Challenge Roth 2011 Race Report

12 07 2011

Challenge Roth, now I know why they say this is the best race ever! It is is fun, it is fast, it is a great party! Unlike North America, there are beer gardens every where in the race. People are cheering and drinking all the way. There is even a beer garden in the finish line. Nothing like the nonsense “fenced area”. People are genuinely happy and cheering for you. It is all a great party.


The swim – 1:01:16 hrs

The swim went as expected. It could have been a bit faster if it wasn’t a wave start or if I had started in a earlier wave. I had to pass a lot of people, and the water is pretty dark, so you don’t see people until you’re very close. I went through at least three major group of people, which I had to find my way around them. I was in the purple wave, as you can see below, no purple caps around me… But the good thing is that there was not much contact overall, so very peaceful swim. I even spotted my wife taking pictures and waved to her as I was swimming!


Transition 1 – 10:06 min
Europe is just different, specially Germany! Every transition in ironman distance races I’ve participated, you go to a tent, get butt naked and you change… But usually there is a male and a female tent. Not here! Women and man change in the same tent and best part is that “it is OK”. it is just a bunch of grown-ups doing an Ironman. No pictures for this part of the race! ūüôā

Bike – 6:15:30 hrs
After my swim, I was pretty pumped for the bike ride!

However, this was the one part of the race I could have done better. I started with a very high Heart Rate (160 bpm) and I never got it under control. I decided to follow my target power (190W) and see what happens. I finished my first lap with 190W and 160 bpm averages, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain that pace, which is pity, as I averaged just over 30 km/h with that power. However, on the second loop, my power drop to about 160, and I just could not get it up. To make things worse, my heart rate didn’t drop by much, it was around 150 bpm, which is what it was supposed to be at the first loop. I’m starting to think I should incorporate more Swim-Bike (like brick) workouts in my training. I’m not going hard on the swim but I still have problem in the races. Anyhow, the course is fast. If I was just biking, I would average 30-31 km/h with 190W.
The course is just great. It starts with a small uphill to cross the canal and it pretty much goes downhill or flat to Eckersm√ľllen, where you have the first aid station and lots, I mean lots of expectators! From there it is fast rolling hills with great surface up to Greding, where there is the worst hill, it is not too bad though. It is like Papa bear in Lake Placid. Then again riling hills till Solarerberg, which isn’t hard, but there are so many people cheering that you go up there like it was flat. I have to check my power meter later, but I’m sure I climbed that with 350w all the way. Btw, this picture is from the Solrarerberg on the second loop, when there was “no one” there!

Once the crowd is behind you, you’re back to rolling hills. There is on section that is fairly technical, with a few 180 and 90 degrees turns, but I have only seen one accident, a guy had basically no shorts on his left butt cheek! But fortunately the wound didn’t look bad, just a big scratch.
One thing that I changes from my training, was the gel. Since I didn’t have a lot of energy on the second loop, I decided to try the energy gels from the race, which were MUCH easier to digest as they were liquid. Looking back, I should have had more of them. I have to find out where to buy them in Canada (GREAT gels!)

Transition 2 – 6:06 min
Like transition 1, everyone was naked, but this time I had a person (she was in her 50s) holding my bag helping me to put my biking clothes away… Which was a bit odd since I was changing the bike shorts and putting my try shorts on, but, I had to do it. I turned my number belt to put my number in front so that it was a little more discrete, but trust me, there is nothing discrete about putting vaseline between my legs while a older lady is holding the transition bag in front of me. But seriously, the volunteers were FANTASTIC.
Before the run, I made a quick pee stop… And there was no lineup!

Run – 4:45:06 hrs

This is when I always ask myself: “Why, why do I do this?” and I always think “OK, this is the last time I do this”. But this year I also though “Shit, I already signed up for next year!”.
Anyhow, I started to run with those feaking side stitches and that was not a good sign… Fortunately I felt much better about 1 km into the run. The stomach had settled and I was ready to go, with one detail, I was running at 9.6 km/h with a 155 bpm heart rate! So one thing was for sure, my 12 hours goal was out of the question. I started to count the remaining kms! 41, 40… Boy did they ever come slow. First aid station walking, hydration, hydration… back to the run. We actually started on the shade, but it didn’t take long to get to the canal where the sun was just burning the hell out of me. My plan was to just kept going until I couldn’t run anymore, but walking every aid station. I was 100% sure I wasn’t going to run much of it… But surprisingly my Achilles didn’t hurt at all (until the next morning) and I just kept running at 9.2 km/h (yes, it did go down a bit), 150 bpm and waking the aid stations and any hill. Yea, they were VERY steep at that time, 20% grade for sure ūüôā
Fortunately, about 16 km to go, the sun disappeared…

