The Ironman 70.3 East London always takes place early in the season. Because I picked up training rather late again after a long holiday, it was unsure if my current shape would be sufficient. Depending on how well the training was going I would decide whether or not to start.
I was able to do all sessions that were on the program
Soon training down here in Stellenbosch went better, the first 2 months flew by and East-London approached. I was able to do all sessions that were on the program and so it became time for the ultimate test. After all the training I was ready to do again what it’s actually all about; race!
The course in East London is not easy. Swimming in the cold (18 degrees C) and wild sea, cycling uphill the first 45k and also on the run there is some tricky elevation. Although I could have known what I was getting myself into, I think I made it all seem a lot prettier in my head. I guess I forgot how tough it was last year.
The swim went well. I missed the extra tip to catch up with the first 2 fast swimmers, but behind them I was swimming in a nice pace that didn’t cost me too much energy. In 5th place I jumped on the bike, surrounded by all the “favorites”, only Johan Ackermann had so far left the pack.
Mentally it got rough
On the bike it really only started. The first 10k were fine, but from that moment on the climbing really started. Every now and then a short part downhill, but most of it went up. Everyone around me started to hit the gas and my watt meter told me that I’d better not join them. 2 men went off, me behind them and after me another 2 men. I had a hard time keeping my own pace and finding a nice rhytm, especially mentally it got rough as I could not get into the “zone”. Behind me 2 other guys made the connection and then also Kenneth Vanderdriesche sprinted past me.
After the turning point it went mostly downhill and got a bit easier. I could grab myself together and slowly but steadily biked my way forward. I moved up in little steps and suddenly I was in 3rd, this also due to Ackermann getting a flat in front of me. After 90k I was stilll in that position and thus entered transition in third.
The running felt nice and stable. I got into a nice pace and was able to keep this up steady all throughout the run. After 16k Bradley Weiss past me, but soon after that I could catch him again. With the fastest 5k in the end I eventually finished 3rd. I ran 4 minutes faster than last year under the same conditions, that means I passed the test! We are on the right track.