My coast to coast race report from three weeks ago 🙂
Rightoo haha… well as you can see, I haven’t used my Blog for a very long time. It’s not because I haven’t raced since 2016 , nope I have done a lot of racing from then till today. I just found it hard to sit down and write!
As you all know I’m German and English is my second language and my English Grammar skills are nearly non-existant. So writing a Blog takes a very looooooong time for me. And as time is so precious I rather not write and go outside instead and do other more exiting stuff hahahhaah…..
But I have been thinking and I do want to make some changes!
And this means writing my race report I really need to sit down and do it right now.
So here it is :
I had a nice smooth week leading into the race which was already a huge improvement from last year. I felt like a winner heeeheeee….
I was organised with my gear and my support crew. Thumbs up …nice work guys!
The sleep the night before a big event like the Coast to coast is not the best one. In the past I hardly got any sleep because I’m so exited. This year it was different again I could hardly wait to start the race…a kind of strange feeling but I liked it.
Race morning I got up at a crazy 3am for my breakfast, Coffee and toilet stops. Race start is always at 6am sharp and I need to eat early to digest my food a bit before my body starts racing.
Everything seemed to be good apart from having not as many toilet stops as I wanted but never mind, it just means that I might need to go during the race which I am always well prepared for.
The Weather was a concern for me as it was drizzling and I don’t like being cold right from the start.
But the outside temperature was warmish and I left the house just in my normal race clothing with my arm warmers on and of course a rain jacket to keep me dry till race start.
I went to rack my bike with my support crew. Marcel stayed with me for a little longer and we started walking down toward the beach. We met Alex Hunt who is one of the top men for the Longest Day and Marcel said that I am now in good company and left. Alex and me know each other from many races overseas and we had a lot to chat about.
When we arrived at the beach chatting stopped and it all became business as usual. I did a little jog, went down to the beach and dipped my fingers shortly in the water. I had less then five minutes to go, so quickly took off my rain jacket and dropped my bag with the jacket at the bag-drop and positioned myself on the start line amongst all the other athletes.
At 6am Robbin Judkins, the creator of the Coast to Coast did the countdown to race start.
We run for 2.2km’s on partly gravel and normal road to the firstst transition area where our bikes are ragged for the first bike ride.
As the horn went off so did we hahah full speed and I positioned myself behind Isla Smith and Fiona Dowling. I had the feeling that I heard Elina breathing down my neck the whole entire time.
Just before the roundabout I took the lead into the final 100m into TA 1, Elina was right with me. We went in and grabbed our bikes and off we went.
We rode with about 20 guys in a bunch for the next 55km’s to Aitkens Corner where we had the 2nd TA from bike to run.
The ride in that bunch was very frustrating for me and a couple of others as it turned out. Most riders in the bunch weren’t willing to do their turn at the front to break the wind. They just drafted of me and 3 or 4 other guys who did all the work. I kind of understand this if you are a woman hahah….
It was a lot of diddling around, very few surges were made and it just felt unsettling and confusing. We could have worked so much more efficient if we would all have done some short turns for like 10seconds max and nicely rotated around.
I rode with the guys at the front and went also way to the back but felt that it was more dangerous at the back so moved back up and was working at the front again. All good and I didn’t mind but when we came close to the TA of course the guys who were drafting of us were passing to get ready to transition. It felt unfair.
I had a quick transition off the bike into the run. Marcel gave me my run pack and after the race told me that I was swearing when I passed him…oups! The big mountain run starts with 3 km’s in the flats to the first river crossing just before this I saw marcel and he told me to take it a bit more easy meaning slower my pace as I got 30km’s ahead of me.
If you have never done or heard about the Coast to Coast run…well it is a very different run to any other trail or off-road run’s.
Picture this : you basically run in and along a riverbed for most of it and there are some big boulder hopping sections included before you get higher up to Goat pass. It is a very pretty run, you cross a lot of side streams which means your feet are wet not only right from the start but till to the end hahah…
Running on a riverbed and over the rocks can be quite challenging and if you ever feel like doing this race then I highly recommend training on something similar a lot. It is easy to roll your ankles in this kind of terrain and training rock running is a must to prevent injuries.
You need to find grippy shoes which drain quick and support you too. My most favourite running shoe and what I used on race day were the Hokaoneone Evo Jawz. It is a very light shoe, minimal but extremely grippy on this terrain. I love them and am super happy with them.
I had an okay run, was in my own space and was lucky to have some good guys running with me for a short while and exchanging some banter along the way. Sorry I forgotten their names but it was great having them around especially running out towards Klondyke Corner.
At TA 2 I got told that I had a 7min lead on Elina and that was the first time that I got given a time split which was great.
It was also the TA where I got a 2 minute time penalty but I had no idea about it as I didn’t read the rules properly ekkkkkk ( lesson learnt for the future )
One of my support crew carried my bike onto the road but wasn’t allowed to do so which we figured out afterwards.
I jumped onto my bike and rode the 15km’s to Mount White bridge.
I had a great tailwind pushing me right at the start of my ride. I loved it and I felt like flying. Traffic management stopped the traffic for us riders so we could blast over the one way bridge after Klondike.
I was flying pass like there was no tomorrow, felt so happy and excited that I had a 7 min lead and so on but that excitement stopped very sudden when I lifted up my head approaching very fast that 90 degree bend to the left and realised I am way too fast to make that corner.
