I arrived in Holten, Netherlands after 30 hours of traveling. I only managed to get about 3 hours of sleep on the flights. We stayed in 3 little double story houses in a very bushy area. I took a easy run to wake the legs up for Saturday’s racing.
On race day I was feeling good but woke up with a bit of a tummy bug but was still confident to race well. I headed off to T2 in the town to place my shoes in transition, then headed out to the dam where T1 is to check in and rack my bike and get ready for a 70 athlete start! The sun was out and was very warm when we started at 13:45.
I was shivering with nerves before but had a good start and found myself in the front after 200m and became a lot more relaxed and focused on just pulling because the cycle will be very demanding with a steep hill we covered 5 times with a very technical course. I exited first in 17:35 with a comfy lead.
I was soon caught by 14 athletes working very hard for the entire 40km and managed to put 2:30 minutes into the chase group. I felt comfortable in the group and waiting for the run. Coming up to T2 I left it a little bit late to take out my feet and was in a rush to do this. I got my left foot out but not my right foot because the strap had fallen over and closed up. I was forced to unclip so I touched the ground before the dismount line, slipped my shoe off and ran into transition. With this rush I struggled to get my bike racked and helmet unclipped and exiting transition I was 14th and 20 s behind the leaders. I had a bike time in the 55 minute region.
I chased hard and after 1 lap I was laying 9th and after lap 2 I was laying in 6th/7th with an Aussi. I only noticed I had a time penalty when I passed the penalty area on lap 3, so I was forced to stop 20 m from the finish line and this cost me a place and a lot of money! I finished in 8th with a 34:15 run time.
I am very happy with the result and glad to be back in such a high level of racing with some of the best athletes in Europe.
I would like to thank TSA and Lotto for the funding and organization of this trip, as well as my family, girlfriend and friends back home always giving me their full support!
I have settled in well here in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary and looking forward to a World Cup race this weekend. Weather is very warm and humid, much different than in South Africa at this moment.