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Sonntag, 9. Februar 2014

The love hate relationship athletes have with their coaches

Hi everybody,

I had to smile when I read one of my athletes blog's. Cindy and I started working together not that long ago and I am helping her to reach her goal for the 2014 season- IM Arizona.

Cindy's blog reminded me on some of my own coaches in the past and how often I thought they want to kill me. When my athletes complain that the training is to hard I always tell them that I am not here to find new friends. This is actually something that one of my former coaches told my training group when I was a teenager. His name was Willi and I will never forget how we had our very first meeting with him and the team and he said "Gentlemen, my name is Mr. Belgo. I will be your new bike coach." He continued on and talked but one sentence sticks in my head till today: "I am not here to find new friends! We are here to be successful together and if we reach this goal and still talk to each other beside the training we archived more than we can ask for!" 

My approach is a little bit different than Willi's was but I still think he was right to a certain point and the coach should be your best friend and worst enemy at the same time. The athlete should always know that I, as a coach, always want the best for you, as an athlete. This also means that I have to help you to bring you out of your comfort zone and push you to new limits.

I am looking forward to share a great race season with my athletes!

cheers,

Elmar

P.S. If you want to read Cindy's blog click here!

Montag, 20. Januar 2014

January Challenge blog

Hi everybody,

Once a month I am writing a training blog for the Challenge Penticton. This January blog is about my opinion on gym workouts during the winter and if it makes sense to keep it up for the entire year or not... If you are interested to find out what my take is click here!

Have fun reading!

cheers,

Elmar

Sonntag, 19. Januar 2014

New Partner for 2014

Hi everybody,

it's been a pleasure to tell you that I have a new race wheel partner!

energy LAB is a Calgary based company who helped me already in 2013 with their support!



For me as a tall and fairly heavy guy it is important to have a wheel that is stiff enough to hold the power I can produce once I push really into the pedal. The stiffness of the energy LAB wheels is fantastic and this with a competitive weight is what I call clever engineering.

My favorite set is clearly the VC90 mm front and rear. I rode this setup already in Penticton, Bend and Palm Springs in 2013. I set a personal downhill record with the VC90 wheel-set in Bend last year when I rode 115km/h and I have to say that the wheels really impressed me with how smooth they where running at this speed!

I had my first contact with this wheels at the expo during the Challenge Penticton week. I chatted with the guys from energy LAB and they gave me a wheels-set to try prior to the race. I loved them instantly and luckily the energy LAB guys agreed to borrow me a set for the race. From their on I did all my 2013 races on energy LAB wheels and I am very happy that this will continue in 2014 and hopefully beyond that!


Thank you to the energy LAB  team for your support!



If you want to enjoy the "science of speed" in the future use this online code: "ProElmar" to get a $100 discount of your wheel-set and klick HERE!



Donnerstag, 2. Januar 2014

Happy New Year!


Hello everybody!

A happy new year to all of you!

After some easy weeks and lots of food and family time I am back! The goals for 2014 are set, the race schedule is getting there and I am excited to share some great news with you in the next weeks.

I would also like to use the chance to thank everybody who supported me in 2013 and were in my corner!

Training is taking over again and I am very excited that my girl is back in the triathlon world. Jenn will race the Challenge Roth this year and I am happy to help and support her on the way as good as she supported me the last two years!

Please come and visit my blog again soon, to find out what's going on in my world!

Thanks!

Elmar

Samstag, 14. Dezember 2013

Finally! Good end of the year 2013- HITS Palm Springs Champion!

Hello everybody!