Along the way out of no where, my wife kept popping out and taking pictures. I have no clue how she got there, but there she was… I think she was running faster than me! All these nice professional pictures were taken by her. Oh, yea, and she even shouted several times “Vai marido, S√£o s√≥ 11 km, voc√™ ainda tem uma hora para fazer abaixo de 12!!!!” (Go honey, there are “only” 11 km to go, you can still do it sub 12 hours!)
Great support, but I knew that 11 km in one hour would be completely out of the question, I was trying to stay at 8.9 considering the aid station walks!
A few minutes later, about 8 km to go, it started to rain, now a thunderstorm! But I could only think about two things “single digits to go” and “holly crap, I hope Beatriz is fine”. I kept running even faster (back to 9.6 km/h, a super sprint!) with my wet and heavy shoes… Until I got into the town of Roth, where some teens were inside the water fountain cheering for the wet runners! Once they saw me smiling and lifting my arms, they all got out of the fountain and ran about 100m with me cheering “Schnel Hans, Du shaft es!” (fast Hans, you can do it – I can’t spell German btw).

The finish – 12:18:06 hrs
First of all, I’m absolutely sure the last two kilometers were in miles! Man, how long could they take? But I kept going, no walking for the last 4 km, a real Ironman!! The only people actually running were relay people, which I could identify because they had an “S” on their calf… Everyone else was surviving! ūüôā
As I crossed the finish line, still under rain, there were a few brave expectators cheering, but it was by no means full. Nonetheless it was another emotional finish, one to remember!

After the race
I got into the huge tent where I got a massage. After that I started to shake compulsively, I was wet, tired and a bit dehydrated. I then went to get my street clothes, and to my surprise I was told I should take a shower! Yea, there were HOT showers at the finish line! I have never seen that, but boy it was good!
For those wondering, that was the only part of the race with male and female separate areas!

This a race like nothing I have ever done and I will do my best to race it again and again!!

Auf wiedersehen Challenge Roth!!!


PS: official finisher photos are here I have way too many triathlon pictures to spend 59 euros on new ones! You know the drill… Hands up, crossing the finish line! ūüôā


First Misshapen of 2011

15 04 2011

It has been a while that I haven’t posted anything, not because I haven’t anything to say, but because I haven’t had the time to do it. Yes, work is craze and add Ironman training to that, it gets even more scarce. Anyhow, I’m on week 8 of my ironman training program and so far, almost good. Since the end of the off season I’ve been getting a persistent Aquillis heel pain, which came not much after I started to wear a pair of Newtons. I didn’t quite follow their recommendations, but it started with 15 min and increased it up to 45 min runs, but it didn’t do the trick for me. I’m back on my New Balance 905s.

Simcoe Lake April 15th (windy and cold, ~3C!!)

But, it is spring now and with spring comes outdoor biking! But as e know, in Canada spring has bit of a unique flavor, it comes with pretty low temperatures. It has been sunny, but not that warm. The rides to Simcoe lake have proven to be extremely cold. By the time we get close to the frozen lake, it is literally freezing. Today it was my third ride up to the lake, supposed to be a 4 hours ride. Fernando and I left from Major Mac and Warden and head north for about 50 km until reaching the lake. Once at the lake we head east against a very strong cold northeast wind. We went east until highway 48, and then south… Unfortunately with another 50 km to go, I heard a splicing noise followed by a noise that sounded like a branch had caught my wheel. I stopped to remove the branch, but as it turned out it was not branch, but a spoke. I tried to continue without it, but the wheel wasn’t straight and it was even touching the breaks. So instead of making matters worse I decide to call it a day and walk home… Well, not quite, I gave Fernando my at keys, and he picked up when he was done. I have to say, Canada is a nice place. As I was walking back, mind you about 30 min walking, a van stopped and offered me a ride! David, a guy from Newmarket was heading south and dropped me at Warden and David road, about 20 km from my car. He actually offered to take me all the way, but I didn’t think it was fair, besides Fernando was going to pick me up any way. So I walked another 30 minutes and then waited for Fernando, just 15km from the car. My heel started to bother me, as walking with the cleats is no walk in the park!

Broken spoke, waiting for my ride!

I survived, 2:55 hrs with 200W, and 28.8km/h average. Very comfortable ride, I kept 200w all time as prescribed. I was actually looking forward to the way back, as I had a bit of a tail wind, and I was picking up speed… The average was going up…but I will never know how much. Thanks God for powertap, at least I know I was on the right range regardless of the speed. At the end of the day it was just a technical misshapen, which is MUCH better than an injury! Now I’m safe and sound at home! Lesson: always have your cellphone and don’t ride alone unless you don’t have any other option!

Ride Details:

ErgVideo 2 – Second Impression!

