Heilbronn City Triathlon

You’ve seen the before, you’ve seen the after, now here’s the how:

The peak week had passed dandy. Before I took the final hammock shot, I had completed a 5k on the track at ambitious speed (21min), 2 times 8k with uphill on the bike, and 1k in the pool (19min). Each time I took a shower, I shaved my arms and legs, more for looks than effect, but who knows? On Saturday, I paid a visit to my favorite Turkish hairdresser and had an 8mm machine-cut. Then I drove up to Heilbronn to get my starter kit, rack the bike and explore the location some more. Back home, I re-checked my bag for the umpteenth time, loaded up on carbs and went to bed early.

Sunday I get up at 6am, have a light breakfast and go to Heilbronn again. Sometimes paranoia pays off: I arrive early enough to get a free parking space close to the central race location. That’s one of the many fine things you can say about this race: start, transition and finish are very close together, smack in the town center, which makes for a grandiose atmosphere; yet it is conveniently accessible, with ample parking close by. I take some of my gear over to transition and set up my place. I pump up my tires (I oiled my chain the week before), then I fill the aerobottle and the spare at the seat post with an apple juice and water mix. I place the Garmin edge 500 on the stem and start it. It goes immediately into auto-pause and will start as soon as I move the bike, then go back to pause when I return from the bike ride. This will include the run through transition in my overall bike time, but I cannot be trusted to start the timing manually 😦 . Of course you have to manually turn off the auto-off mode…

I am a bit peculiar with my swimming, cannot stand to wear a top beneath the wetsuit, so my fully-zippered top goes onto the aerobars, right above the racing bib. The conveniently perforated helmet sits on the aero-bottle straw and holds my prescription varifocal sunglasses, which I need for reading the computer and scan the horizon for prey, also known as „meals on wheels“. Talking of meals, I remember to put another bar and gel into my top, on top of the two gels taped to my top bar and the bar under the straps holding the toilet duck. Why all this load on an otherwise near-empty bike? On saturday, I had learnt that the first aid station was 35 km out and I was not sure if I could grab a bottle AND food there, so I went on the safe side. This is one of two things I would change in this event: put up another aid station on the bike leg. After I have taken every possible precaution against bike famine, I click in my bike shoes and put down my runnning shoes. I stick in my well-scented socks (worn for the last five training runs), their tips filled with vaseline.  A last look around, and panic: Everybody else has a nice towel next to their shoes! My only towel is in my after-race bag… So off to the fair to buy an extra towel. There I meet my club mates, Achim and Marc-Andre. Together, we tour the premises again and engage in some banter. Back in transition, I lend my pump to another guy, then wander off nonchalantely. I will never know if he tried to return it. There goes pump #1!

At 9:35, the first 300 participants are sent off on the 2k-course down and up the river Neckar. The ancient Neckar, actually, not the flowing waterway with lots of naval traffic. I have put on my wetsuit several minutes ago and now am trying to get into the water with the second 300-people wave. Ah, yes, my second recommendation to the organizers: allow more time between the start waves, 6 min is not enough time to let 300 people into the water and give them a chance to to swim a length or two…

At 9:41, we are sent off with a siren blast. Aware of my little problems, I stay at the back and start conservatively. After less than a minute, I hit the back of the crowd and anxiety sets in. This is not the first time I experience this: a perceived shortness of breath leads to a state of near panic. Fogging goggles do not exactly help, either. I manage to keep calm and think of the times I have overcome this state, and of the suggestions from the online forum. I turn on my back for a few seconds (luckily, there are not many people behind me), catch my breath and continue with heads-up breaststroke for a few meters. Pretty fast, I am utterly fed up with this whole ridiculous situation. I force myself to remember that freestyle is much more relaxing than breaststroke – your body is aligned flat and your breathing is much deeper. After a dozen meters, I have overcome my psycho phase and settle into a regular swimming pattern. Rather soon, I catch up with the pack again, recognizing the guy with the orange M on his back, whom I had met before. Meanwhile, spaces have opened up and I have no problems moving with the flow, occasionally bumping into or off people who have a different opinion about what a straight line is, or where it goes. After some time, I feel that it might be time for a turn-around, but that is still some way off. Instead, I am suddenly blinded by sunlight. We have emerged from the green tunnel formed by ancient trees on both banks and are now swimming in glaring light. The turn is marked by a triangle of buoys, so everybody converges to one side of the river, rounds the markers and sets off back. Soon, we are back in the shade and I try to swim a little bit harder, going for a long pull phase that starts with the arm well extended far forwards, then pulling back way beyond the pelvis, assisting the propulsion with an effort at leg kicks. Slowly, exhaustion sets in and makes my navigation less reliable. Finally I arrive at the swim finish, in 225th place, not so bad after all. 🙂

That’s all for the moment, check back for the Great Bike Ride Saga and The Rest of the Story!

Über Günter

Manager und Triathlet
Dieser Beitrag wurde unter Sport, Swimming, Triathlon abgelegt und mit verschlagwortet. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink.

Eine Antwort zu Heilbronn City Triathlon

  1. Pingback: Citytriathlon Heilbronn - Seite 4 - Triathlon Community - triathlon.de

Kommentar verfassen

Bitte logge dich mit einer dieser Methoden ein, um deinen Kommentar zu veröffentlichen:


Du kommentierst mit Deinem WordPress.com-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )


Du kommentierst mit Deinem Twitter-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )


Du kommentierst mit Deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s

Diese Seite verwendet Akismet, um Spam zu reduzieren. Erfahre, wie deine Kommentardaten verarbeitet werden..