Last Saturday, I completed my third and last Olympic distance race for this year in the city of Hannover, which is about 3 hours away from where I live by car. I traveled there with my wife after work on Friday evening and arrived at my brother’s hotel (Hotel Zentrum Hannover), which is in the pedestrian area in the middle of Hannover, only 2.5 km away from the event location. The next day, my race was only going to start in the afternoon, but I went there earlier to witness some of the other races, including the German championships for individuals and the Bundesliga finals for German triathlon teams. Among others, I saw Anne Haug arriving at the finish line to win the women championship, demonstrating her readiness to compete at and maybe win the World Championships in London 2 weeks later.
My race turned out to be the best out of the 3 Olympic distance races I did this year. My official finishing time was 2h:59m:08s, just below 3 hours for the first time. More importantly, I felt I had potential to be faster in the future. The swim was good on one hand since I didn’t feel as tired as I usually do in my wetsuit. On the other hand, it seems, and according to my Garmin watch, that I swam 1.8k instead of 1.5k as I was not swimming in a straight line. I guess I have to practice open water swim more often and I certainly need to buy new goggles that I can see through better. The bike leg was the best of the 3 in spite of heavy rains for 5 to 10 minutes that forced some to slow down or even stop for a short while. However, the rain didn’t impact me. I also noticed that some were slowing down at the 2 turning points of the bike course as I was frequently overtaking some at these points only see them catch up again a bit later. The bike course was an almost straight line that had to be biked back and forth (a bit more than 5k each time) for 8 times making it a total of 42.5 km. At some point, I seem to have been too close to the bike in front of me such that one of the race officials passing by on a motorcycle signaled to me that I needed to increase my distance (non-draft race). At the start of the run, my legs felt heavy. I believe I was running out of energy then. All I had from the start of the swim and until then was about 500 ml of Coca Cola. My first thought when I looked at my Garmin was that I could finish below 3 hours if I maintained a speed above 10.5 km/hr. That’s what I did and I had enough energy to accelerate a bit in the last kilometer which was my fastest.
It was an enjoyable race. I heard that the “Maschsee Triathlon Hannover” has become one of the 3 best Olympic distance races in Germany. I will most probably make it one of 2 races which I will repeat every year, the other one being the Harz Triathlon in Clausthal.