Finally

It was a long stretch and not a very easy one. After coming back from my long lasting injury I was really working hard and hoping for a good season in 2013. Not many things came together on my race days and I was starting to doubt myself. Doubting if it all makes sense and also if what I am doing in my training is right. I am working as a coach for almost 10 years and I helped many, many people on their way to their personal goals. Should I be not able to help myself!?
Everything was different this time. The weather in Calgary was cold the last 4-5 weeks leading up to the race and I decided to train 100% of my training inside and not to risk to get a cold or a stupid crash on the snow/ice. Everybody who knows me a bit knows that I am not necessarily a fan of indoor training, but the job needed to be done. I switched a few things around in my training, did less long training sessions but most of them with a fairly high intensity. All felt good, till I did one track session and had massive knee problems afterwards. From there on it was a fine balance of listing to the body and not pushing too hard, but still put some solid training in. A hard session was usually followed by a rest day for the knee. Somehow it all worked out and I made it to the start-line of the HITS Palms Springs. I didn’t really know what to expect. The training felt completely different than the outdoor training, but I was confident enough, that I did a good job during the last weeks.
Jenn and I flew the Wednesday before the race to Palm Springs and enjoyed the warmer weather and used the time to check the courses.
Race morning: It was cold, not just for Southern California. We had about 7 degrees Celsius at 7am and a water temperature of 15 degrees. The ironman distance race and the half were started together. We had to swim 4 laps with a short run on the beach after each lap, the half distance athletes had to do 2 laps, which makes sense when we do the quick math!
Dave is NOT mad at me, he just wants to motivate me!

For the first lap I stayed in the front pack, was 2nd overall after the first lap and continued with my pace while the half distance athletes started to pick up the pace. One other guy, who was doing the full distance, followed them. I could see in the water that he was a bigger guy and I figured that he must be a former swimmer, who will probably not ride or run as fast as I will. I swam zick-zack for most of the other 3 laps, being busy of finding my way thru the slower swimmers who I lapped.
I was 2nd out of the water of all the full distance athletes and bit over 1 minute behind the current leader. He was still in T1 when I arrived there and I left T1 before him.

I started fairly hard on the bike. The course was 3 laps 30km out and back. Like this I could see every 30km where my followers are. After 10-15km my front wheel made a wired noise and I noticed that the break pad was rubbing on the rim. I didn’t know what exactly happened but I knew that I should open my break as much as possible. It was better afterwards, but the rim still touched the break pad at one point. I figured that I will have to ride with a little bit more resistance today as I wanted to- after the race I found out that my front break was broken.  
After the first turnaround I was a little confused when I figured that I had already a 10min lead. I continued to push and did my best to let the lead grow. It was the first time that I was leading a long-distance triathlon and I had the feeling I had everything under control , but I also knew how fast things can change during such a long day, so I wanted to stay focused and get as much of a lead as possible off the bike.  The wind picked up, as the forecast said, and we had some sections with great tailwind but unfortunately also with strong side wind or straight from the front. Especially the last 12 miles were tough. First we had a really strong side wind (I was told that it was up to 50mph at some points) and the last 3-4 miles we had a solid head wind. I rode fairly hard but couldn’t bring my speed sensor over 20km/h.
Head-wind is never nice!
In T2 I had a lead of about 45-47 minutes.
That was a solid lead but I had too many bad marathon experiences in the past to think that this race is over and I have my first long-distance victory. Usually when I start my marathon I don’t feel great for the first 30min, before I find my rhythm and pace. But this time everything was different. I started and was shocked how fresh my legs felt and I remember how I was thinking “if that’s the bad feeling, I am excited to feel how it feels in about 20minutes”.
I didn’t want to risk anything. I had a solid lead and as long as there was nobody in the top 5 who can run a sub 3hrs marathon I should have podium finish safe. It was a 2lap 10,5km out and back course and beside one 2km climb towards the half-marathon mark and the finish was it totally flat. I took enough nutrition at each aid station and slowed down a lot to make sure that I actually got everything into my body and not just chucked the water in my face and not really much into my mouth. I ran an ok pace, but was scared to go harder. I knew I could go harder, my legs felt good, but I didn’t want to risk too much and pay for it at the end. At the half-marathon mark my lead to the second was almost the same and I thought I could maybe go a little bit harder and see how my body feels. At the last turnaround at about 30km Jenn and my friend Dave were waiting for me. They said that I still have over 40min to the second guy. I stopped, gave Jenn a kiss and started the math. If I would walk he would catch me, but as long as I run I should be good- and my legs felt strong.
I ran, but I stopped at each aid-station and beside the normal nutrition I had enough time to talk the great volunteers and to say thank you for being out there for us all day. I knew that would cost me a few minutes in total, but I think it was the right thing to do. How often do you get the chance to do that, when you are going to win a race and I don’t know how many volunteers I passed in my life during the 21 years of racing, without saying anything to them?! THANK YOU to everybody who ever gave me water, coke, gel, bar or whatever I needed, without you all the races in the world wouldn’t happen!
I enjoyed the last 10km a lot, for sure the best 10km I ever had in a long-distance triathlon and for sure the most emotional 10km I ever had in a race. During this 10km I thought a lot about the last 2-2,5years and how much I wanted a good race. I had really a lot of moments where I was very close to give up and stop racing in the last years. I came stronger out of these two years than I was ever before and I will continue my way and continue to work hard for a great 2014! It only just begun!

