Now my racing season has drawn to a close I a little extra time to reflect on my racing year. I wrote this post a little while back but thought I would share it with you now:-
Ironman 70.3 European Championships 2012 -Wiesbaden,Germany
12 August 2012
Wiesbaden was my last race before the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September. I arrived at the race pretty much straight after a nine day training camp in Mallorca. I had a couple of light days of training and then the race. My coach advised that we would not include a taper for this, but use it as a benchmark for September and benefit from the racing experience. I had really worked hard in Mallorca so I wasn’t sure how I would feel on the race course, but we have taken this approach previously and it has been fine. I do lose a little time compared to when fresh, but not every race can be an A race.
Wiesbaden 70.3 is superbly organised and this makes the whole race very easy from arrival to departure. Wiesbaden is a beautiful city in southwest Germany, located to the west of Frankfurt. It is also one of the oldest spa towns in Europe.
Saturday (the day before the race) I went for a short bike ride and run to freshen my legs and check my bike was in good order. I wasn’t 100% happy with the tubular on my front wheel as the valve was a little faulty, so for peace of mind I decided to change it. No problem, I replaced it, bought more spare tape from the expo and took my bike to T1 to rack it ready for the following morning.
The following morning I arrived at T1 in good time, this was lucky because the other tubular had gone down over night. I tried to mend the puncture with Pitstop sealant rather than changing it in a rush, but to no avail. A quick tubular change later and I was ready, but that was both of my spares and my emergency Pitstop sealant already used. When I packed for the race I thought I was being excessive taking two spare tubulars, but clearly this is not a bad idea.
I kept calm whilst changing the tyre, knowing I had left adequate time, but this is just the sort of event that can really throw you when you are trying to concentrate on a race.
The race takes place in and around the city, with the swim start outside town at the Waldsee Raunheim (lake). The race started in waves with the first wave going off at 7:30 am; my wave followed straight after at 07:35 am. The swim was relatively uneventful and I was pleased to get out onto my bike.
The bike course is deceptively hilly taking in 1,500 m (5,000 ft) of climbing within the single loop course. For comparison, Ironman Nice includes 1,800 m (6,000 ft) of climbing but over circa 112 miles/180km (rather than 56 miles/90km). This means that the bike element of the race is considerably more demanding than some flatter courses I have raced, but provides a fitting challenge for a Championship event.
I had a target time in my mind for the bike leg of sub 3:00 hours and I wanted to make this. I just scraped in just over this, but put in a good ride. My legs and back felt a little tight starting the run, but they soon eased off and I got into a rhythm.
The run course is a round a park in the City centre, the terrain is varied and scenic, not that I was looking on race day! It comprises four laps, each lap I would tell myself, just one more, push a little harder.
I crossed the line 9th in my category which was an improvement on 15th the previous year. This tends to be a relatively competitive race, so I was pleased with my performance. I improved both my time and my overall ranking from the previous year. Post race was time for some well earned rest and recovery after a couple of hard weeks.
One particular highlight of this race is the brass band that were playing about half way round the bike course. You turn a sharp corner, start to climb (another) ascent, when suddenly the band strike up with funny tunes! It certainly made me chuckle on the way round.