1st WIN in Triathlon 2019

Just coming back from my last Ironman 70.3 race in Denmark, no time to have weeks of recovery since my triathlon program for the next month was quite full…

Monday 24 June. Early morning I first had a quick recovery run to stretch the legs a little bit after the IM 70.3 Elsinore race. It was quiet on the streets after all the hectic from the day before and the run didn’t feel too bad actually! After the run and breakfast, I drove from Helsingor to Rødby to take the ferry to Puttgarden in Germany. Easy car ride without a lot of traffic (nothing like The Netherlands on Monday morning in rush hour!) and luckily I was allowed to take an earlier boat since I was way too early. After the easy ferry ride and arriving in Germany it was still a long drive back home.

In the next few days I still had a full program of trainings, couple of longer bike rides, some shorter runs and a few swim trainings and then it was Saturday already. My local field hockey club (HV de Terriers) had organised its first Terriers 1/8 triathlon (well not the exact 1/8 Tri distances but close to it)!

Terriers 1/8 Triathlon 2019 - The group of athletes before the startHockeyclub De Terriers logoA small setup with only a limited number of athletes but quite a few from the first Men’s team that probably had a good condition from the just completed competition season. Besides them, quite a lot from the other teams and some athletes that were connected to the club. Just like I was. I’ve been playing my whole youth and many years being an adult, at this club and I still know a lot of players. Quite a lot of my friends are playing or used to play at this club. A few times during the last couple of months I’ve been talking through the setup with the organiser, just to provide my input and knowledge from the Ironman races I’ve been competing in so far.

The idea was to keep everything very informal. No advertisements, athletes on invitation only, no closed roads or official setup. This race was to try out and see how everything went in order to make it better and more official for next year.

Terriers 1/8 Triathlon 2019 - Just before the swim start

The swim was in the local open water swimming pool (‘t Baafje Heiloo) where they have 8 lanes and 50 meter pool length. For each lane we would have 4 swimmers with different coloured swim caps so these could easily be counted by the volunteers. A total of 11 lanes would make a total of 550 meters for the swim part. The water temperature would be around 20 degrees since it had quite some sun to warm up and it was getting into the high summer period. Quite a few people were around the pool to watch and cheer. The time recording was broadcasted to the other volunteers by phone so all the clocks would start at the same time. Pretty smart synchronisation system!

The start. Everybody was in the water, hanging on the side of the pool and then the start signal was sounded and everybody went off. The swim style of the athletes was quite divers, from freestyle, half freestyle/breaststroke to full breaststroke so there was quite some speed differences.

Terriers 1:8 Triathlon 2019 - Bike route 20.8 kmAfter the 11 lanes (and counted correctly by the volunteers) and jumping out of the water (and if required for some changing into other clothes) running to the bikes that were parked outside the swimming pool gates. The swim went pretty ok with a swim time of 10:28 including the run to the bike. Arriving at my bike, putting on my helmet and clicking on my start number, and off I was.

Terriers 1/8 Triathlon 2019 - On my bike, halfway the larger loop

The bike route was first a shorter loop clockwise and then a larger loop anti-clockwise making a total of 20.8 kilometre. Since there weren’t any closed road or official road controllers, we had to bike with the road rules in mind and not as complete lunatics 😉 Luckily most of the route was over bike lanes and just 3 crossings with a normal road. There were unofficial road controllers but only to guide free passage and not to block cars. Coming out of the water as third, overtaking one already while running to the bike and then 2 more on the first few kilometers on the bike, I thought I was on the front but wasn’t completely sure.

Terriers 1/8 Triathlon 2019 - Racking my bikeThe cycling went good, I felt powerful and had a good speed. The short loop was quickly done and the larger loop I could start to control my heart rate a bit better since there were longer straights. I had a good average speed of 37 kmh and considering the narrow bike lanes, tight turns and few road crossings where you had to be a bit careful, my time of 33:47 was pretty good. The bike route finished at the back side of the field hockey club, where we had placed our running shoes before going to the swimming pool. So when I was coming to the ‘transition zone’, stepped off in time and parked my bike. At that moment I saw that I was first athlete so I knew I could take it easy.

Terriers 1:8 Triathlon 2019 - Run loop around the hockeyclub premisesQuickly slipped into my running shoes and off on the running route. The running route was a famous lap around the premises of the field hockey club. A lap that was done quite often when we had hockey trainings as a warming up or condition training.

In the few weeks before this race, there was already a nice little competition going on! Who was going to set the best time for the 2.8 km loop? There are a few fast runners from the first Men’s team and ex-field hockey players that were trying to set the fastest lap. Unfortunately, yours truly wasn’t able to be the fastest… The final pre-race competition was between two fast runners, with just 1 second difference! They took 9:20 – 9:21 (3:24/1km) and I came third on Strava with 9:47 (3:34/1km)… That said, to win the Strava KOM wasn’t part of my bigger triathlon training program so I didn’t bother too much. I tried to take it a few times as part of my progressive runs but it didn’t work out!

Terriers 1:8 Triathlon 2019 - Last part to the finish line

But to come back to the race! For the race we had to run this running lap twice, making a total of 5.6 kilometer. When I came back for the second lap, I saw quite a few other athletes on the route already and some just arriving at the transition zone. The second lap went fine, overtaking a few, and then the end sprint to the finish line! My first WIN! The running time was 22:48.

The total time for the Terriers 1/8 triathlon was 1 hour 9 minutes and 36 seconds. After the race when everybody was finished, we all had a nice BBQ lunch at the club house and talked about the race, hockey and other things in life. It was a nice day and for me my first (and hopefully not last) WIN!

Terriers 1/8 Triathlon 2019 - My first WIN

During the price-giving ceremony there were a lot of prices to give out! Fastest swimmer, fastest cyclist, fastest runner and fastest overall. The fastest overall was me! But I didn’t win the race in the swim or in the run. But I did have the fastest bike lap as well. I would even have the Strava KOM, if I would have started my ‘bike section’ in the triathlon mode on my Garmin on time and not a few hundred meters too late…

At the end of the day going home with a large trophy was a great feeling! It’s standing proudly on a shelf in my house. Next year, I’ll try to defend it to bring it home for the second time, but I assume there will be a lot more competition 🙂 Well, I’ll be ready for it! Who’s fast enough to beat me hahaha!

The next day was back to normal triathlon training with a long endurance bike ride. I decided to include the bike route of the Ironman 5150 Hoorn West-Friesland into this endurance ride. The ride of 115 km took me 3 hours 30 minutes so a nice average of 32.6 kmh for an endurance ride! This ride would be perfect for exploring the route, conditions of the road and any tight turns etc. The Ironman 5150 Hoorn would take place in 8 days, so not a lot would change anymore!

In the week between the 1/8 Terriers triathlon and the Ironman 5150 Hoorn, I would have a couple of 1-2 hours bike rides, some more run trainings and a couple of swim sessions. Nothing crazy but enough to keep me busy, focussed and fit.

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