Ah yes, important side note: I WON!

I can’t thank enough the people who believed in me during the last years!
 First of all Jenn and my family but also my sponsors! Ingolf and Peter from SPOCE. You guys supported me from the very beginning and you had to be very, very patient with me. Robyn from Taya chain was also on board from the very beginning. Deano and Deb& Drew from Huub. Deano, you just know what to do with black rubber! Deb& Drew, you helped me a lot when I first came to Canada and I appreciate that a lot! Last but not least, Kelly from EnergyLab. You helped me in the 2013 with the fastest wheels I have ever ridden and I am looking forward to start into 2014 with you! Thank you!

I will be back soon!

Montag, 23. September 2013

Racing in the fridge! Leadman in Bend

Hi everybody,

I decided to write this blog in English as it is starts to become just easier for me than writing in German and beside that my local community is giving me a hard time that they can't read the German blog's (Rick this is JUST for you!).

The Leadman in Bend was a race I wanted to do already last year but couldn' t make it happen, but I put it on my bucket list for 2013. With having a bad day at the Challenge Penticton I wasn't sure if doing another full Ironman distance race would be something I should try instead of the Leadman. The Leadman race is a bit different regarding the distances. It's a 5km swim, 223km bike and a 22km run. Just looking at the numbers I have to say it plays into my strengths, but who of you knows the area around Bend in Oregon knows that it is not necessarily flat. Jenn and I decided that we will drive to Bend. We packed the car with everything we needed and made a 15hrs road trip. The week leading to the race was a bit stressful. My mum and her husband arrived on Monday to visit us for the very first time, before the started their 4 weeks road trip thru western Canada. Beside that I had a tummy bug and a sore throat, so not necessarily the best things to have prior to a race! We arrived Wednesday evening in Bend and our first impression was great. A beautiful city and everything I would need to be a happy boy. It's the first place in the US where I would move directly without even thinking twice about it, but back to the race.  The swim was at Cultus lake, which is about a 45min car drive out of Bend. The water was about 16 degrees, which was great, considering that the air on race morning was about 3-4 degrees. The forecast said it will be a cool day with a 30% rain chance. So it was all about dressing warm and as much rain proof as possible. The swim start was in 3 waves and each wave had about 100 athletes. I had the smoothest start I ever had in a triathlon. I lead the race for the first 400m until a guy passed me in a speed where I didn't even consider to follow him. He took off pretty quick. The water was steaming , my goggles fogged up and I had trouble to see the bouys and the lead-kayak. The course was a 2 loop course with an out and back. At one point I looked around and I had a 75-100m lead to the guys behind me and was about 50m behind the first guy and I don't know why but from one second to the next I had this song in my head. I should feel a shame that I actually know it but it stuck with me all day. If you want to know which song it was, check this.
I don't know how that happened but I swam too far. I had trouble to see. As I mentioned earlier, my goggles fogged up, the buoys looked all the same, I just breath to the left said- the buoys were on my ride side and all over all the water was steaming cuz it was warmer than the air. So I just swam past the turn around buoy and realized it after about 100m. I looked around and saw 3 guys in kayaks sitting close to the buoy to make sure that everybody turns around and doesn't cut the course. I am aware that first of all it is my responsibility to make sure that I find the right way during the race. But it still kinda pisses me off that this 3 guys did nothing while they were seeing me swimming too far. When I stopped they looked at me and one of them said, "You swam too far dude, the turn around is here!". I couldn't believe it and was pissed about myself and the guys in the kayak and all the guys who I saw swimming around the buoy at that point. With an extra adrenaline kick I started to hunt the others down. I had probably my best swim ever as swim shape is very good at the moment and with this little bit of extra anger I had to make sure that I didn't push too hard. I finished the swim in 5th or 6th and swam around 200m more than the others.
The bike course started with an out and back before we had to ride 2 loops around Mt. Bachelor. After the out and back I was sure that I sat in 6th position, I felt good, not too cold (I was wearing a windproof shirt, a wind proof vest, fleeced arm and knee warmers, shoe covers and mittens- which caused my slowest T1 ever). My game plan was to ride to first 100km not to hard to be able to go harder on the second lap. There is one long stretch which is about 30-35km uphill. It starts really easy and you can push hard and it gets steeper and steeper to about 9-10% and it end's close to the ski station at Mt Bachelor. The downhill part is fun, a 2 lane highway style road and no major turns... I decided on the top that it's time to move and started with a new downhill PB. 115km/h! I have to thank at this point Ingolf and Peter from SPOCE bikes, Kelly from energyLAB wheels and Robyn from TAYA. Your guys material is awesome and I wouldn't go that fast if I wouldn't have a 100% trust into your gear! THANK YOU!
The bike ride was- like the swim- a very lonely time. If there were 50 spectators on the course it was a lot. Of course there were the aid-stations with some more people, but I will write about them in a bit.
It started to rain and the temperature dropped, but there for did the wind pick up. All over all a really pleasant experience.
Back in Germany I used to ride with some pro cyclists during the winter and one of their rules was: "if you are cold, ride a bit faster!" That's what I did. Problem is, when you have still about 100km to go, it is cold on the flats and the uphill and even colder on the downhill to get all the energy back into your body. I knew I am going too hard but going much slower was not an option as it was just too cold for me. Normally you can rest a bit on the downhills, but here you had to push the paddle just to stay warm. It rained and stopped again, that's how it was all the time till I had the final, about 25-30km long, descend into Bend. At this point I was mentally already out of the race. I was sooo cold, I haven't had any feeling in my feet since the swim, my clothes were wet for hours and my muscles were just tight and tired. I rode into T2 and was surprised that I was still 10th overall. Some guys passed me during the last 60-70km and I thought I was clearly out of the Top10, but I guess I wasn't alone with battle against the weather. I stood in T2 talked to Jenn and told her that I am empty.
This bike course took everything out of my body I had to offer that day. I think I was well prepared for the course but the weather made it just so much harder, that I wasn't able to handle it. I pulled to cord and called it a day. I don't regret this decision. I was a little bit sick before the race and have a cold now. I left everything out there, but it was not enough to finish. Of course it is nicer when you cross the finish line, but when the conditions are so extreme and the distances are so long ( I still raced for 227km that day) you can't control everything.
Instead of a medal you get a belt buckle at this race. When you finish under 9hrs you get a big one and under 11hrs a smaller one. During the race breifing the race director said, that he handed out just over 50 big buckles in 2012 and that he hopes to handout more this year. In fact he handed out 0! The winner time was 9:05hrs. That also shows how hard this race was on that day. My deep respect to everybody who crossed the finish line this year!

