The descent back to Klagenfurt did not disappoint either. All was well... the legs were good... the bike was good... as I came to the the bike turn around and the start of the second lap I check the time... 2:50:xx on the bike... It was as storming first lap..
The second lap was much the same but I did notice my times were starting to slow and by the time I climbed up to Egg for the 2nd time I was sturggling to keep my pace a bit. There was a definite headwind along that section but I was soon on downhill and the speed climbed again.
I did a quick stop in Velden to stetch out my toes and chat to mum and I was on my way again.
The crowds were still on the climbs but I was clockwatching the whole time.. trying to keep the speed up to ensure I would crack a new bike PB to go with the swim... Could I squeeze and get under 6 hours for the bike? The roads were just not downhill enough for that and I came into the dismount line with the clock showing a bike time of 6:03:36 still a new PB (Previous IMCH 2009 6:29:31 ) I was heading for the perfect day.
Droped the bike off, picked up bag, helmet off gloves off, shoes on running cap on, number to the front and off.
So could I do a new running best too? I could not for the life of me remember what my running best was... But I knew my IM PB was 13:07:12 that was the target to beat... I had put a lot into the bike and my stommach was letting its displeasure at my nutrition strategy know... It was going to be slow... but I was going to make it.. I have been in a worse state and made it. The first loop up onto the run course was ok I could run/jog/trot a little I was going quite well... I felt a 5 hour marathon was on the cards and did some arithmetic all looked good... but the brain was not functionning and the answer wrong... I was on schedule for the first 1/3 as I ran/walked down the lake from Klagenfurt the Krumpendorf. I was keeping off the gels and trying to take on more solid fuel. The best for me were the dry crackers which had salt... I am sure this is what I was lacking... eventually the stommach calmed down and I just keep plodding on... The distance markers kept ticking by and I was soon on my way back up to the Klagenfurt town centre... I was now on the home straight 3km to go, 2km to go, and it was time to dance up the magic carpet and stop the clock at 12:53:58 13:14 quick than my previous best in 2009 and 1:54:16 better than Nice last year. I was over the moon.
A quick beer in the athelete tent. pick up the t-shirt and off back to the hotel for a shower and then out the cheer on the next finisher.
A great race... and a great day out with you all as ever
With reduced number at the start due to the new Wave start it was a lot more comfortable getting into the water and swimming away out into the lake. I was in the crowd for once and had confidence in my swimming. Navigation was relatively easy and I felt as I was good progress. Soon I was overtaking people who had started 5 or even 10 minute ahead. The swim was going well.. The first bouy was easily rounded and sighting to the next was as easy as the first. As I passed the 2nd bouy I noticed the boat very close in and a guy holding a blue bouy... Looking down I saw a mid swim "timing mat" under the water. The 3rd leg was not so easy to sight but know where the canal was and using the slight dip in the silhouette of trees I could make out where I was heading. As I entered the canal the problem with the new start became very apparent. The slower swimmers from the previous starts were holding us up and the faster swimmers from later waves were getting impatient. It was not a nice mix...
Swim out was soon in sight and as I came out of the water and pressed the lap button on my watch to move it to T1 I get the shock of my life... 1:14:23 for the swim!!! I have never been that fast.. (Previous IMFR 2014 1:24:44 But it set me up for a good day
The run into transition was good it gave me a minute or two to think what I was doing... Pick up bag, off with wetsuit, towel off, suncream, helmet, glasses gloves, socks shoes and go... And that was about it... quick chat to Barley who was in T1 at the same time.. and then pick up the bike and off the the mount line..
The bike I knew from my little outing on Friday was going well. So I headed off on the bike course felling good. I was overtaking people on the first few kilometres as be did an extra loop to make up the distance and then settle down to the business in hand as I headed down the side of the Wörthersee. When I glansed at the bike computer and saw my speed, I was sure there was a mistake.. the computer was not set correctly with the new wheels or something...It was going too fast but as I passed the 20km marker and my bike computer was more or less agreeing I thought wow... just keep the head down and keep going. I did not feel as if I was putting in a huge effort so was not scared of pacing issues... It was just having a great day... and the weather and scenery was adding to this. The climb up to Egg was good, I just sat up and used a low gear and was at the top in a few minutes. I remembered from 2007 that the next stretch of the road was a false flat and so was not too concerned about my lower speeds on this section... soon it was back to Rossegg and Velden to stat the climb towards the Rupertiberg... Having driven the coures on Thursday I could see it all before me... climb up to Sheifling and then drop to St Egyden and then onto the hill proper. The crowds were great on that first lap as I climbed out of St Egyden and on to the hill. I was soon at the top with the mad DJ shouting at ever female competitor passing "Iron Lady"...
Having visited Klagenfurt in 2007 I sort of knew what to expect. But I had forgotten how beautiful the region of Kärten was, and still is. The flights from Geneva to Vienna and on to Klagenfurt were great, and the bike and baggage arrived safely.
It was on Thursday morning that Little Sister pointed to my rear wheel and said "What is wrong with your wheel?", "Nothing" was the wrong answer and long story short I had to purchase a new wheel set. There were lots of people very happy to offer advise on this matter, for replace like for like to opportunity to get a full carbon disk etc. However I chose a cheaper option and as my results showed it was far from the worst decision I could have made.
The few days before were spend checking repaired bike, and swimming in the lake and generally chilling... which was just what I really needed after the previous few weeks at work.
As ever I was up with the larks on race morning... I may even have beaten them to it. Breakfasted and then took my nutrition to transition and check the bike before coming back to the hotel and collecting my swimwear etc. It seemed like the most relaxed pre-race morning I have ever had.
Once the Streetwear bag had been dropped off it was time to go to the Strandbad for the start. Enough time for a quick "warm up" and then into the start pens.