On September 1st I raced the ITU Olympic Distance Triathlon World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. Lausanne was a repeat venue for me as back in 2006 I had raced this event in Lausanne and placed 29th out of 108 men in the 40-44 age group. 2019 was the 15th time I have raced the Olympic Distance World Championships and 26th time across all the distances that I have raced for Team USA. Racing for Team USA never gets old. It is always an honor.
Laurie and I began the trip by arriving in Zurich on 8/28. We had never been to Zurich before so this enabled us to do a bit of touring. We went to the FIFA World Football (Soccer) Museum and took the LAF cable car to the top of Felsenegg, 800 meters above Lake Zurich. We enjoyed panoramic views of the city and an outdoor patio lunch at the Felsenegg Restaurant where we attracted some bees. Thankfully no stings, but we provided some entertainment for the other patrons.
We took a 90 minute train ride to Lausanne on 8/30. Upon arriving in Lausanne we immediately discovered the new M2 Metro line which was completed in 2008. Our hotel provided a free pass and this made our lives so easy during our stay as we could take the M2 from our hotel in the upper part of Lausanne down to the race venue by Lake Geneva 1+ mile away.
In 2006 I remember the water temperature was really cold so I wore a wetsuit and a thermal cap and swam 22:23 in calm conditions. This year, the 1.5K (0.93 mile) swim wound up being extremely difficult. On race morning it was announced that the water temperature was too warm for wetsuits. Global warming – there is no doubt. Historically I have never done well in fresh water, non-wetsuit swims. Add to that, the choppy waters, and I was in for a tough swim. If it had been calm waters, I probably would have done the swim in 26-27 minutes, but I came out of the water in 34:49, putting me in 80th place. I felt really smoked after that swim. Not good!
My day only got worse on the bike. The 40K (24.8 miles) bike course was comprised of 2 laps for 1124 feet of elevation gain. Each lap had 3 climbs – the first was 8-10%, the second was 8% and the third was 7-9%. The steepest descent was 12%. In 2006 my bike split was 1:11:06 on a very similar course. Typically I climb well, but was so tired from the swim that I did not do well on the climbs. And I never do well on the descents – I’m too timid and too light. My bike split was 1:22:04 (18.3 mph). This was only the 130th best bike split. Seriously not good!
My day did improve on the 10K (6.2 mile) run. The run course was very challenging compared to the pancake flat version in 2006 when I ran 36:37. This year the course had 2 laps and each offered 3 brutal climbs – the first was 17%, the second was 12% and the third was 9%. I had a respectable 15th best run with a 43:43 split. I placed 80th out of 148 finishers in the men’s age 55-59 category with a finish time of 2:46:32. In 2018 at the Gold Coast I placed 19th out of 92 and had the day’s fastest run. I’d like to think that I’m not that much worse 1 year later as some slowing is to be expected. Mostly I think Lausanne was just always going to be a tough course for me.
To see my race photos, click on this link.
I may not have raced very well, but I am very thankful for this opportunity. Participating in international races and representing Team USA is a very special privilege. Stay tuned for the next race in our European racation – the Ironman 70.3 World Championships on 9/8/19.
Living the life…