I would also say something about the race organization. The potential of this race is huge. The community of Bend is outdoor active and the set up to have a great race seems perfect! At the same time the community doesn't seem to be included into the race. It starts with easy things, that I didn't see any advertisement for the race. There was no pasta party. Not that the food is usually so great, but I just think when you pay a few hundred dollars, that should be part of the experience for the athlete. Spectators were basically not welcome at the swim start in the morning. All athletes were brought up to the lake by bus and they had 2 buses for spectators. If you choose to do that you had to wait till about 11am (since about 5:00am) till they got driven back to the finish area again. My personal opinion on the volunteers during the swim got clear I guess. The aid stations were probably the worst I have ever experienced on a race. First of all I don't want to blame the people at the aid stations for it. I appreciate that they stood for hours and hours outside, were probably as cold as we were and tried to support us! BUT, I think nobody told them how that should/could work efficient. Just a few examples. The Gatorade bottles they supplied had still the little plastic covers under the lid. Because of that I had to stop twice, take my mittens off, take this thing somehow off- not so easy with ice fingers- and continue my ride. That this is not really helpful to maintain your rhythm. Also, if you wanted water you had to stop to refill your bottle, as there were no water bottles provided. The same if you want a gel or banana, stop and grab it. That reminded me on a RTF in Germany. These are bike rides organized by different clubs. It is not a race and the roads are not closed, but they provide aid stations where you can stop to fill up your bottles and grab a gel or bar. These are great training rides and I always liked to do them, but for a race, where most people paid several 100 dollars to participate, that is not exceptable in my eyes! As I said before, I don't want to blame the volunteers for that. They did their job as good as they could under given circumstances, but I see a huge need for improvement on the side of the race organization.

 That's it! I have nothing else to say! Would I go back and race there again? I don't know! Did I love my time in Bend? YES! It's a place where I probably would have never went to otherwise and it seems to be an awesome place and I can imagine to go back for some training!

So my first real English blog. I am sure there are tons of mistakes in it but (RICK) at least you get an idea what I am talking about :)!

Thanks for reading this and stay tuned.. the season is not over yet!

Dienstag, 27. August 2013

Challenge Penticton..I will continue to chase my dream!

For the English version please scroll down!

Hallo zusammen,

nun ist es gut zwei Tage her, dass ich die Finishline der ersten Challenge Penticton ueberquert habe, und noch immer weiss ich nicht recht was ich ueber diesen Tag denken soll, aber ich fang am Besten mal von vorne an.

Die Tage vor dem Rennen waren super, Penticton ist wie immer ein wunderbarer Ort um Zeit zu verbringen und noch wichtiger, mein Koerper fuehlte sich gut an und ich war "race-ready"!

