Back on track with 2nd placeApril 8, 2011
I've been on the go in the US the last couple of days since I finished 2nd at Ironman 70.3 California on Saturday. My host family from Ironman Arizona last year, The Fern family, came to support me in Oceanside, and we drove to Phoenix after the race. On Thursday I travelled to Texas to race 70.3 again on Sunday.
One of the cool things about the pro triathlete life is the people you meet when traveling the World. The Fern's are some of the best people I've met. They travelled to California to support me which I deeply appreciate.
Meeting people from other cultures than my own is a special part of my pro life. I've been used to the Muslim culture from growing up in Denmark which has many Muslim immigrants and I learned a lot from those differences in culture and background, and the considerations you take with other cultures.
The Fern family are Jewish and though I have travelled a lot I've never known any Jewish people before and it's been really interesting to get to know the Jewish culture while living at their house. With the Fern's I have primarily experienced differences with regards to food as they eat kosher - read more about kosher here.
The kosher laws mean no pork, and as I was shopping for groceries with Stuart I picked up a pack of ham to make sandwiches. He kindly asked me if it was alright with me to switch to chicken and of course I had no problem with that - I just didn't think about the kosher laws at that point. Another thing about kosher is that meat and dairy can't be kept in the same place or be mixed. This means different plates and cutlery for dairy products and meat, different storage and two dish washers. It's their tradition and I have the deepest respect for that - it just created some funny situations sometimes, which I wanted to share with you guys. I believe it's a gift to be able to get to know wonderful people and other cultures all over the World and luckily that's what the sport of triathlon is all about too.
California = well done
The time between Abu Dhabi and California was a time of reflection. It was a big blow to DNF in Abu with (still) unexplainable cramps. It was the race in the first part of the season I believed I’d have a good chance of winning. Almost all the best in the World were there and the course and heat suited me. In previous seasons I've always performed well in the first race of the season so the DNF hit me harder than I expected and I had to fight a stroke of low self esteem when I returned home.
A good result for me at Oceanside was really important and it felt good to be able to perform at a high level again. When you have a bad experience it's much about self esteem and confidence, and often it's only small things that need to be corrected before you're back on track.
I had a good swim and felt strong on the bike and had the feeling that no one was able to ride away from me and my Shiv. My running was at a high level, but there's still a way to go before I reach my peak level running wise. Schildknecht and Weiss were both running really well, but normally I should be able to outrun them both by more - so several things indicate that I have more in me.
The soreness in my legs is almost gone and the rest of the body feels really good. When Potts ran away in the end I suffered muscular problems. I felt a had energy left, and my heart rate was low enough to put in a final surge, but muscularly I didn’t have any more in me on that day. I hope I'll be ready again on Sunday for another big race.
Strong field in Texas:
Another strong field awaits in Ironman 70.3 Texas which is also the US Championships.
There will always be uncertainties whether or not you can recover in a week, but on the other hand I now have the advantage of having been in the States for a week longer, so I should be done with jetlag and travel stress. The course here should also fit me better than in California. The weather is warmer, it could be a non wetsuit swim and the bike section is flatter which makes breakaways more difficult. It will be windy, but living on the Canary Islands you are not afraid of the wind!
The field is very competitive. I hope to be able to stay close to the main pack on the bike and then have the power on the run to pull away. Terrenzo Bozzone is the defending champ here and although I haven't raced him at half ironman before, I know he’s tough guy to beat. The list of strong athletes is long: Tim O'Donnell, Sebastian Kienle, Frederik van Lierde, Sylvain Sudrie, Philip Graves and Chris Lieto are all top performers. It's going to be an interesting day!