but water and lemonade that provided no remedy to my exhausted muscles. I was starting to lose the battle. The sand seemed deeper and the stretches even longer. The short uphills were like mountains those whom I passed earlier started to catch up to me. Now that's not cool when you pass someone who is already a lap behind you only to see that person fly by you like you were standing. My body wanted to stop and give up this nonsense while my brain kept sending signals to my muscles to keep contracting. I had nothing left in the tank on the last uphill to the finish area. I was passed by a guy in my age group and for a brief second I thought I could go with him only to realize that my body thins otherwise. He then gave me 20 seconds in the last 40 meters. I crossed the finish line in 15th place overall, 5th in my age group. 20 seconds to the 4th and a good 8 minutes to the 3rd place Mester Balint who had a great race. I hoped t obe on the podium but had to settle with all the lesson I gained from this race.
I was really glad though to be in the Netherlands and to represent the USA. Some of us did really good and made the podium in their age group divisions. GO USA!
What's happening now is two weeks in Hungary training and perhaps a race in Slovakia. My next race is in Canada (August 4), the XTERRA Canmore where my goal is to have a blast and go faster than last year.
Until next time,
Thanks for tuning in..