It was last year when the Holten race cought my eye….but was unfortunately too late to register. Why did I want to race there? I heard many great stories, saw many great photos, and I was sold….even though its 130km from where I live!
So this year as soon as registrations opened I made sure I was there! It was Olympic Distance!
Only 2 weeks back I raced in Stein under un-normal conditions, and was wondering if I was going to recover from the half and be ready for the OD in Holten. Recovery went well, but I did notice that when training my heart rate was high, and I wasn’t getting the pace running as well as swimming that I had before Stein. But it all seemed to be OK just one-days before the race in Holten….I was ready.
Weather forecast was promising….maybe some light rain, but nice and warm 24C….
On my way to Holten I found out over Twitter that the swim was going to be no wetsuit due to over the limit water temperature! Hmmmm….I thought…this is my first race without the wetsuit….how will it swim? Will I be slower? Will it be tougher?
In any case, I was secretly hoping for a time between 2:15-2:20, but what I didn’t take into account, as I didn’t know at that time, was no wet suit, more hills than expected, longer parcourse on bike as well as run….swim is always a lottery!
Just before the race, I was a little less nervous than with other races, but not by much. As I arrived in Holten I already knew this was not just a race. This was a properly organized race, nice decor, the finish area all in colors of the race…blue! Spectator tribunes, music everywhere….wow!!! But then it also hit me that this race was part of the ITU European Premier Cup so no wonder it look great and was organized so well!
The Olympic Distance start was over two heats. I was part of the second heat where 40+ athletes were in.
After picking up my race number, I set-up the T2 and headed over to de Domelaar for the set-up of T1 and the swim start.
Swim was 1.5km long, with a water start, one loop, out of water, and second loop out into T1. Due to the very long start line, there was no killer instinct in the water like with the other races which was nice for a change.
Swim went OK, not great, just OK. I certainly noticed that it was no wetsuit swim, as my legs were slowing me down! In any case, my first 750m were in 13:07, while the second lap in 14:08. Very interesting, just like in Stein I had the idea that my second lap was faster while the official timing tells a different story.
Out of the water in 27:44, which was 1-2minutes slower than I wanted….
T1 was smooth, no stupid mistakes, but still putting socks on and shoes….bike ride started and within the first 500m, I thought….oh nooooo…..my chain was off, but luckily I continued riding and chain came back on!! Pheeeeew…..
As I didn’t know the course, but was expecting the hills, I decided to go full on on flat parts, and see what happens on the uphill. The first hill came, and it was fine…not long but nicely steep, followed by a downhill, and then two more uphills….all in the first round of the bike. Downhills were nicely marked, and not as dangerous as in Stein, so I dared a bit more. On my second lap I knew what I was in front of me, so I went for it…..and when I thought it was all going well…here comes the chain off once again….damn!!!! Why? I realized that I was on the smallest gear and changing front rings….and that caused the issue…well I learned from mistakes and the issue didn’t repeat itself!
Bike ended in 1:09, over a distance of just over 41.3km….so average speed of some 36km/h. Was pretty happy with that considering the 2 loop has just under 417 height meters…..nobody told me about that….when you do the math that is actually very close to Stein that had 900m over 96km…. During the bike ride average HR was at 161.
T2 was quick…and I was off for 4 loops of some 2.5km each…through the city with many people watching. Atmosphere was phenomenal….and it gave me an energy boost. My first lap felt slow until the legs got adjusted to the run. Second and third lap were survival at 24C heat, while on the 4th and final lap I decided to try and speed up. My lap times were interesting….11:17, 11:34, 11:37, and 10:37….
That just tells the story….I could have and should have gone faster on the run. So far I can’t say that in any of my races I have really pushed to the max on the run….I need to get better at that. Period! My average heart rate was 165.
Passing through the finish in 2:27 at first felt as a great achievement, but after some further analysis….I think that should have been closer to 2:22. I am sure that is possible! Don’t get me wrong, I am not disappointed with my overall 37th and 11th place in the 40+ category….just think it should have been a bit better!
This is what I call a finisher medal…
Final official times:
Swim 27:44 (78th place)
Bike 1:09:06 (31st place)
Run 46:29 (42nd place)
TTL 2:27:27 (37th place out of 223 starters)
In the past I always had a 20min difference from the winner and in this race it was the same…as the winner scored a 2:07 on this OD parcours….so as you can see it is not a particularly fast race!
No question about it, Holten is a great race. Organizers, sponsors, volunteers major thank you to everyone for making it such a great event! Lastly, thanks to the people of Holten that came out in masses to support. It was great to run your streets and have you as supporters and water shower coolers!!!! Time permitting, this race will be on my calendar for 2013 again!
As usual…here come the data files..no secrets here!