This is Thijs / Season 5 / Episode 1 / XTERRA South Africa

Plaats een reactie via facebook

Plaats een reactie op de website Geplaatst in Geen categorie, JimThijsTV

This is Thijs / Season 4 / Episode 5 / XTERRA Italy

Plaats een reactie via facebook

Plaats een reactie op de website Geplaatst in Geen categorie, JimThijsTV

XTERRA Italy 2015

One week after the European Championships Cross triathlon we had another race: XTERRA Italy. But since we had three days to recover before we could start pre-riding the XTERRA course, we decided to do some fun stuff first.

lakenight

A five hour drive from Germany brought us at Lago di Garda. Not because we wanted to spend some time at the lake, but because we wanted to visit Gardaland. We had an amazing day!

garda

gardaslide

alohagarda

G0022381

After this nice experience we had another 5 hour drive to get to Chieti, near Pescara. Elisabetta her mother is not from Sardegna but from Chieti, so we used this opportunity to visit her family. Another wonderful day with amazing people.

family

Sadly we couldn’t stay more days with them because we had a plan: to perform very good at XTERRA Italy. I needed this to prove to myself, my sponsors and everybody who helps me that I’m a top level pro athlete. When you don’t do the results you think you can do for a while, you start having a lot of self doubt. And that’s one of the worse things that could happen if you’re a pro athlete.

roomscanno

aloharacing

Elisabetta had her own reasons. Last year she was too scared to do the downhills on the mountainbike during the race and she had to get of the bike a lot. She was passed by too many girls who stayed on the bike and she felt really bad because of this. She also had a lot a breathing problems, probably related to the stress of the downhills and the fear of losing too many positions.

Here you have last years Episode:

Scanno has probably the hardest XTERRA race course in the world, but it’s our favorite one because of the long uphills (for Elisabetta), the long downhills (for me), the amazing nature and atmosphere and just because it’s Italy. bikescanno

We checked the course with World Champion Ruzafa and he surprised us with his kind character and all his advise to improve Elisabetta her mountainbike skills. checkruben

By race day we were relaxed and convinced we could do a good result.

prerace

biketrans

Elisabetta was the first woman out of the water. My swim was good as well, but with such a long bike and run, the swim at XTERRA Italy almost doesn’t matter.

11745412_876866365695589_7178175787916053033_n

After the first huge climb of around 45min I was in 5th position and Elisabetta was still leading. In the descent and the remaining part of the race I stayed in that 5th position, but Elisabetta lost three positions.

JTxitalymtb Elisabetta restaurant kl cxstyle 11798116_10206450232711102_779487234_n 11731565_10206211835647488_4426634489252911631_o 11251772_876656489049910_2583721603793150302_n 10983381_10203966004344924_7186736586101205346_n

11755104_876866409028918_828847622270023987_n

We both felt tired during the run, but so does everybody at XTERRA Italy. I set the second fastest running time to move up to fourth place and Betta run herself towards her first podium finish at a World Tour XTERRA. In fact, she finished 4th like me, but the day after the race the organization disqualified the original third woman for an illegal bike change during the race.

Elisabetta Happy run kl finish Betta&Jim 11728972_10206325214161880_2520616283099335129_o

podium

alessandri

bettatired

We left Scanno filled with positive thoughts and big smiles on our face. We train hard, everyday, and struggle sometimes in our life as pro athletes. But after our performances in Scanno we realize it’s all worth it. Definitely if you can share these moments with each other and the wonderful people in our lives. Confidence in your own capabilities is one of the most important things in the life of a pro athlete, and XTERRA Italy fed us with this.

 giant bettaferry

!BELIEVE!

Gear:
Outfit: Skinfit
Bike: Scott Spark 900SL
Fork: 88+ tuned Lefty
Wheel set: Notubes ZTR Valor
Seat: Cobb HC170
Shades: Oakley Radar Lock
Grips: ESI Grips Racer’s Edge
Helmet: Lazer Z1
Running shoes: WatermolenSport
Lube: Squirt dry lube
Wetsuit: Sailfish G-Range

20150207_105938

 

Plaats een reactie via facebook

Plaats een reactie op de website Geplaatst in Geen categorie, Race Reports Getagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

European Championships Cross Triathlon

After a season started with bad results at my first two big races, XTERRA South Africa and XTERRA Malta, because of energy problems during the race, all seems normal now.

Help and advise came from friends, coaches and other athletes. I made some changes in my nutrition and training and hoped for the best.

We left Sardegna by car. Being an island, this means we have to get on the ferry if we want to get out of this paradise.

GOPR2222

GOPR2217

In Schluchsee, Germany, we raced the European Cross Triathlon Championships. Last year I finished 3rd and Elisabetta used the first part of 2014 to start training again for off-road triathlon after a 3 year break. I knew a podium wasn’t possible this year, I was not ready to pull of such a performance yet. My goal is to be at my best in September and October when we will race the World Championships Cross Triathlon in Sardegna and the XTERRA World Championships in Maui. So our plan was to finish in the top 10 of the European Championships.

