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Challenge Roth Report (with pics) - Jorgan
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Jorgan




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Location: alles was ich bin, alles was ich war

PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Challenge Roth Report (with pics) - Jorgan Reply with quote

Brace yourselves.....

Well, my journey to Iron Distance success was a pretty long one; 16 years in the making, rather like a book where the author typed furiously for 5 years, got sidetracked with a 10-year hiatus and then wrote the final chapter in a bit of a hurry.

After 5 years of racing short-course from 92-97, I took the Queen’s Shilling and Triathlon became just a memory for the following 10 years. It wasn’t until after a double-hernia Op in March of last year that fate decided Triathlon was, in my case, an unfinished book. Having not been able to run for a couple of months after the Op I was languishing in Germany wondering how to get fit again ….perhaps Germany is one of the best countries to be in for our sport. I soon began swimming in the fabulous 50m pool and splashed the cash on a nice road bike, then after those 2 months I was able to run again. The rest as they say… is history. So after a couple of short races last summer I was persuaded by a friend that an IM was a great idea; I thought he was mad, I’d only just got back in to the sport! Twelve months later I found myself looking down the barrel of my first IM dist race. How the hell did that happen?!

Much of the talk in the preceding weeks was of non-wetsuit swims and hot temperatures; as we all know, in the end, the opposite happened on Iron Weekend. The journey to Roth itself, for me, was only a 90 min drive, so no tales of knackered handlebars on cross channel ferries! Ensconced nicely in my hotel with Mrs O, we….sorry, I mean I, enjoyed the Expo on the Friday; I got registered and the weather was still hot. I met-up with fellow TTers, Fatirishman, Barnetrose, Cleo, Larmen, JimboP, Steve Ho et al, and we all knew that race weekend would bring less agreeable weather. Sure enough, Saturday brought miserable weather for the bike check-in. This was a painless process, and I picked-up my yellow bike rain cover, racked the bike and left….hoping it would still be there in one piece when I returned the next morning!

I spent most of the night before not sleeping, drifting in and out of consciousness as the rain pattered against the umbrellas in the beer garden outside…would it ever stop? The answer was not for most of the day. So Sunday morning dawned and Mrs O, JimboP & I wondered down to T1 on the canal side, umbrella deployed and wondering what the day would bring. The Pros, Sub 9ers & Females would start at 0620, with the rest of us going from 0655 at 5 min intervals. I was in wave 4 with JimboP, fsc, Rosey & a few others from TT. As we shuffled toward the timing mat and in to the Canal I felt very little nervousness, and took the chance for the last ‘comfort break’ before the biggest start of my life!

BANG! Here we go. I purposefully didn’t get carried away on the swim start, yet wanted to do an hour or a bit less for the first split. After about 1km we started catching the wave ahead and this is where the fun began; weaving in & out of the yellow-capped wave 3 starters. Approaching the first turn-buoy I found myself in against the rope, damn, I now expected to get squashed at the turn. Fortunately this didn’t happen, and we started back along the 1.9km haul down the ‘back’ of the course, by about halfway I was catching blue-capped guys from wave 2 as well, and the maze of swimmers was becoming increasingly complicated. I tried to catch a draft, but it was proving difficult with all the weaving in & out. Every so often I would check the crowds on the canal bank, and their umbrellas confirmed it was still raining. Just after the final turn I checked my watch and it read 55:xx, could I make the hour? Do I sprint or do I just keep going as I was. In the end I decided to keep pace and see what happened. After 1:00:35 I hit land, I would say dry land….but it wasn’t! Unbeknownst to me ‘rosey’ was also hot on my heels only a second behind.

I'm the swimmer at the front in green cap...with company! About 200m to go.


End of part one....with 'rosey' hot on my heels in the 2XU. I always thought Snugg were faster Wink


The transition bags at Roth are fabric, and unlike my T2 bag I hadn’t bothered to double-bag with a plastic one, so it was on with the wet jersey and because the ground was so wet/muddy I also decided to put the bike shoes in my bag too, thinking they might provide a bit of much needed grip on the wet grass. Once at the bike I also donned the windproof Gilet I’d stashed in a spare bottle behind the saddle. This was a decision that proved to be invaluable throughout the 112 miles. Clattering out of T1 I also bumped in to Cleo who seemed in good spirits; brief pleasantries were exchanged and we were off on the longest & wettest ride of our lives!

