European Ironman 70.3 Champs, Wiesbaden

August 22nd, 2013 by

16th place – 4:18:36

Germany 70.3

Scots abroad! The odd one out in this winning quartet is me! L-R; Ritchie 1st, Ali 1st overall a/g, mysel and Catriona in 3rd place. It was a lot of fun & inspiring knowing they were all doing so well whilst on the run course.

I have often wanted to race in Wiesbaden as it has long been regarded as one of the toughest events on the 70.3 circuit. Our very own Wimbleball here in the UK lays claim to the ‘hardest 70.3 in the World’ statement, and I would say that is still a fair assessment after racing in Germany, but this was most certainly still a tough course – especially when you’ve tried to do an Ironman the week previously! I wouldn’t recommend trying it just in case it was on your agenda anytime soon 😉

Wiesbaden was the main goal race for the summer that Ali had targeted. – It carried coveted qaulifying slots for Kona which is unusual over the 70.3 distance since there are generally only less than a handful of these events and usually those are in the US. So, we had booked and organised the trip quite some time ago, which meant I was always going regardless of whether it was as a ‘cheerer’ or racing myself. Given Bolton went badly the week before I was in a position to be able to race (or so I thought/hoped) competitvely. However, given it was the European Championships the start list was impressive and rightly so. The pace was always going to be extremely high and I suppose I didn’t give the field and the course the respect they were due. You can’t ‘wing it’ at this level and I shouldn’t ever have imagined that was an option!

I swam towards the front of the chase pack, about a minute or so behind the lead 5. Not too bad. For the first 20k we rode towards Wiesbaden at a fast pace but I was coping. However as we reached the outskirts of town the hills began in earnest and we got quicker and quicker as the leaders could be seen in the distance. At around 40K we had caught the front of the race and also hit the longest climb of the course; roughly 6K long. It was the straw that broke this Camels’ back and I went slowly backwards. Further into the bike course I was passed by Faris Al Sultan, which only made me feel marginally better as I realised he’d had an even worse start to the bike than me. He finished a place in front of me at the finish of the race and as I walked past him and shook his hand he asked “no power on the bike today?” and I decided that summed up my day pretty succinctly. Indeed Faris, no power.

Germany 70.3 2

The run course was a four lap affair through a park and into the town centre at the turnaround (above) which made for great crowds and lots of enthusiatic support. I hadn’t exactly been full of love for the race during the mid potion of the ride (read: feeling sorry for myself) but I picked up as I approached T2 and headed out on the run feeling in brighter spirits. I ran sensibly enough for the 1st lap, was lapped by Ritchie on the 2nd (this strangely gave me a huge lift as I realised he was going to win), was then passed by 2nd place Jan Frodeno on the 3rd (I tried to stick with these guys for as long as I could each time) and then on the 4th lap I caught Catriona who was doing great and in 3rd place. It was nice to see friendly faces on the race course and I really enjoyed that aspect of the event. Perhaps as I had lost any selfish focus on ‘my’ race I was more able to appreciate how well they were doing. Whatever the case, I finished feeling very excited about it all, not least as Richard, the Freespeed manager had let me know that Ali was comfortably in the lead of her race. – It’s nice when a plan goes to plan!

wiesbaden awards

Being in Germany after all it would have been rude not to sample at least a little of the local fare. For that matter there was nothing for it other than grabbing some celebratory beers n pretzels mid way through the awards ceremony in the evening. I was perfectly happy to celebrate for the rest of them!