Am Wettkampf morgen, war es windig, windiger als ich erhofft hatte. In der Nacht vor dem Rennen, kam ein Sturm auf und die meisten Bojen des Schwimmkurses, waren nicht mehr an ihrem Platz. Mit deutlich weniger Bojen als normal, fiel um 06:15 der Startschuss und schon auf den ersten Metern war klar, dass es ein anspruchsvolles Schwimmen werden wuerde. Die Wellen waren so hoch, dass ich probleme hatte mich zu orientieren und die Stroemung, die durch den Wind verstaerkt wurde, macht das gerade aus schwimmen nicht einfacher... Nach ca. 600-700m atmete ich eine volle Ladung Wasser ein, und musste mich kurz darauf zum ersten Mal uebergeben... nicht weiter schlimm, dachte ich und schwamm weiter. Die erste Gruppe schwamm eine andere Linie als ich und mein Plan, das wir an der ersten Wendeboje zusammen finden wuerden, ging nicht ganz auf. Ich befand mich hinter der Hauptgruppe mit 2 weiteren Schwimmern. Auf dem Weg zurueck Richtung Wechselzone, schluckte ich ein weiteres Mal Wasser anstatt Luft und liess auch das letzte bisschen Mageninhalt im Lake Okanagan. Auf Platz 10 liegende rannte ich in die Wechselzone und war geschockt, als ich hoerte, das ich bereits 4min Rueckstand auf die Fuehrenden hatte. Die Schwimmzeiten waren von allen Athleten besonders langsam an diesem Tag, aber mit 1:02Std, habe ich einen neuen persoenlichen negativ Rekord aufgestellt. Mit meiner bis dahin langsamsten Zeit waere ich als 1. aus dem Wasser gestiegen, aber nicht an diesem Tag.
Alle hatten mich gewarnt, dass das Rennen nicht auf dem Rad entschieden wird und das ich auf keinen Fall vor dem out and back (km 110) anfangen soll hart zu fahren. So bin ich die ersten , relativ flachen und aufgrund des Rueckenwinds schnellen, 55km mit angezogener Handbremse gefahren. Ich schloss dann zu einer dreier Gruppe mit Lothar Leder, Adam O' Meara und Dan MacIntosh auf. Mir war klar, dass die drei wohl bessere Kletterer sind als ich es bin, daher entschloss ich mich doch etwas Dampf zu machen, damit ich mit einem kleinen Vorsprung in den ersten 12km Anstieg gehen konnte. Der Richters Pass, ist einer von zwei laengern Anstiegen auf dem Kurs, und viele streckenerfahrende Athleten warnten mich, das viele dort bereits viele Koerner lassen. Ich kurbelte ziemlich entspannt bis zur Spitze und mein Plan ging fast auf, da ich nur kurz hinter zwei der bereits genannten in die erste Abfahrt des Tages stuerzen konnte. Nach dem Anstieg folgen die sogenannten "7 bitches". Eine Reihe von Anstiegen, die nicht besonders lang sind, aber dennoch relativ viel Kraft kosten. Es kam wie erwartet, die Jungs fuhren mir an den Anstiegen davon und ich kam auf den Abfahrten wieder naeher. Dennoch konnten sie einen 1-2min Vorsprung rausfahren. Es folgte eine laengere, relativ flache Strecke, die aber aufgrund des Gegenwindes, nicht gerade einfach war. Am Ende dieses Teilstueckes gab es eine Verpflegungstelle, bei der ich eine Flasche Wasser aufnahm. Die Wasserflaschen waren keine normalen Radflaschen, sondern Einweg Plastikwasserflaschen, die nicht 100% in einen Flaschenhalter passten. Das sollte mir wenig spaeter zum Verhaengnis werden. Kurz nach der Verpflegungstelle, fuhr ich uber eine Holzbruecke und verlor meine einzige Flasche. Mit dem Glauben, dass die naechste Verpflegungstelle in ca. 15km an der "special needs bag" Ausgabe ist, bin ich weiter gefahren. Dies war aber leider nicht der Fall und so musste ich weitere 15-18km bis zur naechsten Verpflegungstelle fahren. Am