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Pre 1997

Long Distance World Championships,
Säter, Sweden

Recuperation was way better than last year after doing Lanzarote, which is pretty good considering the conditions being much tougher. However, trying to get prepared for this race was a bit of a gamble, training hard (as much as possible) to be fully prepared. It was not easy, and I felt really tired at some point.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough to be selected for the race (even if it was for the wrong reasons), and the Belgian delegation consited of Marc Herremans, coach Claude Van den Hurk  and myself. There was also another Belgian, Eric Coppens who competed in his age group division. We arrived there well on time and had the opportunity to check out the race site properly. The environment was lovely (Sweden is a beautful country), and both bike and run were challenging, over hilly roads. A bit comparible to the races we used to have in Landen and Hannut. In short, a race which should be good for me :-)

Come race day, I had a good swim, and could swiftly catch up with a group of cyclist which was just in front of me. However, getting away from that group was impossible. I could get a slight advance on the more difficult parts, but they would always catch me again. So, in the third (and last) lap, I gave up trying to get away and just let the group ride in front of me at at least legal distance. (Now if all athletes would adhere those drafting rules...) I know that I wasn't really at full strength on the bike, but was still hoping to have a good run.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. Once running, I didn't feel good or swift at all. The legs were not really bothering me, but my stomach and lower back didn't feel good at all. I did try to hang in there for about 20km, but I was running far too slow. The last lap was only about finishing the race, as I was actually being passed by quite a few women. Ah well, I still finished the race and got 45th place. Guess it was too soon after Lanzarote anyway (which seems reasonable when looking at results of some other guys who competed there, though it seems the ladies don't have that problem).

Better luck next time :-)

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