Some positives out of the race, but a few big negatives too...
Race day started with me just about false starting the entire field, they had some music playing and I knew it was very close to start time when a little bang went off on the song playing and off I went. I only got a couple of steps and there was a lot of yelling and I realised we hadn’t been given the cannon. So quickly back to behind the line and only about 10secs later and we where off with the proper bang. Bayliss and a few other swimmers quickly opened up a gap from the start and I settled into the second group where I remained the rest of the swim. I had a quick look at the watch and read 49.30 so I knew the damage would not be too excessive to front.
Onto the bike and a group formed containing all the strong Danish guys + Bastie + Dejan. We picked up Berkel and Jimmy at about the 30k mark. Bjorn Andersson was starting his demolition of the cycle course and continued with it the entire ride.
At the 40k mark I picked up my first every drafting penalty. I thought our group was riding really clean, we had a motorbike with us the nearly 90% of the time. Then next thing I know a marshal on a motorbike who I hadn’t seen all day came up to me when I was rolling through some corners. I had to do a double take and look behind as I wasn’t sure if it was for me or someone else. About 1min later the same marshal gave Berkel a penalty, I am not sure his was for either as he definitely wasn’t in the draft zone.
Rolling in to the second loop I tried to put some pressure and split the group but everyone seemed to be riding about the same and after about 40k of trying there was only a couple that had been popped . And then with about 25k to go my legs started to fall apart! Not exactly what I wanted to happen. Bastie and Berkel then rode off and I lost some time coming into transition with Jimmy and Dejan. The next part was very hard mentally as I knew I had to serve my penatly, so I stood around for the 4min trying to keep positive. I was little relieved to see about 50 numbers on the board so knew I wasn’t the only one with quite a few numbers from the top 10 seeds.
Out on to the run, and the legs felt pretty good and I settled in to a nice rythum, a couple of toilet stops on the first lap and I could also see the damage to the front which was a lot to Bjorn but I was still in the mix with the rest. I was running along at about 2.42 pace and was feeling good. I caught Bayliss midway through the first lap, and the next 18k ticked over nicely picking up a couple of guys. I was on the coke and gels. At the 26k mark I had a Red Bull which within a couple of minutes I knew it was a big mistake. If anyone reading saw the video of me at Challenge Wanaka it was quite similar, everything started coming out and my stomach was in knots. My stupid mistake in using something different, so a good lesson. So I ended up having a little sleep on the side of the road and a couple of IV drips later I was feeling a lot better. A DNF besides my name, not the best way to finish my trip to Europe. Jimmy and Tim had a great battle for the win which was a super exciting race for the spectators.
Big thanks to the Challenge Orgainsers for putting on another great race and Angela for coming over to watch from London and looking after me.
Next up for me is a little down time then time to work on getting stronger before a big New Zealand season.