Throughout the winter, despite my relatively fresh return to triathlon, I had set my sights on the possibility of dipping under the 10 hour mark. As we passed through the crowds of Eckersmuhlen and then out in to the ‘wilds’ after about 5 miles I was already beginning to think this was a crazy goal and settled in to a rythmn that would ensure I didn’t blow-up on the bike; my course recce last month was an essential part of this pacing strategy. I looked down at my Ergomo and it was showing a NP of over 240w and we hadn’t done any hills yet….slow down!! Soon after this ‘warning’ I settled in to my groove and there was a shout from behind & ‘rosey’ slipped past sporting the de rigeur wet weather jacket and his tasty ‘virgin socks’! Soon after this, at the 12km mark the humming of “663 Squadron” coming from behind signalled the arrival of Mr Red Stealth himself: JimboP; who also soon disappeared in to the distance; it was a shame I wouldn’t have the chance to see him again later on the run. At about 25km between Thalmassing & Greding I was passed by what can only be described as a Peloton of about 15 French & German riders (we all had flags on our numbers) and with a first draft penalty being 8 mins, they were taking a big risk! I let them go and concentrated on my tempo as I knew the big climb at Greding was ahead. Soon after we began the first ascent of the main climb at Greding (Kalvarienberg). Despite the weather the crowds were in strength here, with all the rattles, horns, whistles & pop music you could ask for. About halfway up I spotted another TTer in Barnetrose; once again pleasantries and grimaces were exchanged and it was up to the next aid station towards the summit. I had packed my bar-bag with cut-up Power and Clif bars but the cold weather was making them a bit chewy so I only had 3 bits; I decided the Banana halfs on offer were much more palatable and I decided to take one of these at each station from now on, to supplement the 2 gel flasks I was also carrying. Given my ongoing ITB problem I was also packing anti-inflammatories and painkillers for later in the ride & run. After the aid station I was passed by another fast moving TTer in the form of ‘fsc’…. geez, I was going to need to do some more bike training before my next IM! Shortly after this we came to the ‘alpine’ descent down to Obermassing; this has three very sharp switchbacks and I used this as an opportunity to get my HR down. At this point, during the descent, I was struck with just how cold it was, the Ergomo showing little more than 12 degrees. I was looking forward to the flat roads again, and the chance to warm-up.

The flat section to Thalmasssing


The rest of the first lap continued on in the same manner, rain & more rain….at least it made the newly discovered process of swamping all the more bearable. Then came the world famous Solarerberg at about 75km; I knew it was coming, but nothing quite prepares you for the first time. I could actually feel myself welling-up inside with all the crowds & cheers, it was some experience! I managed to pull myself together and continue ascent to complete the first lap.

Solarerberg


The second lap began and I was still feeling fine and no backache as yet. The second lap consisted of seeing a lot of the same names on the bib numbers as we jockeyed backwards & forwards, settled in to our tempos and saving some energy for the run ahead. By the second time up the Solarerberg at about 160km the field was beginning to thin out, then the end of the second lap took us straight through Eckersmuhlen and then towards Roth itself. A look at the watch showed I wouldn’t make T2 in the 6:30 I’d hoped for, and as we approached the outskirts of Roth I expected a few more minutes would drift past before I would reach T2. The crowds started to thicken from nowhere, there was a sharp right hander and then all of a sudden there was the giant inflatable arch and the glorious sight of T2. I had no time to get my feet out of the bike shoes, so just skidded to halt where a helper encouraged me off the bike and took it away for me….all very Kona I thought! 6:34 on the clock and things were looking marginally do-able for a sub-10; the bike was 5:29:59 (Ergomo readings AvP 205w NP 230w). Again, we had helpers finding our bags and following us in to the tent, this was all very luxurious; I’d never had someone helping me dress & re-pack my bag in transition before! The (dry!) shoes and fresh vest went on and it was just under 6:37 on the clock as I departed transition for my first ever Marathon. The longest run I’d done going in to the race was 2 hours, so this was a leap in to the unknown for me! I was immediately surprised at just how fresh my legs felt, I’d obviously paced the bike well. I saw the Wife as I left T2 and thought it only polite to inform her that I loved her, as I set off as the man condemned to sufferance by marathon.

