Raynard Tissink Triathlon Coach
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Quelle Challenge - Roth

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A Bright New Day

The Ironman distance race in Roth is considered to be one of the greatest triathlon events in the World, and by the Germans, who are arguably the strongest triathlon nation in the World, the biggest event outside of Hawaii. The race has lost a bit of it's prestige over the last few years due to another race held the week before not too far from the famous venue where the world records for both men and women are held. This however, doesn't make the race any easier, with two previous World Champions in the start line-up, and numerous Hawaii top 10 finishers and other Ironman race winners there to stamp their mark on a fast, but not that easy, race course. But, for those planning to go set a PB time, make sure you've got a lot of strength in those legs for the hilly ride, on the second lap the hills always hurt a lot more.

This race report is a bit different to all the others. Normally, I'll explain how the race went down, how I felt during each discipline, when I suffered the most, and of course, whinge about the drafting. Well this time I'm not going to do all that. OK, I can't help it...I have to whinge about the drafting. I'm not going to say much, except.... 'Absolutely Ridiculous!' I had ridden alone in third place until 145km, setting a PB time of 4h24 on the bike leg, only to be past by a bunch of 15 plus, who normally ride much slower, but that day - all rode 4;21 - making my new PB time look stupid.I was to put it mildly, pissed. The icing on top though, was when a DTU referee rode up along side me and told me to get closer to the guys infront because he liked the way I had raced off the front on my own, and now he didn't want me to get dropped from the bunch.

At the end of the day, it doesn't help to complain? Nobody cares, and nobody's going to listen. The sport has changed, bottom line...deal with it...learn to draft...learn to run like a rabbit...Michael Gohner, was the fastest rabbit in the field. Well done to him! On a fair day, that race belonged to Pete Jacobs, Normann Stadler 2nd, and if I had built up enough of lead on the bunch, which was 2min at 90km, I may have been 3rd or 4th at worst.

Now that I've got the whinging out of the way, I'll tell you all the possitive things I took from this race. After my three half iron-distance races I was nervous. My swimming was good, my biking was good, but I was really worried about being able to get through the marathon. I went into the race with absolutely no expectations, just the single goal of finishing, alive.

I started poorly, boxed in at the narrow swim start, but after a few hundred meters, found myself with only 3 guys ahead of me, and of course Jacobs well off into the lead. From there it was a comfortable swim to the end and I was surprised to see that a group of us had broken away from the main bunch. I exited in 47:32, a new swim PB for me, and best of all no breathing problems.

On the bike I felt great. I stayed with the bunch for the first 35km, just waiting for the first really tough climb. Stadler had already passed us, and in hind-sight I probably should have gone with him but had thought it was too soon at that stage. The hill is about 2,5km long and I got quite a lead immediately, and by 65km it was up to a minute and by 80km it was 90sec. Tomas Hellreigal, who had the second fastest bike last year was in the group behind, so I new I was going well. After a little more than 2,5hours of riding on my own I was picked up by the peleton and then just hung in until the end.

Then came the dreaded run, but once again I felt great. I tried to go as easy as I dared for the first 30minutes without being left behind by the other 15guys who had come of the bike with me, but I felt good and my legs just kept on ticking. 10Km went by in just under 39minutes, “slow down...wait for the last 10km” were my only thoughts. 21Km went by in 1h22;45 and I still felt great, and the legs kept on ticking. The second half of the run becomes a little hillier, nothing major, but after 6,5 to 7hrs of racing at PB pace, a speed bump feels like a mountain. Just before the final turn-around, at 29km, there's a long pull of about 500m, and for the first time that day I could feel I was tired. At 28km Faris al Sultan and Timo Bracht were shouting “Go Raynard, you're looking stronger than everybody infront, you can get 3rd”, but when I went past again at 30km it was more like “Hang in there Raynard, not far to go”. I hung in there but my pace dropped drastically and ended with a 2;52 run time and a total time of 8hr07min18sec, a little more than 2 minutes faster than my previous best.

Times usually are of no interest to me, every race and conditions are always different, so time will differ. But for the first time in a long time, I felt like an athlete again. I know I struggled over the closing miles because I didn't put in the long training sessions. After SA Ironman I wasn't sure I'd be able to do another Ironman, so I just didn't put in the big k's. So to have done a PB time in the swim, bike and overall, and finish with a decent 2;52 marathon, but most importantly, to have felt good most of the day doing it, I pray that this is a new beginning, the start of a bright new day.

Annah Watkinson - Race Report IM Brazil 2017

After a great first year racing in the professional category in 2016, I was amped for the 2017 season. Feeling stronger and fitter and more in the "right head space" - I had done some great training over December spending many many many (and many more) hours on the bike - I loved it. My swim was starting to click, I was starting to understand the phrase "feel the water", and my running was strong

READ ONAnnah Watkinson - Race Report IM Brazil 2017
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