Race report: 2009 Brasschaat ITU LD

30 06 2009

I made my long distance debut this weekend at the 2009 Brasschaat ITU LD event. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ecstatic, exhausted and, above all, sore. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

* Overall: triathlon is the single most rewarding sport in the world: 3 basic discplines, 1 huge adrenaline rush, more than 8000 calories burned, 4 cramps suffered, 1 clenched fist when crossing the finish line. A priceless experience.

* Rookie mistake made during the bike leg: not enough food intake. Capital error. During the first run loop, I couldn’t remember my own name. Next time, I’m packing food like this athlete:


* Random observations: energy gels taste like feet but they do help. So does good ol’ Coca Cola. My favorite brand of race nutrition = Squeezy energy fruit gums. Eating bananas on the bike at full speed is not a pretty sight. Memo to self: never race in white Skinfit tri pants.

* The women’s overall winner, Sofie Goos,  gave me a serious cold by literally flying by me during the run. Impressive race, Sofie.


* Pictured below is Koen Hoeyberghs seconds after crossing the finishing line. At age 43, Koen is triathlon nobility in Belgium. He placed 5th overall. In the picture he looks like he went for a stroll. I bow humbly.


* By way of comparison, this is how I looked during the run. Notice any difference?


* For the record, here are my splits:

swim: 2700m in 0:42:27 (91st AG, 170th overall)
bike: 80km in 2:08:32 (73rd AG, 128th overall)
run: 20km in 1:48:10 (144th AG, 282nd overall)

Total: 4:41:51 (114th AG (192 finishers), 197th overall (417 finishers))
Complete results available here (.pdf)

* Conclusion: this was the best athletic experience I have ever had. Perfect setting and race organization, great value for money, lovely weather and atmosphere. Well-refereed too. I’d do this again in heartbeat.

* Thank you: Wendy & Jerre, Luc & Annick, Jim De Sitter, Marc Pollet, the race organizers and the countless aid station volunteers. I never meant to dose you.

Ready for my first ITU LD race

28 06 2009

2009 ITU Brasschaat Long Distance

15 06 2009

I’m looking forward to my first long distance triathlon: a 2700m swim, 80k bike and 20k foot race in Brasschaat. This race is a Flemish classic but will disappear from the race calendar as the organizers have chosen to go to the Olympic distance format from 2010 onwards.

Rage against the dying of the light

13 06 2009

I believe it was Noam Chomsky who once said: “it’s better to be right than consistent”. And so I’ve decided to submit my PhD after the summer – it needs more work and time. The good news is that I can now rediscover some of life’s other joys, such as triathlon. Since I can no longer get a refund for my Brugge and Brasschaat registrations, I’ve decided to start in those two races.

Did a 1h45 LSD run to see where I stand conditioning wise. The goal was to run a consistent, comfortable 5:45/km pace. Mission accomplished. Knowledge gained: it’s going to be a slow, painful death in Brasschaat. I reckon my current fitness level should enable me to lay it down in Brugge (race goal: 2:15:00) and finish in Brasschaat (race goal: run across the finish line with my children).

Brasschaat base training starts today

5 01 2009

I’m going on an LSD diet. Long slow distance training that is, the triathlon answer to ethnography’s lurking and soaking. My six month, periodized training plan for the 2009 triathlon season kicks off today with two meso cycles of base training followed by a more intense period of race specific training. The first two weeks of base training consist of 6 sessions per week, equally divided over the three disciplines: 2 runs, 2 rides and 2 swims. Thank you, coach Kurt. In other triathlon news, I registered for my first ever ITU long distance race: the ‘Triathlon Vlaanderen’ in Brasschaat.