8 01 2009

It’s not about WHERE you ride, it’s about HOW HARD you ride

Yesterday I rode the Muskoka Half Video from ErgVideo for 6 minutes and posted my First Impression. Today I had planned a Brick workout (1 hour bike, 20 minutes run), using the same video. 

If you read the First Impression post, you probably noticed that I wasn’t thrilled with the product… 54 minutes later, I loved it! Here is the thing, when I first bought the Video, I had a complete different idea in my mind. I thought it was just another video that wasn’t available for the Interactive Real Course Video (IRCV), so I was getting it from another company. Well, as it turned out, these two products are not exactly the same. As I pointed out in my previous post, IRCV simulates the course and it is up to you to perform. (Nothing wrong with that!)

I exchanged a few emails with¬†Paul¬†Smeulders (President and Developer¬†ErgVideo)¬†after my first posting. The first thing he mentioned was¬†“It’s not about WHERE you ride, it’s about HOW HARD you ride“, which is a pretty good way to summarize the product. In Paul’s words:

While you get the feeling of familiarity with the course profile, if you are not training the required abilities or performance factors needed to excel in the cycling leg, simply riding a course profile repeatedly won’t necessarily guarantee you are executing a specific workout designed to get you there efficiently. Many people ride long courses slowly, every time, or according to their daily whims. ErgVideo rather forces you to expend effort according to a preset power plan. In the cases of Triathlon style ErgVideos, you are following how a successful high-level athlete is attacking the course. While it may not suit your tastes precisely, you are going to get a very specific focused workout that you can’t cheat or. Moreover, you can see all of the important details of your ride, and adjust them, using the web-tools feature in the ride designer.

ErgVideo has a different approach then IRCV, it imposes you a pace according to your capabilities based on a real course. I really didn’t buy the concept at first. However, after riding the course for 1 hour, I noticed that the¬†beginning¬†was extremely easy, not because of the profile, but simple because I have the tendency to start hard and slow down at the end (on a good day, it will be the other way around). ErgVideo really forces you to pace yourself, which is something that I need to improve.

Technically speaking, you can just create a erg course and you’re done! Yes, but lets face it, Computrainer Coaching Software (CS) is not the best motivating tool, it is just like a trainer on steroids. When you combine it with a video of a real course profile it adds a new dimension to your workout.

I summary, ErgVideo is not a course simulation tool, it is a workout simulation tool!

What’s next?

I will continue to use IRCV and Computrainer 3D to get¬†familiarized¬†with real courses that I’ll be riding, which will give me a pretty good idea of is waiting for me at each race¬†¬†(e.g. riding IM France course, made me consider a new¬†cassette). I will also use ErgVideo for my day to day¬†training, specially intervals. However, before I buy another video, I’ll bug Paul a little bit more to find out which videos will best match my workout plans.

Oh, one more thing, my wife used the Muskoka Video for one hour too, I’ll let her comment! ūüėČ

Note: special thanks to Paul for replying to my numerous emails. Great customer service!

CompuTrainer Report

15 12 2008

I’m starting to get use to the CompuTrainer and to CyclingPeaks Real 3d. I created a bunch of courses, such as IM France 2009 and the Suburu Milton Sprint. I find it pretty interesting that I’ve finish the Milton Sprint averaging 31.9 Km/h in the Computrainer and last year, during the race, I averaged 32.0 km/h! That is pretty cool!

Mind you, I’m on my off-season now, and Milton was my first race last season, so it is hard to say how my fitness level would compare. Having said that, not bad for a simulation!

I’m attaching the CompuTrainer report, it has quite a bit of information too. On the good side, I have a pretty good¬†right¬†to left power ratio, but I really need to work on my “SpinScan”, which should be at least 75:


Hans Winter Report

Date/Time: 2008-12-13 16:52:25


Rider Data



Athlete: Hans Winter


Age: 38

Weight: 98

Gender: M

HR Limits

Lower: 115

Upper: 155


Course Data


Name: Milton Sprint Canada Triathlon Loop.3dc

Distance: 30.26 KM


Units: English

Laps: 1

Lap Length: 30260.30 meters

Min Grade: -6.5%

Avg Grade: -0.0%

Max Grade: 5.8%

Min Wind: 0.0 kph

Avg Wind: 0.0 kph

Max Wind: 0.0 kph


Total Climbing Meters: 166


Total Kilometers Ridden:


Performance Statistics

Lap Avg: None

Rolling Calibration:

 11: 2.00 U

Finish Time: 00:58:03.0

Calories: 650.5









Watts Per KiloGram




Heart Rate












Overall SpinScan




Left SpinScan




Right SpinScan




Power Split Left




Power Split Right




Left ATA




Right ATA