Sunday, July 24, 2011

German Update

Since Challenge Roth, I had a few very easy days and then started rolling again. The body seems to have pulled up well and I have been ticking off some good training. I have just done a Barry Magee weekend running so the legs have had a good working over.

A few things I have noticed in Germany
  •  At the pool, a lot of people like to do breaststroke, more than any other country I have been too. Lucky the pool is normally pretty empty so there are never any lane rage issues
  • Another pool observation, the women seem to love to wear bath robes to the pool
  • The signage on German roads is outstanding, you not only get the street names but always the direction you are headed, makes getting lost a lot harder.
  • The road surface here is super, the NZ goverment, local councils, transit etc, need to come for a lesson in building roads. 
A really dumb thing I did in Germany
  • So this past weekend I was suppost to fly to London to see some family. I was flying out of Frankfurt but didnt even consider checking if there was more than one airport when I jumped on the train. And guess what? Frankfurt has two airports, and I ended up at the wrong one, completely missing my flight......
My routine of the past couple of weeks is to get the training done and then settle down for some Tour De France action in the afternoon, so next week might be a little different. Also it was great to see our Kiwi runners smashing it on the weekend also, Nikki Hamblin and Nick Willis both breaking the national records.

Next update soon

Friday, July 15, 2011

Challenge Roth Race Report

At the beginning of the day I knew my gold medal was going to be a podium finish and that’s exactly where I ended up, 3rd place in the biggest race in Europe, Challenge Roth. I have never experienced a crowd like it, I thought Challenge Copenhagen was pretty special with over 100,000 people on the course last yr in the middle of town. But the German people, over 180,000 of them packing the climbs and run course made an unbelievable atmosphere. Turning the corner and approaching the Solaberg for the first time, I had goosebumps on my arms and couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. During the run I used a Ipod for the first 20k and numerous times, I couldn’t even hear the music for the crowd noise. I said during the press conference it was like been at a rock concert and that wasn’t a joke!

It’s a definite must do race if you are ever coming to Europe or want to experience something very special.

So to my race, I was pretty relaxed race morning and rode the 1km on a Cruiser bike to the start area. The swim is down one side of a canal and back up the other side. My swimming has been going really well and prior to the race that was what I was least worried about, but it ended up being my worst section of the race. I got a little pumped at the start and after 1500m or so found myself just of the back of the second bunch. From there the gap stretched and I ended up leading the rest of the swim with the 3rd bunch. Out of the water in about 30th position and there was not many bikes left in the Pro rack which was not the best start to the day. Time 51min30sec

Long distance races are all about keeping going and not giving in, so I knew I just had to quickly forget about it and get on with the bike. I slowly started picking off riders and formed a little group with two other athletes Rota and Fuches. I had no idea how far back from the main group I was and the German bike axes who where further of the front. Riding up the Greding climb I could see a large pack of men about 1min up the road. By time we had got to the Solaberg we had bridged the gap and I knew I was back in the race apart from Andreas Raelert who was doing a demolition ride. The rest of the ride I tried to keep the pace steady, look after the nutrition and get the legs ready for the run.  Riding up the Solaberg was insane with the noise and crowd. I think there must of been at least 20guys together at the top of the Solaberg, but by time I jumped off the bike the group was down to about 6 guys.

So I was off the bike in 11th with a 4hr26min ride but had no idea of this during the race. My german is not the best, just a couple of words J so couldn’t understand any of the people yelling at me.

Into the run and the legs felt pretty good for the first 10k, by time I was at the first turn around I could see Raelart and Kienle where a long way up the road, but everyone else ahead was in striking distance. The legs started to feel pretty heavy after 15k but I was still catching/moving along ok. At the 27k mark I saw James on the side of the road, and was into 4th with Ritter not far ahead. I then caught Ritter running through the forest and finally had a push bike with me, what I was wanting at the start of the day, meaning I was in third. The last couple of kilometres where through town and back on to the pavement, they where pretty tough but I knew I had third in the bag unless I blew pretty bad. So I tried to enjoy the last section, even if the photos don’t show it! So the run ended up being a 2hr54min and total time 8hr16min.

I have massive respect for Raelert  who absolutely smashed the course for the win, and has moved the bar so much higher and Kienle with another great race. Also Chrissie Wellington, she again showed what a amazing athlete she is.

 I am super stoked to get on the Podium, its definitely a career highlight so far. I am still waiting to lay down a really good run this year which I know is waiting in the legs, so some more work before Challenge Copenhagen in 4 weeks time and hopefully I can put together a complete performance.

A big thanks to my homestay family, it’s been so easy preparing for the race and to Felix and the Challenge crew, another great race in the Challenge family of events.

Also, check out the Utube video at the bottom of page, world famous table run after the prize giving between Felix and a young french pro 

Ritter, Schuman, Me, Kienle, Raelert

Running into finish

Pleased to be finished

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Challenge Roth

Ok, the race report is coming, but I have some photos of the day, the atmosphere and crowd was like nothing I have ever experienced before

My homestay, Dominic, Joshua, Junea.
Junea told her dad tonight that I was the man that lives in the basement!

My Orbea ready to roll

Swim start

Transition 1, over 5000 athletes in total, big day!

Me on bike

Through the finish - happy to be home, 3rd place

Seb crushing bike

Big crowds, 180000 on the course, CRAZY!

Solaberg hill - Very VERY noisy

Dominic sun burn

Finish line

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A few photos from Challenge Roth

My homestays road

On the race course

Small German Village

My Car for the week, thanks Challenge!

Local Pool - Stainless Steel 50m

Up close on the pool

Beer tent at Expo

Saucony tent

Random farm we drove past - had to stop for a photo, 30cows in total, this if for my famer friends....