Talented Dane takes the win after tough early season
For Trek Factory Racing triathlete Helle Frederiksen, the 2019 season has been volatile thus far. Prior to this weekend’s result, Helle has had a less then ideal start. This meant a forced restart, and a shift in focus prior to larger season goals. In her own words;
This season didn’t start as I had originally planned and hoped for. My early season plans were built up around retaining my World Champion title at the ITU Long Distance World Championships. My season opener, in early April at Challenge Salou, unfortunately showed me that my body wasn’t in a great place, at least not in a place whereby it was ready for competition. A tough DNF in Salou forced me to reassess my season plans. At the time, despite my body showing me signs on a daily basis that I wasn’t ready to line-up for a World Championships, I never questioned if it was the right decision to race. “I’m the World Champion, I have to defend this title” that’s the stubbornness of competitors that is both our strength and our weakness. But sometimes it takes a bit of “rough riding” for us to find the right path. After the DNF at Challenge Salou due to nerve issues, I knew I needed to re-evaluate. 2 weeks out from the start of the World Championships I took the hard decision to withdraw. It was here the stress lifted, the focus became clear and the long window for consistent training opened. I put together a tentative race plan that would enable me to have a successful summer of racing and hit some big goals later in the year. In came this weekend’s IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau, a German classic race over the 70.3 IRONMAN distance. A tough course that would enable me to see where I am at after 7 consistent weeks of training as I build towards the first big goal, the IRONMAN 70.3 European Championships on June 23rd in Helsingør, Denmark.
This weekend’s race was a chance to hit that restart button, and focus the mind towards bigger goals in June.
All photos courtesy of Isaak Papadopoulos.
Somehow I’d have to say this weekend’s result was a relief. There is no feeling like winning as a professional athlete, and despite having raced close to 100 professional races, setback and injury never makes you feel invincible. There is always a need to boost the confidence. Racing is the best way to do this. So for that reason the goal was to come to Kraichgau and race in the way I know best…fully committed.
It was a lonely day but a very enjoyable one. I exited the water at the front of the race along with Anna-Lena Pohl from Germany. Once I mounted and got myself together (tightening the shoes down, zipped up the suit and started the Garmin), it was all about pushing out the power and racing hard. I quickly made my way passed Anna-Lena and that was to be the closest I would be to a competitor for the rest of the race. I pushed aggressively over the hilly 90km bike, which contained just under 1100m climbing.
I felt great throughout and entered the run transition with a 3:30 minute gap on the field of chasers. The goal from this point was again to test my fitness and I took my lead on the run up to 6:30 minutes at around the 10km mark of the 21.1km run. Acknowledging the days 32 degree Celsius heat and being in the fortunate position whereby I could shut it down and preserve, I chose to do so, consolidated towards the finish to win with a margin of 3:57 minutes over Alexandra Tondeur of Belgium. Kathrien Verstuyft rounded out the podium.
For Helle, it’s now all about recovery and a small build period into the upcoming IM 70.3 European Championships. Keep in touch as she goes for the goal!