European Champs, Herning, Denmark – race report.

Knowing where to start this report has been hard! I had great year last year, eventually applying for a selection place to go to race at the European Champs in Herning, Jutland, in Denmark on Saturday 10th June.  I have overall had a steady winter of training, with only a few minor injury worries, which for me is an achievement in itself!

This was the second Big brand event I have done, the second with a split transition, and this inevitably leads to a fair degree of faffing the day before the event. thankfully we had the whole day free to do just that, as it seemed to take all day!

I had made the dangerous decision not to stick with the tried and tested having been seduced by the speed promise of some new wider wheels, which arrived only the day before we were due to leave. This led to a high degree of stress as I reassembled my bike and found that my brake adjustments no longer seemed to work. Eventually I sorted it out to a degree but I was pleased to get them checked there and then in a bike shop on the way to racking the bike at T1. I could certainly be more confident round all the 90 degree bends in the country roads.

I had learnt from Dublin 70.3 last year that a bike recce is well worth the time, so we headed driving around the course and despite my past history as an orienteer seemed to get rapidly disoriented in some new roads . The roads were fantastic, smooth and beautiful, and the countryside certainly much more green and rolling  than I expected. The ninth degree bends were endless!

The start the next day was at a very civilised 10.30, and T1 and the start were all very well organised. I felt excited and just a nice degree of nervousness as I line up to get in the water. I had worried a lot about how aggressive the mass start would be, by it was nothing compared to some of the elbows etc at Pinkston!!

I had an amazing swim, really enjoyed it, relaxed but purposeful, just as planned, drafting when I could, but I could tell in the second half I was passing quite a few pink hats, which made me swim better. I had a little glitch finding my bag, the racks looked so different half empty, and then onto the bike. I knew I was doing quite well because lots of bikes in my AG section were still there.

And off onto the bike……quite windy, especially in the first half, and in retrospect maybe I should have eased up a bit more but I was feeling good. Drank as planned, and even managed to pick up a bottle at the aid station, I had been too frightened in Dublin to try to attempt this! However, I hadn’t eaten about 200 cal of what I had planned to eat, maybe this contributed to the unravelling later……………….

And then T2, in the centre of the town, a little bit of a stall here as the dismount line hadn’t been laid out when I had dropped my bag off and wasn’t entirely clear on a fast approaching bike.  As transition was near the town centre it all felt a bit jumbled and confused.

And then my weakest link, the running…..this was a 4 lap loop which included an out and back section and a wiggle around some central streets, even going through the indoor concourse of the town library. The crowd was great and there was a real buzz about the central section. I set off at my target pace but it became clear I couldn’t keep it up after 2 laps……why am I doing this, this is ridiculous, why am I doing this, this is ridiculous, these people are proper runners……. before I remembered to replace all that negative stuff with ‘Run with joy, run with gratitude, you are doing this, you WILL do this’ thoughts. But it was still hard hard hard, and turned into a ‘ better shuffle and finish than run and collapse and not finish’ with walking through the aid stations. I could tell I was slipping places, as I could see folk with  pink numbers catching and overhauling me……..

 Eventually! it was finished and I crossed the line, delighted to be done!  A bit wobbly and feeling a bit sick.  

So in the end I was 12th, which I am happy with, but I know exactly where I need to get better for next year, if I can qualify for it again! Ibiza in April anyone??

posted by Jennifer Perry on