Heilbronn Challenge Half
I was really excited to race Challenge Heilbronn since I entered in January. My original plan was to race Luxembourg 70.3 which would of been a home race for me and a course I am very familiar with but due to me not being the sharpest tool in the shed I was to late to enter and the event was already sold out so I found Heilbronn as my my replacement and I am very glad I did!
Quick run down on the course and town itself. The swim was in a river called the "Nectar" that runs right through the middle of the city of Heilbronn. The bike course was an 88km loop with 1200m elevation (shit load of hills) and the run was 4 laps along the nectar and through the centre of the city.
What I learnt about Heilbronn before the race was the locals love a ciggie (whether they are racing or not) and when the hotel says deluxe double bed they actually mean tiny single bed barely big enough for a toddler haha.
I was very lucky to have ASPORT lend me a car for the 3 hour trip to Heilbronn and also have my good friend Mirko come along for the weekend to be my translator/support crew which I'm very thankful for both!
Now about the race, Once the race had got under way I was pretty quickly isolated between the front group and the second group in the swim, I swam the whole 1.9km solo exiting the water in 27.40 roughly one minute down on the leaders. I was content with my swim It wasn't great but it wasn't bad and I was still in a good for position for later in the race.
Onto the bike it was hard from the get go! the first climb was within 2km from the start and from then on you were either going up hill or down hill. It really was a beautiful course with smooth roads and lots of farmland surrounding, but it was probably the toughest bike course I have raced on to date! my legs felt good for majority of the bike. My power meter and Heart rate monitor never connected properly so I was basically riding by feel the whole time. I was unsure if I was making time on the guys up front or not. No one caught me on the bike so I took that as a sign that my bike was going ok. It was a pretty long and lonely 88km and I was happy to be back in the town about to start the run. I was off the bike in a time of 2hrs 27mins.
Starting the run I was in second place and my legs felt good from the start, Mirko was out on the run course to let me know I was in 2nd but I wasn't sure how far behind first or how close the guys behind were. The run course is the best run course I have raced on, The crowds were really crazy sitting about 3 deep along the main road and out all along the nectar screaming their heads off! early on the run I was sitting between 3.45-3.50m/k avg where I felt pretty comfortable. At about 10km into the run I started to see two guys absolutely flying on the run course and I knew they were eating a lot of time into me, at this point there wasn't much I could do as I was pretty much on my limit and I just had to hope I could hold on to their pace once they caught me. At about 12km I was caught by the first Euro and we stayed together for around 4km until the elastic band finally snapped and I was now in 3rd place and I thought the gap was big enough to 4th. around 17km I started to go through a rough patch and at 18km another Euro came flying past me and by now I was pretty dead on my feet I tried to go with him but it lasted all of 300m and then for me it was just about getting to the finish line. my run time was 1hr 19min.
I finished 4th in the 25-29 and 7th age grouper overall. I am happy with this result I feel like I had a solid day, I lacked a little across all 3 disciplines that costed me a podium at the end of the day but to get to race against such strong guys and be right in the mix is all I can ask for.
Race season is now over and Ill be spending my last 3 weeks in Luxembourg training with Willi as he gets ready for Frankfurt Ironman and having some fun in between all that. Thanks to my sponsors for all their support Raine and Horne Huskisson, Peak fitness Huskisson, Innovate air and electrical, Jules and Gray parkes, Just go driving school, Elite energy, Wild Ginger Huskisson and ASPORT cycling for going above and beyond for me while I am over here.
Thanks to my coach Nathan Miller and Willi & Corrine for everything they do. And always biggest thanks to my Mum and dad!
Cheers for reading...