Another slow swim and average bike&run. That’s how my Challenge Kraichgau performance looks like if you look only at results list. However, it was better than it looks and there are quite a few positives that I took from the race.
After my last race in Barcelona we changed my swim training a bit and went back to things that worked before. “Worked” is relative term when one talks about my swimming, but it worked better than the training I was doing lately. Maybe I’ll never become front pack swimmer but I can at least get back to my level from few years ago when I was regularly in the 2nd pack.
Race started well for me and I found myself in a big group for the first 400-500m. Then a small gap opened and I didn’t have that 1% extra power to close it. I was left on my own and tried to minimize the gap. After the last buoy we turned into the sun and I couldn’t see a thing. So, I went on a tour around Hardtsee and lost plenty of time in those last 500m. On the bright side my swim training is working and I feel like it didn’t take me much to stay in the group till T1. This was unusual swim and what’s usually two packs merged into one large pack. I missed rare opportunity to exit the swim in the lead group, but at least my confidence is back for the rest of the season.
There was not much to lose so I started the bike hard. During the first 30km I passed some competitors and it was a very lonely ride from there. Average power was much higher than in my last 2 races and I managed to finish the ride with 306W average (ride file). I was expecting that 4,3 W/kg will be enough to at least not lose additional time to the front group, but turns out that was not the case. Maybe riding in a group at legal distance is more valuable than I thought, or maybe those guys manage to hold higher power than I thought, or maybe my Garmin was trying to be nice to me and showed higher numbers to make me happy :). If I managed to stay in that swim group, I would know the answer.
Run was very similar to last 2 races. It never felt hard but I couldn’t pick up the pace. Feels like I get stuck in 3rd gear. Not much happened in this part of the race. Front pack was out of reach, I lost one place and finished 11th. Can’t be too happy with that placement, but my swim is improving and I’ve had the best ride since riding with powermeter, so that gives me confidence for future races. Maybe a little bit of freshness is enough to get that 1% in the swim or to be able to push myself on the run. We’ll see in 10 days at Chiemsee triathlon.