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Pre 1997

Ironman Lanzarote

El triathlón Ironman el más duro del mondo

For the third time I want to this beautiful island in the sun, to try and conquer the lava fields and have a great day. Because of some other commitments in ly life, I unfortunately did not have the kind of preparation I wanted, so I downgraded my goals a bit and my main aim was qualifying for the big Kona battle. The first time I came to Lanzarote I was overtrained and had a good race, so this time, I was set on having a good race while being undertrained. Why not?

Race morning came and I joined the other six hundred crazy folks to run into the water and try to make the day as short as possible. The swim was rather comfortable, and I exited the water after 56'15". I considered that to be a good start. Swift transition and jump into my cycling shoes. After about 15km I heard I was in 35th position, which I thought was great, much better than last year at least.

Conditions on race day were very gentle. When I passed Mirador de salinas, the flags were not moving at all. Great, I thought, no wind, it's going to be easy today. Well, not quite, as the terrain is pretty tough as it is. But still, I was moving through the black lava round El Golfo at record speed, much higher than previous years or on training. Everything was going smoothly and I arrived at Mirador del Rio (after 112km) fresher than ever before. Things were looking good. Normally, you have wind in the back from there to the finish (except for about five minutes), so "ready to rock and roll". If you are fresh there, you can fly home, if not, it is always a struggle. It ended up being a struggle for everybody. The wind was slightly picking up, which was fine, but in the wrong direction completely. So instead of flying home, it felt like I was cycling way too slow. Fortunately, nobody passed me (nor did I pass anybody else) so I must have been riding at about the same speed as the others. I got back in Puerto del Carmen in 15th position, and started my marathon after another good transition.

I am not known for my running qualities, but fortunately, I was still feeling good. However, my plan was to start the marathon easy, and try to pick up the pace in the last 10km if possible. I definately didn't want to bonk. After a bit of running I say Dirk Van Gossum for the first time, and he was in second place, good on you Dirk, go get him! After about 15km my own speed was deteriorating a bit. Not quite the general idea, but hell, let's just try to hang on. I did try to pick up my pace a few times, but it never lasted long. However, I had one major thing I wanted to do. On my previous ironman distance races I had always walked part of the marathon, and I was not planning to do that this time. In fact, I am very glad that I managed to run the whole distance this time (though I did have a short sanitary break). With about sixteen km to go, just before the turn around of my third lap, Dirk passed me. He was following Stefan Holzer very closely now, the gap was only about 10m or so. Go Dirk, almost there! A bit later (and out of my sight) Dirk took the lead and won his first Ironman, a great achievement! I had a bit more running to do though. Saw that Jean Moureau was going to be fourth, which is also a fantastic result (us Belgians were pretty proud after the race - I wonder what that can give for Hawaii). On my last lap, I was trying hard to pick up the pace a bit, which I could only hold on to for a short while at first, but my last 5km were rather decent (made me happy at least).

After the finish, I thought I must be in 50th position or something and that I didn't stand a chance of qualifying for Hawai, but at the information stand, the were preliminary results indicating that I was 22nd. This was later corrected to 20th position, and it made me third in my age group. Very pleased about all that and a real confidence boost. Now I will try to get the proper preperation for Hawaii, and then we'll see what happens.

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