Challenge Roth

Challenge Roth - Full Distance

The plan this year when sitting down with my coach Adam Gordon was to not race much in my first professional year of racing, but to go in prepared and not rushed from racing too much. My preparation for Roth had been really good with only a week off running. This happened a few weeks out due to a niggling achilles. The time off was more precautionary than anything, and to be honest my numbers across the board were looking to good.

I arrived in Europe two weeks before the race and settled into home away from home in Beaufort Luxembourg. Jet lag settled quickly and I competed in a teams sprint Triathlon the week before Roth. I completed the swim and run which I felt worked really well in my lead up. Race Day quickly arrived and I was quite calm pre-race. A little out of sorts due to not being able to leave the Transition area to warm up and also not being able to jump in the water for a warm up swim either.

Swim - River 3.8km

- 1500m straight turn

- 1900m back down to next turn

- 400m to finish

Time - 54:33

The swim start was a mixed bag with 45 Professional males 30 or so 65yr+ athletes and 100 sub 9 hours age groupers. It was a congested swim start and I struggled to find a good rhythm for the first 1000m questioning my ability as I was feeling terrible. I found some clean water and with some positive self-talk, I started to feel good and was picking up bunches of athletes along the way. I exited the swim in 54:33 not knowing my time on the day, but I knew I had an average swim. The swim course was lined with 15,000 spectators so when exiting the water the crowd was deafening.

A smooth T1 and I was off for a little spin on my bike:

Bike - 180km

Smooth fast roads

Undulating terrain

1400m elevation

The first 5km I rode solo just trying to settle my heart rate and prepare myself for a big day ahead. At about 10km an Austrian fella came around and I paced off the back of him as we bridged to the group ahead. I rode with the bunch which swelled by the time we hit the famous Solarer Berg climb (70,000 spectators on a 1km climb). Unless you have experienced this first-hand, words will not do it justice. One of the best experiences of my life.

At about the 85km mark I went through a rough patch. The wind had picked up a bit but it was quiet cloudy still. I let the group go which had split all over the place anyway. I sat at my planned Hr and watts for the rest of the bike leg and came in with a 4:41:28 bike split N.P-267w Best ave 20min 297w

T2 was smooth and fast and in no time I was off on the final discipline of the day:

Run - 42km

Road, cobbles, and dirt track

Undulating terrain

400m elevation

The first 1-2km is downhill giving you a false sense of your running legs. I hit the first turn around at 5km smack bang on target marathon pace. At km 7 on the way back I had a quick spew and toilet stop. I didn’t panic knowing I still had a long way to go. I went back through town and at km 11 I was still on pace for a 3hr marathon. By now the clouds had moved and it was starting to heat up. I stayed vigilant at every aid stations taking in some calories and keeping myself cool. By the time I hit the far turn at km 15 my HR was a touch high but my pace was going backwards. Unfortunately, this continued for the remaining 27km. I shuffled from aid station to aid station getting slower and slower I crossed the line with a poor 3:39:08 marathon, not even close to what I believe I am capable of. I was empty and absolutely cooked going into the recovery tent. 4 Iv bags later and I was feeling somewhat normal again.

After having a week to reflect on my performance I am far from happy with the result 23rd professional from 45 starters. I am not one for finish times but a 9:18:23 is not what I came for in Roth. Yes, I could have backed off the start of my marathon and may or may not have went sub 9 hours, but to be honest it would not have made a difference to my goal of being amongst it. I just wanted to be somewhat competitive with the field that had assembled and an 8:59 would have given me the same feeling.

Time for some rest and on return to Australia I turn over a new leaf with a move down the coast to Huskisson and the addition of Baby Miller in late December.

Thanks for reading

Nathan Miller

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