An eventful race to say the least. Wow, that swim was insane! It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Over 80 guys started the race and by the time half of the field was on the pontoon it had already started to sink. Once the last team got into position we were basically waist deep in water. The starter fired the gun shortly after and we were on our way. Within the first few strokes I made contact with another athlete with my elbow. I’m not sure whether I caught their goggle or just a part of their body but it definitely hurt. I didn’t think too much of it and continued on swimming (if you can call it that). I don’t think I swam more than 10 metres the entire swim without hitting someone. When we got to the first turn buoy I basically came to a stop as everyone was running into each other. Eventually I made my way through the mess and exited the water somewhere in the middle of the group.
A small breakaway of about 10 athletes including Javier Gomez, Ivan Vasiliev, Fred Belaubre and a bunch of other fast swimmers got away at the start of the bike. I was in the main group which was quite large. The first 2 laps were on as we tried to close the gap. About half way through the bike I noticed that my left hand kept slipping. I thought it was just sweat but then I opened up my hand and my palm was full of blood. My elbow had been cut open in the swim and blood was basically gushing out all down my arm. This was about 30 minutes into the race so I’m thinking I lost quite a bit of blood! Anyway, the last 3 laps were pretty steady as the group gave up chase of the leaders.
Coming into transition I was in pretty good position near the front of the group. I was able to get out quick and immediately felt good running. It’s been a while since I’ve felt good running in a race so I was very happy! There was a big group of guys coming out of transition but after about 2k there were 6 of us. I felt really strong, leading most of the time, as we picked up guys from the front group. With about 2k to go I was just about to make a move when suddenly there was an official on the course waving a yellow card and pointing at me. He told me I had to stop running! It turns out I racked my bike incorrectly in transition so they stopped me on the course as a penalty. Apparently you have to rack your bike with the saddle in T2…I racked it with my bars. I had to sprint pretty hard to catch back up to the group I was in. I tried to recover as much as possible when I got back on and then I made a move with about 800m to go that strung out the group. I ended up getting out sprinted by one of the guys but all things considered I’m pretty happy. I finished in 8th place with the 4th fastest run split (only 9 seconds behind Gomez even with the penalty) so I can’t complain. The team finished 4th (Igor Sysoev was 12th, and our third scorer Cedric Oesterle was 27th) so that was pretty cool. My elbow looks alright…the paramedics cleaned it up but I’ll have to get someone to take a closer look at it tomorrow.
I’m really happy I did this race. It was a great prep for Hamburg next weekend and an awesome way to work on “racing skills”. I think it would be very beneficial for some of our Canadian juniors and U23’s to get into races like these. There’s so much you can learn in preparation for World Cup racing. If anyone out there is interested talk to your coach and maybe we can get you hooked up with a team.
You can see results from the race here.
Back to Kitzbuhel now for a couple days to meet up with the rest of the crew and then we’re off to Hamburg on Wednesday.