Quick note for nobody to read about the last Ironman distance race in Vitoria.
To start, this is an awesome race, organizers where able through the years to steadily increase the reputation and size of this race. I like to compare it to how Challenge Roth developed after ditching Ironman brand. The atmosphere as everyone would expect from a Basque coutry Race is very enthusiastic especially of course for the locals and then countrymen.
This was the race that I wanted to perform well physically that would correspond to a great overall classification.
I will skip the preparations and the where uneventful except the regular stress to leave work and all things related to work done so I can have some peace of mind, all this pretty to say but never happens ;)
Anyway, straight to the swim, I almost had a decent swim. the 2 lap course was full of athletes and at the end of the first lap we caught the slow guys from the Half ironman that started 15min earlier, through the confusion I lost my beloved feet from the 54-55 min group. in the dry land loop I was like 15s back of the group and alone, I tried to catch then until 3/4 of the swim but was unable to do so and then I just blew up, probably for not having enough miles at the pool. the last quarter of the swim was somewhat never-ending story and was caught at the end by the 57group that had most of the favorites which was ok.
Onto the ride, the course is a lovely 2,5 laps through the countryside with flat parts and rolling hills. This started pretty well, until 30km the course had very short hills and downhill, villages etc. The group got bigger immediately as the pace was quite high. Some dropped some pulled away but mainly everyone was very nervous to control everyone. I won’t go long (very) on this but the dynamics of a legal pace line weren’t being followed like when someone passes a group of athletes that are riding a legal paceline he needs to move to the front of the group and cant slot in in the middle of the group. The thing is, nobody wanted to move to the lead slotting in whenever they feel like, this happened to me in 20km for like 5 times, the rest is simple physics, if you’re riding legal distance and a short steep hill comes by, everyone will bunch up, especially with the nervous behavior. Bang Penalty for me with just like 20km (5 min). Lets be clear on this I was definitely inside the draft zone for several singular occasions like I have explained, and if I didn’t want to risk I should just have gone solo BUT if a penalty was served it should have been to EVERYONE in that group in the first 30-40 min of the ride except for the leader of the group that although wasn’t the one leading when I was penalized but as long as I was there Diego Paredes was the man that was 80 90% of the time in front. I served my penalty and then had to decide what to do, I decided to try cut losses and see what happens, the rest of the ride besides passing some isolated athletes it was a lonely effort but was able to shave some time off from all the groups at the course. I was actually quite happy with my ride and felt quite strong although I raced by feeling through the entire course but the group dynamics ahead of me clearly showed that unless you are Kiele its hard to stay close without burning all the matches available.
The run was ok, I felt tired from the bike but I was rolling, passed a few guys but honestly I didn’t have a clue where I was, I did know that there where several athletes ahead from the out and back parts of the bike. I ran 2:58 but honestly I felt kind of numb the entire run maybe because of how everything unfolded, I think I could squeeze a lot more from that run but overall it was fine, it sure would be different if everyone in the same circumstances where penalized... 8th place, 8:33 at the end... actually its been 2 years since I last did sub9 and actually was sub 8 ;) so I really can’t complain other than it could have been a LOT better.
Not sure what’s next but after a short break I will resume the everyday buzz to try staying “Fast” in October…