It’s been some days since the race and I started to change my view on my performance. The first feeling when I finished was a huge disappointment. Disappointment? A 9th place finish with a time of 8h43′ should not be a reason for such feeling, but it all depends of expectations and what could have been but it wasn’t. I was at the start line with a reassuring confidence that I had done all I had to do in my preparation. I was better than I have ever been. But then a series of small details can completely change the outcome of the race and that’s what happened.
In a post race analysis, I’m quite proud of my performance. All the work I’ve put in my swimming is paying out and I finally managed to get out of the water with the main pack of race contenders. I did a good bike segment, my best time out of my 4 starts in this race although race conditions were not the best on the day, it was windy out there. I did a very even effort distribution and it was my best power average ever. Race nutrition was spot on and first 10km on the run were fast as well, just until I had a sharp pain in my knee.
So, what was wrong then? For one hand, the competition was very strong. There might not been very well known names this year, but you can compare performances with previous years to realize the level was very high. For example, a pretty unknown Dane (till date) did a 4h23′ bike split, only 3′ slower than Bjorn Anderson in 2011 and 3′ faster than Aaron Farlow in 2012. My swim/bike combination was my fastest here, and still it’s been the year I’ve lost the most time with the first pack.
I did the key error in the last meters of the swim and in transition. I was well placed in the main group but I relaxed a little towards the end, I exited the swim at the back of the pack and then I had some problems with my wetsuit in the changing tent. I lost approximately 40 seconds, but it proved to be too much. There were strong cyclist in the group, they rode very fast in the first kilometers, and there is not much a single rider can do against a group of 5-6, even if they keep legal distance. It happened that all 9 in front joined in a big pack and kept putting time on me, up to 10′. To make things worse, I started to feel pain in my knee in the last 15km and I lost more time there.
Once on the run I tried to push hard from the start and see if I could make some ground, but at 10km I started to feel a very sharp pain in the knee, I realized a good performance would not be possible, and I cracked. It then started to rain, wind was blowing hard, and 30km with negative thoughts can be very long. All I was thinking was that I would take some time to enjoy the finish line, but even that was not possible! I was overtaken with 200m to go and I had to sprint hard to keep my place.
I’ll keep trying tough, next time will hopefully be better.