2015 Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships

This year I had scheduled a new event on my race calendar, an event I was nervous about as soon as I finished the Ironman 70.3 in Cebu, the ITU Powerman Long Distance World Championships in Zofingen scheduled for the first weekend in September.

I was lucky to be able to travel to Europe one month ahead and train in Germany’s Black Forest at Anna’s place. During that time I also had the chance to spend one week near Koblenz at my coach’s, Juergen Zaeck. It was a lot of good training and coach Juergen especially warned and prepared me of the downhill runs of Zofingen. He was able to give me first hand advice as he also had raced there a couple of times during his pro career and even won once!

About one week before the race I travelled to Swizterland with the idea to get used to the cold weather. But it was pleasantly sunny and hot the first couple of days. Only days before the race the weather changed and it got colder and a little rainy. Still I was lucky to test ride the bike course in Zofingen with my friend Marcel, a local athlete from the area. I tried to expect the worst weather conditions possible for race day but the days leading up to the race were not too bad, cold but mostly sunny.

Then finally it was the day before the race. I met with the other two Filipinos, Mirasol Abad and Robeno Javier from the National Team and we went together for registration and race briefing. The two were scheduled to do the short distance race but for me it was to be the first time to be part of the ITU Long Distance World Championships and even with the elites. The ITU was very strict about the details such as checking the uniform and attending the race briefing. But it was all exciting and it was amazing to meet the other pros, some of them I already knew from previous Powerman races in Malaysia or other races in the Philippines.

After all the pre-race procedures and another short bike ride, I was ready to rest for the next day.

On race day we woke up to very cold weather, but I didn’t worry, I was too excited to race. I checked in my bike and watched the start of the women’s race one hour earlier then my own start. When the leaders of the girls already had finished their first 10km run and were out on the bike. I started my warm-up and then it was time to line up on the start line. It started to rain just minutes before the start gun went off but I didn’t feel the cold. The race was on!!!

This first 10km run was 2-loops on a 5km course. The start was on an uphill and then it was only up and down. I had prepared myself to take it easy on this first run, and let the first groups run away, so I finished in 36min.

Out on the bike there were a lot of people in front of me but I biked moderately just telling myself that it would be a long bike and another long run until the finish line, so I better not pushed to hard in the first loop. Luckily I knew the 50km course and I also knew it wasn’t easy at all to do it 3 times. The rain was on and off and the roads were wet and slippy which made some of the downhills a little dangerous. I pushed harder in the many uphills though.

Every 50km we passed Zofingen center and the so called “coaching zone” where we could be handed our own drinks or gear. The first loop I didn’t make use of it and just got my drinks in the general aide station that were really well equipped. The second loop it started to rain harder and it got cold. I thought about getting my jacket in the coaching zone before the 3rd loop but then restisted thinking about the time I would loose. I had already made up some positions and didn’t want to loose it again, so I just took a bottle and another energy bar from Anna.

On the 3rd 50km loop on the bike I got really cold and my legs and feet started feeling numb. This last lap got very long as I was looking forward to get off the bike and start the run to warm up my body.

I entered transition running and without any feeling in the legs, my run felt weird and I just tried to smile when I left transition and went out on the first 15km lap we had to do 2 times.

The rain had stopped and the sun came out so after about 5km running I finally felt better and even though the brutal course with steep up- and downhills was hard and tireing, I had a great run and was able to pass some other athletes. I almost could say that I enjoyed the run epecially the uphills but the downhills even though I had practiced them a lot, got my knees sore. After the 1st run loop we passed again transition and it was good to hear the supportive shouts from the spectactors. Out on the second loop I still felt good going uphill but after the last turn-around, I had some pain in both knees. I told myself to just keep going but realized that I slowed down a little bit.

In the transition and finish line area, Anna’s Mum was waiting with the Pinoy flag and even tough I knew I was far behind the winners it felt great to run through the area and cross the finish line with Anna waiting there for me. I was handed the medal and had a nice and short chat with Stefan Ruf, the Powerman CEO who imediately invited me back for next year. But me, I was just so thankful and happy to have finished and when I walked out of the finish area I realized that I was limping and all my body was in pain. It didn’t matter, in my heart I shouted a million thank you’s to the Lord for this amazing experience, for being safe, for being able to represent my country in a World Championships, to race amongst the world’s best elite duathletes and for all the support I had received to get there.

This adventure would not have been possible without the great support from my sponsors, family and friends and I can’t thank them enough for it.