Starting my first Marathon


Quickly in to my stride I started overtaking a lot of other athletes and it felt oh so good! I think only one guy over took me in the first 12km or so (I now think this was ‘SteveHo’ steaming to a sub 3:08!) and it was during my ‘purple patch’ that I saw ‘rosey’ again, coming back the other way after the first turn, about 2.5km ahead of me. I did however, think to myself between km 7 & 8 that I’d needed to slow things down a bit, despite how good I felt. In fact I did the first 12.3km to the turn in 54:37 (4:24/km pace), I was feeling great and all of sudden the sub-10 was looking possible again. Hmm, we’ll see about that. I continued up a small hill & back down the canal for the longest stretch down to turn two, I hit the 20.8km mat at 1:37:43 and was now beginning to wish it was a HIM! But at this point I was still going at sub 3:20 pace, but 4 km later down at the 24.9km mat I’d taken a further 21:32 (5:18/km)…. oops, things were really starting to slow, and not all by my own design. The man with the ‘you will pay your dues rookie’ hammer gave me a firm tap on the head. I had made the classic schoolboy error! I was continuing with my strategy of taking a gel every 4km and water plus energy drink at the stations 2km in between, shunning the Coke they kept trying to shove in my face. I kept telling myself I had to go slower to be faster, otherwise I was in serious danger of hitting a big wall. It was during this mental pep-talk that I was briefly sidetracked by the bizarre sight of a certain British ‘Sub-9’ aspirant and TTer; he was coming back the other way, managing to pee sideways in to the Canal whilst still running….neat trick I thought, if a little unclassy LOL. You know who you are!

By 30km I realised it was time to move down through the gears to keep going and I switched to survival mode, realising I would never do the last 12km or so in under an hour; I hit the 29.2km mat in 8:59:34. I remember roughly around this time whilst running through Eckersmuhlen that Fatirishman had said you could take any beer you wanted off the ‘Beer Mile’ tables…..*£$# that I thought, what I really need right now is a shot of adrenaline, not frothy weissbier; things were really starting to get taxing. On the way back towards Roth I saw ‘Devonphil’ again too, coming up the other way; well, he saw me, I was in zombie-mode at this point, using all my energy to focus on maintaining some sort of rhythm, I think I managed a raised arm and an ‘alright mate’ (I hope so!). In fact coming back up a small hill through the woods after Eckersmuhlen I passed the 32km marker and saw I had about 43:something to do the last 10km, it’s funny how the mind plays tricks. I thought I might just do it….hell I’d run a 40 min 10km only 3 weeks before in a Tri, I thought for a split second I might do it…. Then came the brutal reality check as the pain signals from my legs were transmitted to my brain; they felt like lead and my calves were starting to cramp. C’mon Jamesy boy, just keep those legs turning over. It was during this period that we had the only brief glimmer of sunshine during the day; in fact it was still dry when I made the final turn away from the Canal for Roth with 5km to go. In the last 4 km the heavens opened again and it felt like something from Raid Gauloises as I trampled down the forest track trying desperately to avoid the big muddy puddles and the annoying number of bikers who were now on the course; god, this was getting hard. I just wanted to finish now (I’d slowed to 5:35/km pace, the final 8.5km taking me 47:08!), but knew I had the last little sharp hill before the final 500m or so. It was useless avoiding water at this point, it was an inch deep in places on the tarmac sections, but I only had a km to go now and knew I’d make it without a single step of walking, no mean feat. I could already hear the PA system cutting though the downpour and saw the final little hill ahead of me, not far now.

What happened next was strange; I ran through the barriered section and in to the arena, which was at this point was pretty sparse as a result of the heavy rain. I had pictured this moment so many times in my mind, I knew from videos exactly how it would look, but where was blazing sunshine and massive crowd? This final 200m finale actually felt more like relief than elation, I heard my name on the PA and raised an arm in recognition, just 50m or so to go to complete the 3:33 run….splosh, splosh and across the line arms raised….but more as an automatic response than anything else. Weird. I ground to an immediate halt and staggered with the cramp, a helper rushed across to see if I was okay; of course I was, I’m British, I’ll walk it off! They shepherded us away from the line very quickly to get our finisher shirts and in to the recovery tent; it was for a few seconds here I had the anticipated tears welling inside me, but this was only momentary. I couldn’t understand how the final 200m had almost no resemblance to how I had expected it to feel. To be honest, I felt a bit robbed. This felt very much like the Scissor Sister lyrics from Can’t Come Quickly Enough; here was the moment, gone in the blink of an eye….even now it hasn’t really sunk-in, like I didn’t really do it, an out-of-body experience. Does this happen to anyone else??

