Xterra Finland

MY FIRST XTERRA WORLD SERIES PODIUM.

One week before after my race in Germany I started driving north. On my way I picked up my teammate Raphael and from now on we did the trip together. After sleeping each night on our way in a different country, we finally made it to Imatra, a beautiful little village in the east of Finland.

We checked out the course properly 2 days before the race. We knew every corner, every rock and every single root. It was great. The importance was clear because we had to ride three loops on this course. During this day we also had some nice photo shooting and interview sessions with the team of Xterra.

Exactly at 12 o clock we started into the race. 22 elite athletes and lots of amateurs started together into the race. The 1500m got a little bit longer dew to a drifting boje and it became 1850m instead. I didn’t really felt it, but when I checked my watch after coming out of the water it made me crazy a bit. On my bike I rode a very fast tempo with the idea of showing the others who is the boss today. My plan worked out perfectly and I rode up to the front. With the 2nd fastest bike split of the day, I came into T2 in 2nd position, but behind me a tail of 4 other athletes. We almost started the run together and I knew, that running is not my best discipline. If was a fight, but my legs were incredible fresh and fast on this day. I couldn’t follow one very fast runner, but all the others I kept behind me. With the 3rd best running split of the day I finally finished on the third place. My first ever Xterra major race podium. I was stoked as hell.

Super happy with my performance we relaxed a bit in the SPA of the amazing hotel to get our legs fresh for the next days drive to Sweden. We took the ferry from Finland to Sweden and kept on driving west to Norway- heading north to Norefjell. Next race: Xterra Norway

Photos: Carel du Plessis

Xterra Germany European Championship

I started at this race the first time in 2014 when there were also the ITU World Championships and I truly fell in love with it.

The very known “O-See-Challenge” is now one of my to dos during the last seasons. I started there for the 4th time already and it became one of my race classics. This time it was not only a normal Xterra race, it was the Xterra European Championship, so almost every athlete who wanted to show what is in him/her, came there to race.

I got there the Tuesday before for some relaxing days at the lake and the beautiful forests. I checked out the course twice, because it got changed a bit. It had never been so fast like this year. The long and hot summer dried the course like never before. The run course was completely new, we had to run 2 laps of 5km now instead of one big loop. It became more technical and less fast, but harder to run. On the Saturday the 18th of August we started into the race. 37 Elite athletes raced for the top spot of the podium. We had to swim 2 loops each 750m with a little running passage on the beach. I had a great swim and could follow my teammate Markus who is normally one minute faster than me out of the water. We came out super far back of the pack in 32/33 position.

I had a super fast T1 and managed to get out first of our group, but behind me 4 athletes following. I started to attack and managed to ride away from them, only one guy from France was able to follow me and we rode to the big climb together. I made up position by position and found myself in the top 15 after the bike.

I ran out of T2 on the 13th position with the goal to reach top 10. I tried to attach as strong as on the bike, but there wasn’t so much energy left to run fast on that day. I overtook one more guy and finished on the 12th place in this stacked pro field. Super happy with my performance I knew that I have to work on my run until the next big race in Finland in a week of time.

Photos: Carel du Plessis

 

Xterra Poland

After my three weeks mid season training block without any racing I came to Poland for the Xterra here in Krakow. I got there together with my girlfriend Mikaela one week before the race to checkout the course and spending some time in the beautiful old town of Krakow. We enjoyed it a lot, also the race course was pretty sweet and made a lot of fun riding the trails or running the forests.

The race started in the afternoon at 1:30pm where we jumped in this beautiful lake close to the city. The pro field started about 2 minutes ahead of the amateurs, so very fast swimmers could overtake me in the second loop. The lake was surrounded by steep stone walls where people were climbing down to the water for cheering us on. It was really amazing, I never experienced this in a swim before. The first out of two laps I could swim a very good pace and follow the group, but in the second lap I couldn’t manage to keep up the speed and had to swim by myself for the rest of the course.

I still came into transition in top 15 and was looking forward to the fun bike course out there. I changed quickly and started to race on my bike. In the beginning I felt like I forgot my cycling legs at home, but it got better and better each kilometer. I was not able to catch up any of the guys in front of me, but also didn’t loose too much time on the guys in front of me.

I came to T2 again on the 15th place like out of the water which is really unusual for me as I always use the bike to catch up, but today it was all about the run. I grabbed my Salming Race shoes, my number belt and a gel and gave it all I had. I made up 3 places to the 12th of the day. It was not exactly what I expected after my three weeks off racing, but a solid start to the upcoming races the next 4 weeks.

Next one: Xterra Germany European Champs