Since my first start here in Zittau in 2014, it has now been the 6th time. I always love coming back here and the track is always a challenge. We drove on to Germany on the Monday after Xterra Czech and spent a whole week there. I shared an apartment with my friends from Portugal and New Zealand. We not only shared good training together in the week before the race, but also had fun cooking and other leisure activities. In a great atmosphere, we then headed towards the race on Saturday.
I warmed up well, first on the bike, then a little running and finally in the water. At exactly 11:30 a.m. the starting shot was fired and the elite men ran into the water. At the time, the track was already soaked from the night before, but it didn't rain. This time I was able to find a really good swimming rhythm and not lose too much time on the top. I came out of the water with a good group and together we were able to put some pressure on the bike. I did a lot of leadership work, but I was usually the first in the group to get into the downhills. A pleasure. Unfortunately, after about 1.5 hours the rain started again, the trails became even more slippery and muddy than before.
I came back to the transition area with a lot of dirt and dirt on my face, I was in 17th place and had a good chance of moving forward. This was also going well for the first 4km of the 10km run when I suddenly slipped on a downhill meadow and landed flat on my back like a beetle. I was completely torn out of the race for the time being and also the rhythm was gone, 2 competitors took advantage of this and I finally finished in 19th place. I'm really happy with the result anyway. A clear improvement compared to the European Championships the week before and the starting field was again really strong with 63 elite men.
Photo: Carel du Plessis (Xterra Media)