“Antwerp is a fast course and if you want a pb this is the spot. If you also want to put on a few extra kilos & increase the waistline then this is definitely the place to be. I can now add Belgian waffles and chocolate pancakes to my list of weaknesses.
Antwerp was a race I have been looking forward to for a while now. I don’t know what I was expecting but there was a bit of an initial let down. There was little or no atmosphere at registration, the lack of course information and the distances between race office, swim start, t1 & t2 left it difficult to get around. That said I was here to race.
The swim was a basic 1 lap of the galweelan lake, water temperature was 22 degrees and I felt it. I’ve never felt hot in a wetsuit before and this was a new experience. There were a few lefts, a few rights & and a couple of elbows thrown before the 300 mark.
There were waves starts and the pros went 5 minutes before the first group of age groupers. Then it was 3 minutes between waves. I was in the 2 nd wave. There were a few names I recognised and felt even with the 5 minute deficit and maybe loss of a few minutes in the swim I could possibly catch them come the end of the bike. If anyone logged onto the results, no I didn’t take a short cut in the swim and I too am just as suprised!!26:29.. Maybe it’s the new Blue Seventy Helix I got a few weeks ago. I didnt wear a watch because I didn’t want to disappoint myself on the swim exit but I found good feet and felt fast in the water. I’d be lying if I said it’s with all the hours I’ve done in the pool.
All I wanted to do was the bike. I figured get through the swim, drill the bike and hang on for the run I’d be in for a decent time. The bike course isn’t totally flat but a little draggy which I don’t mind. I found it difficult to get into a rythm but I stayed patient and at about 30k my legs were starting to feel like my own. There was a big head wind on the way out so I had a feeling straight away that maybe my time mightn’t be as fast as I thought.
I’ve been feeling good on the bike this season. All thanks to Tommy the Bike in earl street Dundalk. My Giant Trinity is putting out good times this year.
I know you shouldn’t try anything new on race day but I tweeked the saddle a bit and moved my aero bars. I road for the couple of days before the race on that position and it seemed to solve me slipping forward on the saddle when I put the power on. Also I just went on feel, no gadgets.. I usually have the gadgets but they never rule me. I just put the head down and tried to catch as many as possible. I was told to watch out for the tram tracks but noticed that they were all covered by carpet. Good call from the race organisers as it was threatening to rain. They didn’t stop me losing my rear bottle. I had to go back as it’s a long day with only 1 bottle. It didn’t hold me back too much. I posted a 2:11. The plan was a 2:05/7 but the wind played a factor and I was very pleased with my bike split.
On the 2nd lap I was starting to catch the pros. I knew they were pros by the colour of their tanned skin and lack of body mass. The more I caught the skinnier they got and they just kept hopping on the train!!! No marshalls in sight at all and it really annoyed me. I’d usually put an effort in to lose them but I just figured they were going to catch me on the run anyway. I had my own race and that was against the clock. There were 6/8 guys in a line behind me and I noticed the front 2 were working together coming round each other. Very disappointing, I personally couldn’t do that and one of them put his hand out after the race to complement me on a fantastic bike ride. I put my hand out for the coke and didn’t acknowledge. I came into t2 in 13th spot.
The run course is 3 laps around the city centre and it is lined with people. You can get carried away early on and feel faster than you actually are by the sheer volume of people watching.
Pacing on the run has been a bone of contention with me. The plan was to wear the garmin and to go out a 4min per k.. Lack of concentration gave me a to quick 3:45 and I just stayed at the pace and slightly quicker and midway died but I resurrected myself and dug in to not to waste all my hard work. I’d be letting my family and friends down had I let it get the better of me. It is the support from them that drives me on to achieve. My wife and 1 year old son were there for support. ‘go go go dada’ was the call I heard with every lap!
I was hoping for a 1:20/21 but I had to settle for 1:26. I wish I had enjoyed the run more but sometimes you need little reminders that you’re not as fast as you think. Maybe I left my running legs on the training field. Not too many come out to watch you training!
On reflection I’m happy how I raced. My plan was a 4:05 so I wasn’t far off with 4:07. To sum it up I thought I’d swim slower, bike faster and run faster.. And eat less chocolate.
I finished 23rd overall and got a spot for Clearwater