The day after Abu Dhabi
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Good morning, I just got back from my “day after the race brekkie”. My legs are sore and my body aches as I pay some tribute to one of the greatest races of my career so far.
Let me start from the beginning:
I had been preparing for this race in the US this winter and I flew into Abu Dhabi 8 days before the race to get acclimatized—we were able to stay at the fancy five star race hotel. It was a nice treat to get to relax a bit after all that training—I had over two and a half months of serious preparation for this race so I needed to take it seriously.
The race was an overall big success for me as well as for the organizers—and the crowed was amazing when we flew by.
When I exited the water, I found myself in a bigger group of around 10-12 guys and we formed the leading pack. First transition was smooth and I was on my new Ceepo bike and took it out very controlled but with some good speed. Unfortunately we got led in the wrong direction and we rode an extra 1km, and by the time we got back on the racecourse, our pack consisted of more than 27 guys. That was a big bummer and many of us were very upset—but stuff like that happens so we had to make the best of it. Anyways, I tried to stay focused and got my mind set back for the rest of the race. After maybe 45 km we turned into the Formula 1 racetrack and that was an amazing experience! I felt so good and started to take to corners way harder than I needed to and passed some guys, making the Formula 1 car sound when I rode by and had a big smile on my face… I felt like a little kid playing racecar or something! But no worries, I just played for a short time and then it was all back to serious business once we hit the lonely and long highway back to the center of Abu Dhabi. The two and a half loops were very long, but we passed the Ironman mark at 4.12h… guess you know what that means—we were flying. The group got smaller and smaller and I remember after 3h, I lost focus for a short time and lost the group, so I found myself about 100m behind the guys and since Bjoern Anderson was attacking it took me 15 minutes with a HR of 165 to make it back to the group. That was my decisive move, if I would have given up at some point, I would not even be in the top 10 now. So looking back, I am really glad that I saw the seriousness of the situation and put myself together at that point in time. It was all or nothing. Well, as you know I made it back and dealt with it pretty well.
So after a very long 200km bike leg, we rolled into transition 2 with a total time of only 4:45 minutes—which is about 43 km/h average. Pretty cool, ey? I still felt okay—my legs were feeling good and I had a very smooth second transition, running out in 4th behind newcomer Phil Graves (really nice guy, btw). Some guys passed me and ran out too fast but I was confident and stuck to my plan. When Rasmus Henning passed me I tried to go with him but it was too fast, 3 km later I started making up ground to the guys in front of me and by km 6-7 I was running in 3rd behind Mr. Superman Llanos and Rasmus Henning from Denmark. Rasmus and I are good friends so we tried to work together to get to the front but we didn’t come much closer. At the 10k turn around, the official fell asleep and didn’t point me in the right direction and so I keep running, while Rasmus turned and opened up a 50m gap on me. It took me another 6km to catch him. I was so upset with the lady out there but luckily I ended up making up that lost ground.
Once I caught Rasmus, I saw my chance to pass him and did so. In the last 5km I opened up close to 45 seconds on him and ran into the finish in second place—just a minute behind the winner. What an amazing day out there for me.
I did everything right, starting from the training with my amazing coach Michael Krueger and my good training partners in St. Augustine, FL. I am very happy and blessed to have you guys all around me!
Thanks again for cheering and all the nice emails and Facebook messages I got from all of you! It makes me very happy and proud!
Now I will enjoy 2 days of sightseeing over here and am staying with my friends in Dubai. Then I will be back in Luxembourg for a few days before heading back to Florida for some more training and racing. My next race is the New Orleans 70.3 next month where I will race Mr. Macca —I am really looking forward to the challenge!