I finished a little dissapointing 8th place yesterday in Challenge Kraichgau. After coming 3rd last year I was hoping to improve from there, but it wasn't to be.
It was a good field over the standard half Ironman distance (1.9/90/21.1) with some of the top Euro guys there such as Norman Stadler, Sebastian Keinle and Thomas Hellriegal.
Coming out of the water in about 6th place I gave myself every opportunity to have a great race and quickly I was towards the front with all the really good riders still behind me. I rode hard for the first part of the bike trying to make the most of the lead that I had established on the bikers in the swim. When they caught me I just could'nt go with them. It really felt that I was lacking the strength needed for the undulating 90km course so I found myself going backwards quickly. From about km15 through to about 60 I rode with one other guy as I watched the leaders gap get bigger and bigger then we were caught by a large group of guys about 4 minutes down on the leaders. I was angry at myself for not being able to stay with the leaders and now any advantage I opened up on the swim was wasted.
We rolled into second transition as a large group about 10min behind Stadler and 5min behind the other leaders. Once on the run I never really got into a rythem, three of the guys from our group had already run away from me and I was struggling to hold my position. I caught Hellriegal with about 5km to go to move me up to 8th place and that was where I finished.
I've got my next race in France this weekend, also the same distance and a tough course. I'm not sure if I can turn things around that quickly but I will give it a go and see what happens.