This was the race that I had targeted all year and was the one race of the season where I wanted to base my year around. After finishing 8th at the World Championship last year I was really on the hunt this year to put myself in the mix to win. Training leading into this race had been almost perfect and during race week I felt ready to go.
Unfortunately the 4km swim was shortened to just 1.5km due to the cold water temperatures. The deep water swim start suited me and I pushed the pace early on to ensure that I stayed with the front runners.
The shortened swim made for quick swim leg with no one willing to hold back over the short 1.5km out and back swim loop. I exited the swim leg in 6th position right up with the front group. A quick transition and of course being careful to make sure that my wetsuit and goggles went into my transition box I hit the cycle leg.
As soon as I started the ride the pace was really on and I had to ride harder than I had hoped for to keep up with the pace being set up front. I only stayed up in the front group for 25kms before the pace being set got to me and I dropped off. After riding well in training I thought that I would be fine on race day but for some reason I just couldn’t keep up with the pace on the bike. The wind started to pick up on the 2nd and 3rd bike laps and slowly more athletes caught and passed me. For the entire bike course my legs just wouldn’t respond which meant that the race went up the road and I was left to play damage control. I came into transition 14 minutes down on the leader, which was well down on where I had originally hoped to have been.
Going over this race in detail weeks before race day I set myself the goal to run 3min30seconds per kilometer which I knew based on past results would be what I would need to run to have a shot at winning. This was of course based on if I came into the bike to run transition with the leaders. Heading onto the run I just focused on running 3.30min/1km and after a while managed to get myself into a good rhythm. For the duration of the 30km run I continued to catch athletes and finally crossed the line in 9th place.
9th place at a World Championship isn’t a bad result however it was far from where I had hoped to finish. However, there were a lot of positives to take away from the race which included a 1hr49min20sec run time which was the 4th fastest of the professional men. Unfortunately it was my bike leg where I lost a big chunk of time and the chance of winning the race.