Recent Posts

Race Results

4th place, age group M30-34, Kona qualification

3rd place, age group M30-34

3rd place, Finnish Championship

Winner, age group M30-34

2013 IRONMAN Kalmar
2nd place, age group M30-34, Kona qualification

Finisher in 9 hours 30 minutes

5th place, Finnish Championship

Winner, age group M30-34

More results here.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

FINNTRIATHLON Joroinen 2014 Race Recap

It's been almost three weeks now since my first A-race of this season, the Finnish Champs, aka. FINNTRIATHLON Joroinen 2014. I know, I'm utterly late with this race recap. Sorry for that. It's because I've been busy PARTYING!! Well, not really, but I sure could have. It's the second year in a row that I somehow manage to nail a result according to my predicted best-case-scenario. This year I felt I had a legitimate, albeit small, chance at landing on the podium and sure enough, I walked away with the bronze medal! With only one of the current Finnish top-level triathletes missing from the start line, I can definitely be happy with the result which is by far my best ever. But the execution was only mediocre. To be honest, the scorching hot conditions, at least by Finnish standards, seem to have played for me as many struggled to perform in the heat.

1.9k Swim

Lake Valvatus, unlike last year, was calm on race morning. The water temperature felt borderline wetsuit illegal. The course was the same as before, going round a couple of small islands in a clockwise manner. Somehow it looked to be longer than normal but I wasn't too bothered about that. I had gained some new confidence in my swimming through the good race efforts earlier this season and I was actually quite happy to get into the water. Unfortunately I didn't, and still don't know, what was it in my stroke that seemed to propel me to a little faster splits. In the pool I was still the same slow myself.

The swim course the night before the race

Slow was also my start in this race as everyone seemed to swim past me when the gun went off. I swam to the left to find some calmer waters and tried to replicate the more efficient stroke that I had developed. I couldn't get it quite right and had to use more force to keep up the pace. The distance between the turn buoys took for ages and I was getting sure that the course must be a little long. The buoys were orange as were the life jackets of the lifesavers in the boats along the course and I saw some of the athletes getting confused because of this. For once being a bit slower swimmer benefited me a little as I could see the strayed swimmers returning back on course thus avoiding the same mistake myself.

Picture with courtesy of Niina Mäenpää (

On the final straight I managed to catch a pack of swimmers only to loose them again a few minutes after. I was feeling the effects of my forceful swimming but fortunately there wasn't long to go. I was glad when my fingers touched the sand and as I ran to T1 I could hear people, including my wife and daughters, cheering me on. A few familiar athletes were just packing their wetsuits to the gear bags prior to shooting out to their bikes and I knew I was in the game.


90k Bike

The bike course had changed somewhat for this year now being only one loop, basically out and back on a beautiful slightly rolling road. Pre-race I had ridden on the course and found it to be faster than previously. I suspected we could see records broken on race day but I didn't account for the few extra kilometers compared to last year's course. After the race my Garmin measured 91k, while last year the number was around 88k.

The bike course

The start of the bike leg is always hugely motivating for me as I usually strive in the saddle flying past some of the faster swimmers. This time I was also catching many competitors but I could feel almost straight away that everything wasn't quite right. My power output was right on the money but the perceived effort told another story. Somehow the circles I was pedaling weren't round but I was producing the power only on the downstroke, hammering the pedals. I tried to relax and continued to push the pace and after a short while caught a group of riders including my teammate Teemu Lemmettylä. I rode right pass him as I still had some spice in me and I saw the next scalps a few hundred meters up the road. Teemu stayed with me, behind the legal distance, and we made the pass dropping the other riders instantly. We were now somewhere around the top 10.

It didn't take long when the eventual fastest rider of the day, Tommi Martikainen, passed us. He went by at such a speed that it made me hesitate for few seconds wether to follow him or not. I decided to go for it but was already too much behind to benefit from any draft effect. My power numbers were quickly in the red zone, over 320W, and I had to let him go. Teemu also tried to go with him for a while with no avail dropping me in the process. I had to really concentrate for the next 10k or so to reel him and Tatu Kasurinen, who Teemu had caught, back in. When I did, I had no further aspirations to make any offensive moves. I stuck behind and watched my power readings drop to around 250W, well below my target of 290W. My quads were cooked from my inefficient pedaling and I struggled to stay even at this pace.


Before the turnaround, we saw Panu "the über swimmer" Lieto to be still holding the lead but Darby Thomas closing in as expected. On the way back we caught a few guys still and somewhere Tatu got dropped. My Vectors were measuring even lower power output but fortunately I was getting some free speed ten meters behind Teemu who, I think, wasn't riding up to his ability either. Surely I couldn't normally hang with him at power values below my ironman effort. Nevertheless, without him my bike split would have definitely been a few minutes slower.

In the final 10 kilometers I was already so tired that I finally had to let Teemu go and he got a lead of around 30 seconds. Coming to T2 I think I was in ninth position which was actually pretty good considering how I rode. I thought I still had reasonable chances to better my last years sixth place.

Picture with courtesy of Niina Mäenpää (

21k Run

The run course wasn't the easiest one out there with lots of turns and a reasonable amount of elevation change. That added to the sizzling hot weather made us all really work on the day and the run splits reflected the conditions.   

The run course

Already a little bit discouraged by the bike effort, I felt horribly fatigued for the first couple of kilometers. At the same time I felt confident that my legs would yet again deliver if I just hanged in there for a while. If there is one thing I've learned about long course triathlon racing, it's that staying positive goes a long way. It's my mantra of three Ps that I resort to when the going gets tough. It goes: pace, posture, positive.

Run profile

Soon enough I caught Teemu again and went quickly pass him. He was having visibly hard time and had to stop and walk later due to stomach issues. My hat comes off for him for still finishing the race! Then one back after another I slowly worked my way up the field finally reaching the fourth place. I was already happy with that and thought the top three were way ahead but then suddenly I saw a glimpse of Tuukka Miettinen's race top. Could it be that the former champion and pro level athlete was fading? Could I catch him?

I had around five kilometers to go and certainly no time to spare so I didn't stop pondering the answers. I was catching him with about 10 seconds per km so if he decided to fight it we'd be having a sprint finish. I managed to sneak behind him without being noticed and decided to hit it right away. To shake off any counter moves I accelerated just a bit and didn't look back. On the last short climb before the final kilometer my legs were about to cramp. I had to slow the pace down unless I wanted to loose minutes while stretching on the side of the trail. I only just made it up to the long final stretch before the stadium and could pick up the pace again as the trail had a downward slope. Coming out of the forest I had to look back to know if Tuukka was planning to out-sprint me. He wasn't there anymore. I had this in my bag and I could enjoy the final turns on the stadium before the finish line. Full of joy and a bit astonished I stepped up the platform with my hands raised up like a winner because that's how I felt! On the day I was the third fastest triathlete in Finland only about a minute from the second place. Me? An age-grouper with a full-time job and a family! I guess, as the motto of certain big race organizer goes, anything is possible.

I'd like to thank all of my sponsors for their support, especially Erwin from (Cocoon & Beaster), Mathias from Gerisale (Saucony), Teemu from Pyka (PowerBar) and Juha from Garmin Nordic Finland. The biggest thanks belong once again to my, ah, so patient wife Mira. Love you babe!

Next up in my calendar is Ironman 70.3 Budapest in just over two weeks 23.8. Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment