Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hamburg World Champ Series event

After flying out the day after the race Monday, I arrived quickly and rather painlessly (thanks sleeping pills) into the city of one of my favourite races. Hamburg is a large city but is full of history and character and right in the downtown core where the race takes place is amazing.

The course in Hamburg is interesting, challenging and fun. During the swim we go through a tunnel under a bridge three times and the technical eight lap bike weaves through the city streets and around the historic city hall with the whole course lined with fans. By the run, an even louder more condensed amount of fans crowd both sides of the fast 2.5k four lap run course.

There are over 10,000 people competing in the Hamburg triathlon and many many more that come just to watch the event.

All these things combined make for a great venue, course and atmosphere for a World Championship Series triathlon.

I managed to get a lot more sleep the week leading up to the event, and with a copious amount of antihistamines, asthma and sinus medications I started to clear my chest and sinuses. Each workout I did as I got closer to the Saturday afternoon race felt better and my breathing was less constricted. By Saturday afternoon I felt well rested and strong and my chest was more or less clear.
After struggling last weekend with my breathing right at the start of the swim I took this swim out strong but a bit more controlled. I had a good start and was in clear water and on the inside of the first turn. The battling began but I held position and made it around the first four turn buoys. Next was the long 650m stretch with the first tunnel pass. I was still swimming controlled and entered the tunnel in good position. The tunnel is an interesting experience, light going in light at the end but once you are in the middle it is pitch black when you have your head in the water. You also end up getting sucked along as the group goes from wall to wall creating a huge draft. Once through the tunnel, it is a short burst to the ramp to get out and dive back in for another lap of 500m and twice more through the tunnel.

I was right near the front (top 20) the whole way and had a good exit and transition and headed onto the bike in the main group but could see a group of four up the road. I instantly put the petal to the metal and road by a stream of guys to get to the front and start bridging the small gap. With a few turns we pulled the groups together and then the pace was on for the next four laps. With being such a technical bike with lots of corners it is key to stay up near the front to avoid crashes, getting yo yo'd all the time and for me to be in an opportunistic spot should a break away present itself. There were a few attempts and I broke away with one I thought had the right people but the motivation and pace of the main group was very high on the day so it was shortly reeled in. I then stayed near the front and positioned well for the crazy entry to transition over cobbles and two 90 degree turns.

Another solid entry and exit to transition with a small gap to the lead group of runners but I was in with a solid group of runners. I went out hard to hold place in the group but it soon became apparent I was still missing the high end. I haven't spent a lot of time training this zone and my breathing again wasn't 100%. I felt stronger then Edmonton and still managed a solid pace through 2.5k and held my breathing just near the limit. I felt strong and pushed each lap drawing guys in each kilometer. With 2.5k to go I focused on relaxing more and running faster by moving easier. I had a group of three guys just ahead and two singles on either side of them. I caught the first and committed to getting the group by the top of the hill with 1200m to go. I rolled passed them and spun quickly around the 180 to open a gap and get my momentum going down the hill on the way to the next guy. With two sharp turns left before the final 300m stretch I focused on getting the last guy by the first so I could again open a gap by cornering faster and not actually having to run harder leaving more for the final stretch. I managed to get by him and put a gap in and with just 300m to go tried to reel in one more guy but just came up short and finished in 19th spot.

I am more satisfied with this race then Edmonton as it was getting closer to the fitness I have available. I still wish I had been feeling better but all in all it was a solid performance and another good race execution. I know I could have had more general run speed then this and looking ahead I will have more high end with the intensity training block coming.

I am very happy and grateful to be back racing even at this level with time off and a rough past few weeks.

For now, it is back to Victoria for more rest with hopefully the conclusion of this chest and sinus problem, and the next phase of the run intensity program.
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

No comments: