Powerman Zofingen - put it on your 'to do' list!
by tiggaSep 7th 2010
Whats happened since the Ironman?
I have felt relatively 'lazy', a little less dedicated to training... but somehow I kept the motivation to keep plugging away even though all my mates went into shut down mode after the ironman. Mentally that was quite tough, as now I had to head out on the couple bigger bricks on a Saturday on my own. As tough as it was I got through most of what I wanted to do. My plan was always to race a bit more post Ironman so on that front I've done a fair few events. Two weeks after the ironman I heard of a team doing the Outlaw triathlon that had an injured marathon runner. I volunteered my tired body for it... happy to go under 3hr10 and get a 'good for age' London Marathon spot. However, that weekend was our post ironman 'fines' braai (BBQ) which basically means we have a few beers and then get fined for some stupid stuff you do either in the race or the build up to it. Nicely poured Jaegerbombs from Caryn and later Geoff brought out his Scandinavian jetfuel... needless to say, getting up at 6am was a tough ask, and 20miles into the marathon the 5th Jaegerbomb smacked me on the head, took my legs away and said 'suffer you bastard!' 2hr55min in the end... all good training for Powerman Zofingen my next goal, collected my London marathon spot too.
Two weeks later, my TeamFeat club joined in the relaying party at Nottingham again for the National relay tri champs. I've done this once before and was the weakest swimmer in our team, and I was again here too! It was heaving down with rain and made for a wet afternoon, even if you weren't in the lake swimming! For whatever reason my chain was slipping and I could never really keep a nice big gear rolling, later to find out one of my links had separated and was on the brink of snapping. Good job it didn't eh? In the end... we came 5th in a competitive race, for a club thats only 9 months old, thats ain't too shabby. In fact Team Feat had five or six teams out and it was a good crack getting to know other members. Watch out for us next year!! On a personal front I was pleased with 19:47 bike split with the chain issues and my 17min flat for 5km with zero speedwork... it felt like a sprint!
A race steeped in history, with a winners role of honour to almost match Kona! What can I say about the race I've not mentioned before... it's my favourite duathlon for so many reasons. It's the ultimate duathlon, long and hard... and compared to any Ironman this has a killer 30km second run that takes you up a 3km hill as soon as you hop off the bike having ridden 150km mountainous kilometers. Oh yes, don't forget that brutal first 10km run that goes vertical on the 'b' of bang!
I am very lucky to have an amazing family I have stayed with for 5 years now, as part of their unique 'homestay' programme which has a local family looking after an athlete. Frans, Christin and their kids are simply amazing to me. They house and feed me like I was their own... you guys are awesome, thanks again for being so welcoming. Even Juma, their great big giant Newfoundland dog knows who I am now and doesn't want to eat me! hahaha, actually she is the most placid animal you'll ever meet, and has very strange food tastes. A dog that goes bonkers for carrots and apples? Yep, go figure?
The race -
No real expectations on the day, just to see how close I could get to breaking 7 hours. My best so far is 7hr16min, last years disaster was 8hr with a torn calf. I'd only done 2 long rides since the IM and not particularly hard either, and I was a bit worried I'd done too much running having clocked 85-90km for 2 of the final 3 weeks in the build up. Stick in the marathon, I thought I had cooked my legs in running and was almost expecting an explosion of sorts during the second run.
Target was: on the bike in 35mins, then 3 even laps of 1hr24min for each of the 50km, and see whats left in the run and hopefully a 2hr12 would be enough?
I wore my heartrate monitor and GPS... scary stuff as the first run with it's cliffs we run up had my HR over 170! Thats mental, I hardly see it go that high when doing track intervals! Anyways on the bike in 35:30 AvHR=156bpm.
I headed out of Zofingen town and collected a few athletes, and had to tell myself to be a good boy and not go mad in the first 50km lap. Instead I decided to sit at the back of the pack which was 15 or so athletes. Hanging 15m behind, watching the others fight for position was entertaining for a lap anyways. Lap 2 and 3 is when it's time to get your head down, as the Bodenburg and it's 16% grade is a tough old climb third time around. I hit the front of our group over the 5km leading up to the Bodenburg on lap two and put some pressure on, so when we hit the hill, the hill would sort out the group a bit more. By the time i was at the top in lap 2 just one guy was there, I pushed on again and by the end of lap two it was me and a German chap, Ueli. 2hr45min after two laps, 3mins ahead of target. It felt easy enough so I just cruised along and by lap 3 Bodenburg, I was in 'no mans land'. I could not see anyone ahead or behind. The short distance relay guys had kept me company on lap two, but now it was me and the breeze in my face! I was flying down the 'backstraight' into a town called St Urban and managed to catch a group of four and decided this was where I was going to ride to the finish 15km away. Stretch my legs, make sure I was hydrated and fuelled and ready to run. 4hr09min AvHR=140, not bad for a course with 1800m altitude gain!
Into T2 feeling quite spritely considering the efforts of the day so far, even the legs were 'good to go'. My bladder however was on the verge of bursting, so as soon as we hit the trees I pulled over to relieve myself. I was expecting a 'little pee', not a never ending torrent that it was... well at least now I wasn't lugging that unnecessary weight up them hills eh? First one km in 4min20, second one after my pitstop was 6mins! In my head I'd calulated that cost me 90secs, maybe a bit more. How crucial those seconds were I only found out later. Lap one went smoothly, a little twinge of cramp in the quad on the really steep uphills, so I walked up them to play it safe. Two years ago I had a walking session with Jonas Bauman, one of the local brothers who race every year, today he was not having a good day. I passed him up the steeper hills and 'power' walked passed him this time as I knew sub 7 hrs was still on. I felt ok until 10km to go when I had my first real twang in the quad. Not only that my bloodsugars levels had dropped and was really dizzy and nauseous by the time I reached the final turnaround. 35mins to run 7.5km, mostly downhill... surely, surely that is doable?
I struggled with cramp, could never seem to get enough coke down my gullet, or have enough gels to sustain me until the next aid station. 3km to go, now it was all downhill and I had 13mins. I tried, I really did but between the quad and the hamstring cramps I was properly limited to a shuffle and dragged my body over the line in 7hr 01min and 33secs! I reckon that 1min 34secs pee stop was what cost me! Damn, I'm going to have to come back and try again!
In the end 18th position, my highest placing at a world champs. I'll also big up Matt Moorhouse who will surely do great things at this race, he was well up there until lack of nutrition smacked on the back of the head with 3km to go.
It's a classic race, a huge achievement... just to finish. I meet some fantatstic people very year, there is always a few beers at Havanah for the hardy souls with a little bit of energy left and need a nightcap. Actually the past few years the winner of both womens and mens race join in and sniff their pint and fall over drunk. It's just an event that I think any multisport athlete should do at least once, for the challenge mostly but also for the great organisation, friendly atmosphere and amazing locals who will turn up and shout hop hop hop hop... Or in some cases, hobble hobble hobble!
Next on my radar... the Ballbuster, where I'm fully expecting a tough race as always! Runners, take on cyclists, who take on duathletes!