Fusse des letzten Anstiegs des Tages bekam ich eine neue Flasche. Ich nahm wieder nur eine Flasche, da ich fuer die kommenden knapp 10km berg auf kein unnoetiges Gewicht am Rad haben wollte. Das Wasser in der Flasche war eiskalt und direkt nach dem ersten grossen Schluck bekam ich einen kurzen Magenkrampf. Ich entschloss mich dazu ein bisschen zu warten damit das Wasser waermer wird. Leider verlor ich auch diese Flasche auf dem Weg und so bin ich ca. 50km mit einem Schluck Wasser gefahren- das war der Anfang vom Ende. Auch wenn ich dann auf den letzten knapp 30km versucht habe dies wieder auszugleichen und zwei Flaschen getrunken habe, war mein Koerper angeschlagen.
In der zweiten Wechselzone angekommen, sackte mein Kreislauf in den Keller und ich sah nur noch Sterne fuer einen Moment. Mit einem Schwindelgefuehl startete ich den Lauf und machte meinen Weg von Verpflegungstation zu Verpflegungstation. Nach 8km war mir aber so schwindelig, das ich keine andere Wahl hatte, als mich in den Schatten zu legen, viel zu trinken und etwas zu essen. Ich konnte nur darauf hoffen, das mein Koerper sich wieder erholt und ich das Rennen fortsetzen konnte. Wie lange ich dort genau verbracht habe, weiss ich nicht genau, aber es muessten so ca. 20-30min gewesen sein. Ich entschloss mich weiter zu laufen und mich in jeder Verpflegungstation gut zu verpflegen. Nach ca. 15km fuehlte ich mich wieder ganz gut und konnte sogar, kurz nach dem Wendpunkt wieder Athleten ueberholen, die den Lauf zu hart begonnen hatten und auf den welligen Kilometern vor dem Wendpunkt Probleme bekommen haben. Bei Kilometer 28 ging es mir dann aber wieder schlechter und ab Kilometer 30 war Wandertag! Ich musste noch zwei Mal fuer ca. 10-15min stoppen, da ich wieder angefangen hatte Sterne zu sehen. Mein Koerper war ganz klar am Ende und auch mein Geist, war nicht mehr undbedingt davon ueberzeugt, dass ich dieses Rennen unbedingt zuende bringen muss. Nach dem ich aber kurzzeitig beschlossen hatte, dass dies mein letztes Rennen sein sollte, dachte ich mir, das ich das dann wenigstens zu Ende machen muss. Wie das immer so ist, weiss ich nun, einige Tage nach dem Rennen, dass weitere Rennen folgen werden.
Es ist aber ganz klar, dass dies alles in allem nicht zufrieden stellend ist! Mir war im Vorfeld klar, dass ich frisch vom Rad steigen muss, damit ich einen guten Marathon zustande bringe. Das ist leider aufgrund der Tatsache, dass ich nicht genug trinken konnte, nicht passiert. Mit 3Monaten Lauftraining kann ich leider zum jetztigen Zeitpunkt nicht viel mehr erwarten, wenn man bedenkt, das ich fast zwei Jahre kein zielgerichtetes Training in der dritten Disziplin durchfuehren konnte. Es ist auch frustrierend zu sehen, das ich auf dem Rad vorne eigentlich mitspielen kann und einen Platz in den Top 10 behaupten kann und dann aber eine solche Position nie ins Ziel bringen kann. Ich habe dieses Jahr alles auf dieses eine Rennen gelegt und wuerde rueckblickend meine Vorbereitung wieder genau so machen. Ich muss vielleicht noch etwas haerter auf mein Glueck einpruegeln, damit ich endlich mal auch ein anstaendiges Ergebnis ins Ziel bringe. Ein ganzer Winter gezieltes Lauftraining wird dabei sicherlich sehr helfen! 
Ich glaube an mich und ich danke allen denen, die ebenfalls an mich glauben und mich auf meinem Weg unterstuetzen. Fuer euch und fuer mich, werde ich meinen Traum weiter verfolgen und am Ende mit einem Lachen dort stehen, wo ich stehen moechte!