The winner finishing


Me finishing...can you spot the difference in the background Razz Sad


In retrospect it was a really great result for my first IM Distance race and time now for a well earned rest. I’m lucky enough to have an IM Austria slot for next year, and I still yearn for that sunshine, massive crowds in the finishing chute and a 9:5x on the clock, now in 50 weeks, I’ll get that chance again…..just maybe! Time to knock 15 mins off that bike split Wink

This is a fantastic race that's very well organised; it's a shame about the weather and I'd like to thank all the spectators that braved these conditions, it couldn't have been fun! The race and the experience has only increased my taste for IM racing and I'm looking forward to the next one....no 'never again' for me Very Happy

Oh, and remember, if it feels good at the start of the run....it's probably still too fast Very Happy
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Last edited by Jorgan on Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Poet




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool Nice, very, very nice Cool
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CrazyGirl




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Jorgan. A very good result.

Pity about the weather. Not a good weekend for any of us doing an IM across Europe
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tweenster




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice report James, and I get to know what you look like at last. Just make sure when we meet you have a tree growing out your nose, that way I'll be sure to recognise you!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny that you go on about short half ironmen and then do Roth

Insert several emoticons so as everyone is happy!
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Jorgan




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

T-rex of Tri wrote:
Funny that you go on about short half ironmen and then do Roth

Insert several emoticons so as everyone is happy!


You know, I've seen the gripes on Slowtwitch recently (I think that's all they do, genuinely); all the people who say Roth is easy, flat, short....not one of them has done it. Don't forget most of the distance gripes were about the old 3-lap bike course, but hey, you can't deny people their gripes. FWIW I made the bike 180.8km. I seriously doubt there's an IM Dist race in the world that's 100% accurate Exclamation

Oh, and my banter (that's what Antipodeans call it right?) was aimed at events that people called 'HIM' when they are clearly advertised as a Middle Dist events i.e. not 70.3 or 1.9/90/21.1

There, you got your bite! Very Happy
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T-rex of Tri




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jorgan wrote:
T-rex of Tri wrote:
Funny that you go on about short half ironmen and then do Roth

Insert several emoticons so as everyone is happy!


You know, I've seen the gripes on Slowtwitch recently (I think that's all they do, genuinely); all the people who say Roth is easy, flat, short....not one of them has done it. Don't forget most of the distance gripes were about the old 3-lap bike course, but hey, you can't deny people their gripes. FWIW I made the bike 180.8km. I seriously doubt there's an IM Dist race in the world that's 100% accurate Exclamation

Oh, and my banter (that's what Antipodeans call it right?) was aimed at events that people called 'HIM' when they are clearly advertised as a Middle Dist events i.e. not 70.3 or 1.9/90/21.1

There, you got your bite! Very Happy


I think it won't be far out, I do wonder why it's so fast though. Well done on a top class time. Haven't read slowtwitch, sportzhub in NZ has been asking some questions.

I take it firestarter was peeing sideways?
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T-rex of Tri




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And apparently it's officially measured by german tri federation, who would likely be very stringent on that... just interested why everyone goes so fast there?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

T-rex of Tri wrote:
I take it firestarter was peeing sideways?

I think it was Mark Tickner . . . .
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MTriton wrote:
T-rex of Tri wrote:
I take it firestarter was peeing sideways?

I think it was Mark Tickner . . . .


Let's just make up rumours about everyone who goes fast... was it you MTriton? Laughing
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rosey




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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice report mate and I clocked the bike at 7600ft, thats not flat either !!!! can't believe I was right behind you out of the water, and yep, I thought the damn wetsuit was supposed to swim itself too lol !!

Well done on your first IM, great time and I am sure the 9.5x is awaiting you next year.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:00 am    Post subject: Re: Challenge Roth Report (with pics) - Jorgan Reply with quote

Jorgan wrote:
What happened next was strange; I ran through the barriered section and in to the arena, which was at this point was pretty sparse as a result of the heavy rain. I had pictured this moment so many times in my mind, ... ... I couldn’t understand how the final 200m had almost no resemblance to how I had expected it to feel. To be honest, I felt a bit robbed.

That is one advantage of finishing in the dark! For a real great finish aim for he cut off!

Well done by the way, and it was nice to met you.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jorgan - great report mate. Glad it mostly went to plan, I'm not sure you were the only one feeling empty after the race. I was elated at first to be fair, but then just needed to clear out!

It was grand meeting you.
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Jorgan




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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

T-rex of Tri wrote:
And apparently it's officially measured by german tri federation, who would likely be very stringent on that... just interested why everyone goes so fast there?


There are several factors that help fast times:
1. Short/quick Transition Areas (absolute minimum of extra running involved!)
2. Very good road surfaces on the bike.
3. A lot of the run is on surfaces kind to the legs.
4. The crowd support

Oh, back to 'rumours'. I didn't see #48 during the event!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report Jorgan an a great report too: a storming return from your hiatus!
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