Halle Triathlon – 1st German ASICS Cup Race 2013 and European Qualifier

 I really learnt why this is true. Coming into the race I felt good – my legs were fresh, I was running again – and running times in training that I was definitely more than happy with! So I left for Germany, stayed with my coach and his family for a night and then carried on travelling to Halle.

Sofia Saller als 2. bei den Juniorinnen - Version 2

When we arrived, we had a quick look around the course: the bike course was a rather boring flat out and back course with a few nasty corners in it. The run course made my heart beat faster – and not just because it went up a really steep hill! It was split into two halves, the first one going up a hill through the woods – a beautiful cross country running course – and the second bit was a flat, straight road heading back to the transition and then finish. So it had both, a technical and tough uphill bit as well as a straight road where you could just get up to speed!

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The weather forecast had predicted heavy rain for the night before the race, but when we woke up the next morning, it was still dry. So heading to the course, we were all in a good mood looking forward to a (hopefully) tough but good and dry race. But then with about an hour to go until the race the rain started pouring down! And it didn’t want to stop. The wetsuits were about the only clothes that were still dry and kept us warm!

And then… off we went. The swim was ok, I probably didn’t swim off fast enough and after a few hundred metres, I found myself just off the pace from the leading pack but a bit in front of the first chase pack – and that is where I got out of the water. After a little confusion in transition, I was on the bike course about 20s behind the lead pack! On my own! My first thought was: this is doable, just go for it! I could still see them in the distance, so I kept pushing hard, knowing that I had a max of 2 (of the 4) laps to catch them, but they saw me all alone, and kept pushing hard themselves. Unfortunately, I didn’t stand a chance against the five girls working together and the seconds kept slipping between me and them. But it still took the chase pack 3.5 laps to catch me! – I guess that means my bike strength isn’t too bad after all.

And then we went off on the run – fighting myself through the people in my pack on the narrow path leading up the hill – I was surprised by how well my legs were coping with the run after the tough bike! But the front pack stayed in front and only by the end I caught a short glimpse of them – too far away to catch.

So the race ended with a 6th place overall and 2nd junior for me – not bad, but knowing that if I’d only had maybe 10s less of a gap after the swim, an overall podium would very likely have been on the cards. The timing system didn’t cope so well with the amounts of water, so the results aren’t quite right (apparently I had a faster bike time than the girls who caught me and a slower run time than the girls that I overtook? :P) but it looks like I probably had the second or third fastest run split of the day. I guess that means that I can run hard and relatively fast off the bike! But as I said, you can loose a race in the swim – and the luck was definitely not on my side cycling on my own and having no one to push me.

But – despite all I can’t say I’m unhappy with my race! I think I proved to myself that I can cycle well (even on my own), that my running is up there with the strongest girls in the country, and even if my swim is slightly off the pace, I can work on that until the next race! So instead of bringing me down, my first feelings after the race were: I just want to get back home and start training properly again, work on my weaknesses and make sure that bad luck can’t do me as much harm next time!

So here I am, having missed out on the qualification for Europeans (which, to be honest, I am not too unhappy about – it would have been the weekend before my exams and that would have made that a hell of a lot more stressful. But that doesn’t mean I would not have wanted it or would not have done it). But I guess it was just not meant to be. Having seen that it wasn’t the speed that was missing, but the luck, I am not really sure what more I could ask for! So for now it’s time to head back to revision and training and work hard – for the next exam and race!

© Sophia Saller 2016. All rights reserved. Impressum