Zum Schluss, moechte ich dem ganzen Team der Challenge Penticton herzlich danken. Ihr habt ein super Rennen auf die Beine gestellt und ich freue mich schon auch im kommenden Jahr in der Rennwoche in Penticton zu sein!

Es sind 25 Tage bis zum naechsten Rennen. Dem Leadman Tri in Bend, Oregon! Nach dem Rennen, ist vor dem Rennen...let's chase the dream!

Viele Gruesse,

Elmar


 
Hi everybody,

Now it's already 2 days ago that I crossed the finish-line at the first Challenge Penticton, and I still don't really know what I should think about this day, but I will start at the beginning!

The days before the race were great. Penticton is just a perfect place to host a race and I enjoy spending time there, but more important than this was, that my body felt great. I was "race-ready"!

We had a lot of wind on race morning, more than I would have liked. It was so windy the night before the race, that most of the buoys had to be reset in the lake, as they got blown away.We started at 6:15am, and I could feel within a few hundred meters, that this swim will be hard. We had a some waves and big gabs between the buoys and I had trouble with the orientation. After about 600-700m I caught a wave instead of air, and had to throw up directly. Not the end of the world, but I lost my rhythm a bit. One group was going a different way to the first big turnaround buoy and I thought we will go around the corner together, but it didn't really work out for me. So I was alone behind the first group, with two other guys on my feet. On our way back to T1 did I swallow another full mouth of water and with that I left the last little bit of food that was in my stomach in the beautiful Lake Okanagan. I heard that I was 10th out of the water, but was shocked, that I was 4min behind the leaders. All swim times were not really fast on that day, but I set a personal negative record with a 1:02hrs!

