HUOM! suomenkielinen teksti alla
KMD Challenge Århus, the half challenge triathlon, is now behind me. Looking back, the race was hardly a piece of cake.
The sea was pretty rough in the morning and the water temperature hovered at around +16 Celcius. A neoprene cap could have been a good thing to wear, but as a first timer I hadn’t bought one and decided to forgo it. About 400 swimmers took off simultaneously with me. Every swimmer was about five minutes behind their usual schedule. I ended up swimming for 10 minutes longer than normally.
Swimming in the right direction wasn’t easy, at least not for me. The whole group that I swam with was a bit off track. At some point I noticed that the waves had taken the group far from the straight line heading to the next buoy.
After the swimming, we had to climb up high and steep stairs to the bicycle station. There were supposedly 86 stairs. Running up would have been a good way to get some serious lactic acid action going in your legs – I don’t think anyone did so though. ;)
The biking started off with us going downhill, followed by uphill after uphill. This was the most technical track I’ve ever biked on. I had to keep pushing the brakes and there were several turns on the road. Because of its technical difficulty, this also wasn’t the safest race. The contestants came across each other on the narrow road and the turns were steep. At best we would turn 180 degrees in the opposite direction, occasionally ending up on the sandy edge of the road.
The only upsetting thing about my own bicycle was the seat dropping downward. Before traveling to the race my bike saddle was really tightly screwed on – so much so that I needed the help of a few triathlon veterans to get it off in order to pack it into the bike’s side bag - thank you, Petteri and Jani! Yet during the race the seat inched down a couple of centimeters and I had to constantly be searching for the right position.
During the running section my speed was the same as earlier. I was trucking ahead, not fast, but steadily moving along. I tried to mimic the Danes, who were not just tough bikers but also hardcore runners. For a while I even thought I was doing really well. But my time turned out to be the same as usual. So apparently my little speed increase didn’t amount to much.
As a race, I would say Challenge Århus ranks as a demanding one, especially in terms of the biking section. The organizers wanted to change last year’s bike route to be more challenging and technical. They were also very proud of their demanding track. Let it be known that when I looked at the racers along the track, the Danes were particularly tough. On the streets you could pretty much only see bikers and runners among the sports enthusiasts.
I ranked 11th in the women’s 30-34 race. My swimming time was 47:28, biking 2:58:6 and running 1:51:34. My total time was 5:45:51. Of all women, I was ranked 36th. In general all contestants ended up with times that were at least 15 minutes slower than usually, which should tell you something about the challenge level of the race.
Next year Challenge Århus will be run by the Ironman organization. Let’s see if the bicycle track remains the same. Personally I’m wishing for the organizers to make it a bit safer.
Recovering from the Århus race wasn’t that easy. A three-day work trip to Copenhagen wasn’t an optimal way to recover and that was evident during the Kisko sprint race the following Saturday. There my swimming and biking were decent, but my legs totally froze during the running and came near to cramping again. Five days wasn’t enough to recover from the half challenge, but I had already decided to participate in the Kisko race earlier, so I went for it anyway.
After a tough week of races it was beyond sublime to start my summer vacation. Now I’ve been taking it easy for a few days and can start practicing again, this time for the Joroinen half challenge.
Have an enjoyable summer, everyone! Let’s make the most of it. And best of luck to Markos and Tipi for this weekend’s Ironman Race in Frankfurt!
KMD Challenge Århus
KMD Challenge Århus eli puolimatkan triahtlonkisa on takana. Kisafiilistelynä voin todeta, ettei ollut ihan helpoin kisa.
Aamulla merenkäynti oli aika kova ja veden lämpötila +16 astetta. Neopreenilakki olisi saattanut olla poikaa, mutta ensikertalaisena en ollut sitä hankkinut, ja päätin jättää sen pois. Uintiin starttasi kanssani samaan aikaan 400 uimaria. Jokaisella kisaajalla uintiajat olivat noin viisi minuuttia huonommat kuin vastaavissa kisoissa aiemmin. Itselläni aikaa kului lähes kymmenen minuuttia tavallista enemmän.
Uintiosuudella suunnistaminen ei ollut ainakaan omalla kohdallani helppoa. Ryhmässä, jossa uin, oli suunta hieman hakusessa. Jossakin vaiheessa huomasin, että aallot olivat vieneet porukan kauas suorimmasta linjasta kohti seuraavaa poijua.
Uinnista oli korkeiden ja jyrkkien rappusten kipuaminen ylös pyörävaihtoon, rappusia taisi olla kuuleman mukaan 86. Siinä sai jalat hapoille jos ne rynni ylös juosten – kukaan ei tainnut kuitenkaan juosta ;).
|Uinnista pyörävaihtoon - Stairway To Heaven|
Ainoa omaan pyörääni liittyvä harmittava seikka oli pyörän satulan tippuminen alaspäin. Pyörän satula oli ennen kisaan menoa todella tiukasti kiinni ja tarvitsin triathlonkonkareiden apua purkaessani sen pyörälaukkuun. Satula saatiin kuin saatiinkin pois – kiitos Petteri ja Jari! Pyöräilyosuudessa näin ollen sain olla lähes koko matkan hakemassa oikeaa asentoa, kun satula oli tippunut lähes muutaman sentin alaspäin.
Ensi vuonna Århusin kisa onkin Ironman -organisaation kisa. Katsotaan, pysyykö pyöräreitti samana. Itse toivoisin, että järjestäjät tekisivät reitistä hieman turvallisemman.
Kovan kisaviikon jälkeen kesälomalle pääsy olikin nautintojen nautinto. Nyt on muutama päivä palauduttu ja treenit voivat jatkua kohti Joroisten puolimatkaa.