|Silver at ITU Long Distance World Championship Immenstadt/GER|
Sometimes you just want to compete in a race that’s not on your schedule. There’s not a particular reason, you just have to compete!
Dutch Long-Distance team-coach Guido Vroemen asked me if I wanted to race for the Dutch team and not only because he’s a big and long time friend of mine, I said ok, but even more because Immenstadt is like a home race for me, it’s only 45 km from where we reside. We ride to the course frequently when we train as it is such great riding in the area around Immenstadt called "Allgäu". With living so close you don’t have to travel, you can sleep in your own bed and just hop over to race on a course that you know quite well.
Besides all that we took it as a great "training-race" for the Sparkassen Finanzgruppe Ironman 70.3 European Championships in Wiesbaden which happens just two weeks after.
The 4 km. swim was a nice one. We lifted off and I felt pretty smooth all the way. Erika was with me in the group by my side. About 1 km before the swim-finish I last my swim-cap, my long blonde hair was all over my face, on my goggles and in front of my eyes. So I couldn't see a thing and was struggling, hoping that I wouldn’t end up at the wrong side of the lake.
After finishing the race I got informed what happened to Erika and was shocked to hear that she had crashed later in the race and had been taken to the hospital. We decided to visit her after the award ceremony. Happy to report that just before we were off to visit her, Erika had already left the hospital and hadn’t broken anything, thank god! We wish her a good recovery and a much better result at her next competition.
Going out on the run I had the company of a Dutch athlete Mr. Smits, I didn’t know him before the race even though he is one of the better Dutch athletes there are. I have to say that it was pretty nice to be running together. I was down about 6min. on Virginia. So the 30km should be smooth and go pretty well. Though I did get a little issue with side-sting at km 9 and had to run a bit slower, I could maintain a nice pace and started closing in on the Spaniard. After pacing myself and getting the control back, my run went as easy as never before. I was able to close the gap to 2nd place, but knew I would never be able to run down Caroline. So what do you do in a situation like that. Either you just run all out and hope that the one in the front blows, or you pace yourself to that nice silver medal, because you have a major race in two weeks coming up. As a smart girl, I did the last. I also closed the gap to the other Dutch athlete again and we ran to the finish. I think I was smiling all the way the last km.’s. I was just so happy with this 2nd place after how the year had started.
My partner Tommy got a perfect day and became World Champion in the amateurs. I was so happy for him, only 8 months ago he had a pretty serious surgery on the back and received an artificial disc. The Dutch Team coach Guido Vroemen was pretty happy as well, I got a lot of positive reactions. Only the Dutch Triathlon website www.triathlonweb.nl seems to be pretty spoiled. Guess they only want golden medals, they always know, how to write a race report that makes a great result look like much less :-)!
Frank always has a 100% focus on getting the best out of me. He always had and was always succesful. He and Thomas will closely work together in the future. I simply have a very tight relationship with Frank and trust him big. I didn´t realise how much I was missing this in the last three years. As soon as we got back together I felt very different. I am getting back a confidence and motivation that I was missing recently. I am looking forward to work hard and develope further.
For now all the best to you all and maybe I see you next week in Germany at the Ironman 70.3 European Championships!
Yours in sport
(c) Pics courtesy of Christian Friedrich/ www.triathlon.de
and Angelika Kaufmann-Pauger