Everybody told me to save energy as this race will be decided on the run and not on the bike. I was told to ride with a moderate pace to the "out and back", which is at about 110km. I followed the advice I got and didn't push really hard, but with a strong tailwind and some anger in my body I flew over the first stretch of the course until I caught up to Lothar Leder, Adam O' Meara and Dan MacIntosh. I knew that I was the weakest climber of our little group, so I decided to ride hard to get a little gap before the first 12km climb. The Richters pass is one of two longer climbs on the course, and many athletes who raced the course before told me that lots of athletes over-pace here for the first time. I had my gap and it worked out perfect. I was third of our little group of fourth on the top of the climb and didn't had to go too hard. The Richters pass is followed by a number of shorter climbs and rollers, called the 7 bitches. Everything happend like I expected it. They guys rode away on the uphill sections and I came closer again on the downhill sections. All overall  Adam and Dan dropped me and gave me about 1-2 minutes. After the "7 bitches" is a longer almost completely flat stretch, which wasn't as easy as I was hoping for, as we had a major headwind. At the end of this section was an aid-station and I took 1 bottle of water. The bottles were this cheap water bottles, like you can buy them at the grocery store, and they didn't really fit into the bottle cage holder on my bike, which should turn into my biggest problem of the day! Shortly after the aid-station was a wooden bridge and I lost my only bottle. I thought it is not the end of the world, as I was thinking that the next aid-station will be just 15km away at the "special needs bag" place. Unfortunately that was not the case and I had to ride another 15-18km to the next aid-station without any liquid on my bike. On the bottom of the last climb of the day was another aid-station and I was happy to get something to drink. I took again just one bottle, as I didn't want to carry the extra weight up the climb. The water was basically ice-water and I got directly a stomach cramp because of the temperature. I decided to wait a bit until I drink again, but before this happend did I lose my bottle again. This was the final turning point for me! I tried to drink as much as possible at the following aid-stations, but my system was knocked on.

My blood pressure went down, when I arrived in T2 and sat on a chair to put my running shoes on. I could just see stars for a moment and started my run feeling dizzy and not well at all. I decided to plan from aid-station to aid-station but almost blacked out at the 8km aid-station. I had to sit down in the shade and drink and eat and cool down my body. At this point I could just hope that my body will recover a bit and that I will be able to continue the race. I have no idea how much time I spent there, but I guess around 20-30minutes. I decided to run as good as I can and walk thru the aid-stations, and I started to feel better at about the 15km mark. After the turnaround I started passing other pros who had a bad day too and it definitely gave me little boost. The problems came back at about 28km into the marathon and from km30 I started to finally walk. I had to stop two more times for about 10-15minutes as I was just too dizzy to walk in a straight line. My body was done for the day, but my mind wanted to finish this race. I said more than once that this will be my last race ever and that I hate my life, but now two days later the world is my friend again and I am planning new races and a 2014 season :)!

All over all it was not what I wanted to happen on this day! I knew before the race, that I need a good day on the bike, to have a good marathon. This didn't happen because of the hydration problem I had. With just 3months of proper run training I couldn't expect much more. I wasn't able to have a focused run training for almost 2 years and a good marathon just doesn't happen without a long-term training. It really frustrates me to see that I have the potential to get of the bike in a good position, but not being able to stay there and bring it home. I focused my full year on this one day and looking back I have to say that I didn't do a lot of mistakes and I would do my whole preparation, leading to the race in the same way again.
Maybe I just have to be more patient with myself and with a good run training over the winter I will get there.

I believe in myself and I would like to thank you everybody who believes in me too and supports me on my journey! I will chase my dream, for you and for myself and will have a big smile at the end and be exactly where I want to be!

Finally, I would like to thank the entire team of Challenge Penticton. You guys did an amazing job. You created a fantastic atmosphere during the entire race week like I have never experienced at a race in North America before. I am looking forward to come back in 2014!

All the best,

Elmar