New life at Playitas is sweetDecember 8, 2010
My family and I has moved to my favorite training resort Playitas on Fuerteventura (Canary Islands) for the next six months. We moved on November 1 and we have not missed life in Denmark yet. We will stay here while our new house is being build in Denmark.
There are several reasons for this choice, and other than the obvious that it is much better to train here during the Danish winter, we will have more time as a family and we all need that very much. The first month here have exceeded all our expectations and we really like it down here.
The kids, Caroline (5) and Emilie (3) have done well on the big move and have not complained about missing 'back home' yet. I could feel that I was happy to go here and not Denmark after Ironman Arizona and we really enjoy the nice climate and the nice apartment we have here. I don't think I have been wearing long pants since we got here (don't worry I DO wear shorts).
We don't have the same packed schedule as in Denmark because Anita is on a leave of absense and does not work here. We have been able to get up in the morning when we want and then plan the day. The girls have some good friends to play with at our neighbours who also live here on a regular basis and we have already had many visits from people we know.
My good friend Brian Dåsbjerg (World Military Pentathlon Champion) was here with his family where 20 people celebrated his birthday on our terrasse, so we are enjoying it very much here.
If I'm training a lot our nanny Tanja will look after the kids if Anita has other plans so we are well covered when I start putting in the long hours in the pool, on the road and at the trails again (I have trained a minimum since Arizona, my second ironman race in 6 weeks.)
The kids might start school soon but it is in Spanish so there might be some challenges here in the beginning even though kids have the ability to quickly adapt into new languages. When they feel safe and secure in their new environment we will look into the school option.
Anita and I have startet taking Spanish lessons and have a private teacher two hours a week, where we do excercises (language ones), talk a lot (in Spanish) and get homework for the next lesson. I myself try to use it as much as I can with the staff here at Playitas and I can enough to make my self understandable - I guess. I'm sure I'll quickly progress and then Spanish will be my 6th language after Danish, English, Swedish, German and French.
Team Saxobank-Sungard was down here for the annual training camp and I had a chance to chat to mainly the Danish riders. Among them Brian Vandborg who just joined the team and who I haven't met before. He seems like a great guy and is very interested in triathlon and might want to do an ironman at some point.
Everyone helped during flooding
In late November Fuerteventura and Playitas was hit by heavy rain and floodings at some parts of the resort. A couple of apartments was trashed when the water hit, leaving the interior knocked over when the water breached through the ditches.
The olympic pool, receptions, fitness gym, bars and restaurants was also somewhat flooded but we weren't hit at the hotel.
Those living in block 7 where the apartments were flooded had a big scare and was evacuated but the most of us weren't in any danger to our health or belongings. The worst case for the most guests was that they might get a little less out of their vacation.
I saw a really positive thing when all this happened: Everyone helped bringing it back to normal. The solidarity with the staff who couldn't be blamed for this force majeaure was amazing. The morning after practically all the guests on the resort was ready to help mopping out water and cleaning up. It was nice to feel everyone backing the resort up when something like this happens that no one can expect and it actually brought everybody close together. And it was to the benefit of us all that things got back to normal as quick as possible.
Parents startet cleaning up the children's club and even our girls on 3 and 5 years started cleaning the isles with their little beach shovels. I helped in the sports bar, pool bar and the gym and on a positive note it meant that I got to know the staff much better, which is nice when we stay here for that long.
Everything is back to normal now except for the Olympic pool which was emptied after the rain and mud. The pump was ruined and until it is fixed or they get a new one we swim open water at the beach.
Ironman Arizona was an optimal race
I finished second to Timo Bracht in Ironman Arizona on November 23rd - only 6 weeks after Hawaii - in the time 8:10:58. Swim was 47:58, bike (including a 4 minute penalty) 4:30:35, and the marathon 2:48:35. I was a little under 4 minutes after Timo Bracht, who finished 6th at Hawaii this year, at the finish line. My race went according to plan - except for that 4 minute stand down penalty on the bike...
On the swim I got away with Matt Redd as I had hoped. I had decided to put the hammer down on the other favorites in the swim and I/we managed to split up the field and at T1 me, Reed and a few others had a 3,5 to 5 minute gap on the other favorites Bracht, Rapp and Lieto. This was perfect for me. The gap was bigger than in Hawaii and similar to Challenge Roth, where I got away with Pete Jacobs and Eneko Llanos. I had hoped for an advantage of 2-3 minutes, so it was a great swim for me.
Out on the bike Reed and Everett was - in my book - riding a bit too hard in the first 20-30k. I kept in the back and held their pace and after 30k they dropped the pace a bit so it suited IM pace much more. It was the first ironman race for both, so they were eager to get out there and have a good race.
At some point the pace dropped a bit too much for me and I took the front and pushed a little harder to make the strong bikers Rapp, Lieto and Bracht work some more to catch us.
They caught up on us after 100k and they set a solid pace dropping Reed and Everett. My plan was to stay in the back and get as easy a bike ride as possible, and I could ride with them without getting out of my comfort zone. I felt good on the bike and felt that I was able to outrun them on the day.
It was good to see Jordan Rapp back racing after his serious accident in March where he was hit by a car and he seemed pleased to ride in the front as he probably didn't think he could run away from me and Timo anyway.
4 minute penalty for drafting
Rapp also had the advantage of less trouble accidentally riding into the draft zone when he was out in front. We rode three loops of 60k each and there was a LOT of AG-traffic on the second and third loop: Only one lane each way and 2,500 athletes out on the course makes it very difficult riding when you have to pass a lot and ride in and out of both motor cycles with cameras and officials and large groups of age groupers.
None of us in the front are drafting on purpose but with that amount of traffic you can easily be sucked into the draft zone unintentionally if the athlete in front sits up straight - which means a bit of slowing down - or if he reaches down to drink. You might not react in time to fall back and accidentally end up in the draft zone for a few seconds even though you do everything you can to avoid it.
It was bad luck that I received a stand down penalty with around 20k to go on the bike and had to stop just before T2 to serve. I didn't think it would be that critical for me because I felt good on the bike and the others had worked hard to catch us. I thought that I would be able to run the four minutes in anyway and I used the time to stretch and get my body ready for the run.
Good running performances
Timo had a really good day and was running very good. Even if I hadn't got that 4 minute penalty it wasn't sure that I would have beat him, but it would have been fun to race him shoulder to shoulder. I had a good run on a cool course. It got very windy and rainy during the run but I managed a solid 2:48 on the marathon. I'm satisfied with that when you think of my form 6 weeks after Hawaii and the fact that only two weeks prior to Arizona I was about to call it a season with all the mental challenges I have had after my bad race at Hawaii.
On that note I think I gave a really good performance and it was actually close to being an overall near perfect race as I had when winning in Roth, had I not got that penalty. If I was in my best shape and the weather had been better this is clearly a sub 8-hour course. The course record in Arizona before was 8:13 and all of top-3 beat that record. Alone the weather might have been a factor in the 7 minutes Timo needed to go sub-8.
Tom Lowe was the big surprise to me with his 3rd place finish. I never pictured him as other than being Chrissie's boyfriend before Arizona. It was his ironman debut and he rode 8:11, so I'll keep my eye out for him from now on. He even passed me on the run but I was running smoothly at my pace and thought I might catch him later on. I kept focusing on myself and passed him again and ran away from him. It wasn't easy and he was pushing me all the way to the finish line being only 20-30 seconds behind me on the last part of the run.
I reached my goal of finishing the year with a good performance, I probably have the points I need for Hawaii next year and I showed that I'm a good ironman athlete.
All the best,