Saturday, July 21, 2012

Zurich as a confirmation

Ironman Zurich, my third stop in the European "tour" not much time to rest after a great race in Nice and for sure not feeling great during the 3 weeks that separated this 2 ironman. Im glad i went a week to Herdade da Cortesia to rest while i keep the body pumped for the next one. This was in fact the most time i had as a "pro" triathlete this year ;)

So Zurich, been there last year with a 6th place with the same Ironman Nice in the legs so i was just hoping for another decent day in one of the best cities in the world.
Weather at race day was miserable but i was expecting that with the forecast. i took my bike vest and arm warmers to T1 and wanted to make sure i used them. There was some rain before the start but nothing close to what was next.

Swim was in the Zurich lake, one of the best swim venues in the circuit. I didn't have time to warm up other than some the usual rotation of the arms. But the thing is, i had a good swim, the best of the season in my opinion. I had to bridge the gap to a group in the first km but i really felt a strong stroke and immediately placed myself in somewhere near the lead of the group and hoped as usual that i was in the right place. At the end of lap1 i really didn't have time to see who was there and only had time to understand that i was in the second pack with the leaders 100 (+-) meters ahead, not bad. The second lap things got a bit easier and i surely wouldn't try to lead, i just waited for the end of it.

I was really happy to see that the first two guys that i had a glimpse where Ronnie (that won with an impressive bike ride) and Jose Jeuland. GREAT. i tried to get out of the transition ASAP, vest on, arm warmers and gels already mounted to the frame, i was out of there.

I took my time to dress up properly in the bike and with that Ronnie disappeared, it would be bad company for me anyway ;). a big group got together at the beginning, all very nervous. To be honest for the first time i felt marked. Everything rolled well until the first climb, then it kinda exploded and i tried to break things a bit too. The first time we went to the Beast Jose Jeuland picked up the pace and i followed, we got clear at the top but a few guys got back in the somewhat flat sections afterwards but not all of them. at 60 km Mr Riesen passed and i felt like going with him witch i did until the big downhill where it started to rain there riesen was just flying and i was dropped a few meters, he defenetely knew the downhill well and with rain i was feeling like i was risking a bit too much. I still kept him at sight until the end of the lap but in the process i dropped all the pack that was with me. At that time i was freezing with the cold rain and 3 or 4 athletes got back to me a few kms after. the second lap was a bit more uneventful other than the fact that i felt marked by others and yet another big rain with Hail included while going downhill to the last 20 kms (it was unbelievable), i got to T2 pretty alone.

Same with T2, get out of there, in the process i forgot the gels but that didn't worried me much. 4 Laps in a course that despite being very nice didn't fit me well with all the twists and turns, i defenetely like courses where you just put the 5th gear and go with it as long as i can.
Anyway i felt good legs leaving T2 and started running under 4min/km right from the beginning. I felt Someone getting close but that didn't leave me nervous at all, it was Trevor that marked my heels for the rest of the first lap. I immediately passed a few guys in 2nd lap, Csoke was one of them but i didn't knew where i was in the race. I did noticed Scott a lot closer to me although i had a big cushion. Helder, My coach informed me already in the 3rd lap that he ran 5 min faster than me (WOW) and i was in 4th place. Hecht was 5 min ahead and the distance to scott was rougly the same. I felt safe regarding Scott and felt like i could still get Hecht. I did shave a ton of time in the 3rd lap and it was time to give it all. My pace was constant during the run except those sections that had just an insane amount of turns. The last turnaround i was roughly 35-40 seconds to him and in theory i needed the last 3kms at 4min/km to catch him a bit before the finish, ok just hold the pace till the end and you will get him. WRONG, i hit the wall with 2km to go and actually lost a few seconds to finish 60 seconds from Mathias. Close but i was happy with the day anyway.

Better swim, better ride with very hard conditions, roughly the same run as last year produced a better overall race compared to last year, and i cant be unhappy with this right? Especially when there where quite a few Portuguese atheletes to cheer during the race.

A 3rd a 4th and a 5th during the european tour. Im safe to say that this has been a great season. for now ill wait till the end of the month (KPR) and will race in august neverthless.

A big thanks to everyone that supports me especially Vanessa and my Coach that is a lot more that just that.