I tried to make the best using my breaks to slow me down as much as I could to get around and I kind of managed well but there wasn’t enough space an A stationary white Ford Transit van stopped me and I crashed sidewise into it AUTSCHHHHH !!!!!!!!! I thought my race was over 😦 O dear what had I done ?!?!?!?
But I was very very lucky, the man in the car didn’t make a big scene out of it. I got up and jumped back on my bike.
So amazing and yes very lucky to get away with almost nothing (more luck than brain I know). Only my front brake was jammed up a bit. The cranks were hardly turning over. I kept going as I knew I needed to get somehow to the next TA and there was no other way than moving forward.
It got harder and harder till a strange noise came and I thought f….. that’s me again ah well I will just have to run with my bike to the next TA.
But somehow the brake unlocked itself and God knows how I don’t care hahahah and yahooooo I was off again riding my bike normally. Well kind of I was a bit worried that something else might have happened so I took it easy to the next TA.
The first thing I said to Marcel who waiting for me at the TA and had no idea of what had happened is that I crashed and he really needed to check the bike really well because of the locked brake etc.
When you transition from the middle bike ride to the river paddle there is a 1km run section to the river on a gravel road.
Your support crew is allowed to feed you as you are running down to the boat.
Marcel ran down with me and made sure I’m all good and when we arrived I had Emily at the kayak with all my kayaking gear ready to be changed over.
Everything went smooth and off I went for my 70km paddle down the Waimakariri river.
The water flow was very low and it was the lowest I have ever seen and paddled it which was a little bit of concern but not really as it was the same for every paddler. If you have never done that paddle it is kind of hard to imagine what it looks like but here is a photo of the paddle start:
This is just a Photo from the internet, on race day there was hardly any water hahaha…
You paddle 20km’s till you reach the gorge. In all my training paddles I did really well with finding the right braids or channels to go down but on race day I was with two other guys and it was really hard to look ahead or around them hahaha …
Anyway eventually we ran out of water which meant you have to get out of the boat and carry it to another channel/ braid with hopefully more water and takes you into the main river flow.
“Beaching” can be a pain in the “ass” because when it happens I need to drag my poor kayak over the rocks as fast as I can and the risk of damaging my boat and rudder is high. I “beached” and I was lucky that nothing broke as I was of course a little careful and jumped back in and made my way down the river. And I told myself : do not follow anybody anymore.
I finished the paddle 1or 2 minutes ahead of Elina and wasn’t surprised as I know she’s a very good paddler and I am still learning. Heaps more to learn!
After I exited the boat I got informed that I got a 2 minute time penalty but they did not say what for. I heard a few different stories while jogging up to the last TA to mount my bike and they really fired me up for the last 70km final bike ride.
I started riding and had a bit of a side wind for 8.8km on the main road till I turned onto South Eyre road for 41.2km (including 26km without a turn)
There I had an amazing tailwind which I wish it would have lasted forever hahahaha but it didn’t. It turned into a strong headwind all the way to the finish line eeeeeek…..
I started off well with a lot of enthusiasm as I knew I had a penalty and needed to ride at least 2 minutes faster than Elina to win the race.
I had good confidence in my riding even tough I had very sore feet and every paddle stroke was very painful and not even half way I saw my energy was going down and I struggled to hold the power output I had planned. I had a bit of a mind fight going on at that stage and thought ah well if anyone is passing me now, they are obviously the better athlete and deserves to win the Multisport Worldchampionships!
It was a lonely last bike ride and there was hardly anybody but when I saw people they were very cheerful and happy for me!
Also what exited me as I was riding I kept on passing some guys which made me happy and I thought : ah well my riding can’t be that bad then!
About 200 meters before the finish line you have to get off your bike and run over sand to the finish in New Brighton.
When I tried to get my feet out of my shoes I started to cramp-up and wasn’t sure how on earth would I be able to get off my bike without falling over. But funny enough I managed and slowly shuffled over the line.
That finish line, yahooooo!! Well I think all finish lines are just soooo good. Especially when you are at the front there are so many spectators cheering you on and celebrating with and for you. It was amazing but when I arrived I was still in race mood knowing I had to make it asap to the line because of my penalty. When I crossed the line everyone went crazy and celebrated my win (which I still can’t believe it happened). I needed to make sure I waited for two minutes then yup I will celebrate but the announcer promised me that I had a way bigger lead than 2 minutes so it was okay.
It was a crazy experience because I didn’t know what to say, I felt so strange and overwhelmed. It was a bit unreal.I got a bottle with champagne and I couldn’t open it hahahahaha. My fingers were so crazy weak. I managed but what a day and what a race!!!
It took me several days to realise that I had finally achieved one of my biggest victories.
Another dream of mine and I did made it happen with a lot of support from sponsors and friends.
I became the first German athlete in the sports history of the Kathmandu Coast to Coast to win this event( I think that’s pretty cool eh :-).
Although I regard myself more as a Kiwi than a German…does that make sense?!
It also turned out that I had the second fastest final ride out of everyone, male and female athletes.
And I had the fastest running time of the women over the run course on the day, yuppee!
My next big challenge is one of the biggest Adventure Races on the globe: “Godzone”. We will race as an equal gender team : two men and two women and this is very exiting. We are going to be racing as Team Perpetual Guardian…as in powered by Perpetual Guardian.