GOPR2323

But Elisabetta had to deal with some bad luck. The Italian federation allowed only one woman to race as an Elite. They choose Monica Cibin, who’s a very strong athlete and who deserves this selection. But the fact that Elisabetta couldn’t race as an Elite, even if she paid her own registration, hotel, travel, national suit, … made us very sad. If she would do a great top 10 result, she wouldn’t even get prize money. And she had to start 3 minutes behind the Elite race in the open age-group race. We tried everything to change the Italian Federation their decision. Even other federations tried to convince them, but nothing worked.

GOPR2298

So Elisabetta had to watch our start and 3 minutes later she could race as well. Already during the swim she could close the gap and catched some Elite Woman. She continued racing fast on the bike and run and kept on catching other Elites. She finished as the first age-group woman and took the European title. But we were more excited to find out that she put the 8th time amongst the Elite woman. We suppose the Italian federation realized they made a mistake because a few minutes after the race they selected her as an Elite for the World Championships. We both started crying from happiness because this frustration with the federation took so much energy out of us the last months. She lost the prize money for an 8th place, but she took the European amateur title. Not too bad after all.

Our favorite Belgian triathlon girl, Kiara Lenaertz, finished 7th in the Junior Women race. It was her first off-road experience and she loved it. Two weeks later she surpized everybody with another 7th place result at her first international road triathlon, the ETU Junior Cup in Tabor.

Video by Rudi Lenaertz:

My race was very good and I was happy with my performance. My swim was better than expected. On the bike I was a little bit afraid to go too fast. The images of a struggling Jim in South Africa and Malta were always on my mind. So I took no risks and played it safe. Maybe too safe. I had a great run and catched 5 guys. But I only finished 14th. Good race, good feelings, but bad result. Looking at the results I feel less bad about my result. If I rode a little bit faster with a little bit more confidence, a top 10 result was possible. And this race was all about racing again at a high level without energy problems. And that’s what I did.

11745382_10203565906782478_13532819375356941_n

I was impressed with the level of the German U23 and Elite athletes. It felt like there were 20 of them racing at the front. I will have to race at my absolute best at the World Championships to beat them.

11798440_10205091437909132_1349297704_n

We left Schluchsee relieved, both for our own reasons and previous struggles. One week later we had another race, XTERRA Italy. A race that changed our lives.

!BELIEVE!

11745465_877930438952687_968346487149758159_n

Gear:
Outfit: Belgian national outfit
Bike: Scott Spark 900SL
Fork: 88+ tuned Lefty
Wheel set: Notubes ZTR Valor
Seat: Cobb HC170
Shades: Oakley Radar Lock
Grips: ESI Grips Racer’s Edge
Helmet: Lazer Z1
Running shoes: WatermolenSport
Lube: Squirt dry lube

20150207_105938

Plaats een reactie via facebook

Plaats een reactie op de website Geplaatst in Geen categorie, Race Reports Getagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Energy problems

Because I had to drop out of XTERRA Malta with energy problems, I’m confronted again with “my” problem.

All my career I have this big, huge, drop in my performance or energy levels after 1h30 of racing at a constant high intensity. When I was 16, finishing a 2h endurance ride was very difficult. Luckily, with getting stronger over the years I have no more problem doing longer endurance training session without bonking all the time. But this problem was the reason to stop doing Ironman races. I simply couldn’t do the training.

When I race at endurance pace instead of real racing, I can finish in the top 15 of an XTERRA. But this is not why I train and work so hard. When I race an XTERRA two things can happen:

1)I race hard and after 1h30 I have to go a lot slower but survive and finish somewhere between 5th and 12th.

2)I race hard and after 1h30 I bonk so hard that I have to walk most parts of the race. This is when I finish somewhere between 50th and 100th position. Sadly enough, this happened a lot.

My biggest dream in sport is to “race” an XTERRA from start to finish. That would be so cool.

I have to do a lot more test and consultations with specialists because I still believe there must be a solution. To me there are two reasons who create this problem: dehydration and not absorbing the consumed sugars (carbohydrates) during exercising at race intensity for a prolonged period.

1)Dehydration: during training and racing at all intensities I have to pee a lot. A LOT. Up to 4 times in the first hour is not an exception, 2 to 3 times is standard. Even when I add electrolytes to my drinks, it happens. And when I pee, it’s not just a little bit of urine, it’s a lot. In the first hour of exercising I pee more fluids than I’ve taken in all day before the start of the training session or race. This must create dehydration because I don’t know if there is enough water in my body to do it’s normal work after losing so much of urine, considering that I’m also losing water through sweating.

2)I don’t absorb sugars during racing. Maybe this is a result of the dehydration, maybe it isn’t. If it is, the solution is simple. Fix the dehydration problem and everything is solved. It it’s a problem on it’s own, there is a lot of other work to do. Do I have a problem absorbing complex sugars like maltodextrine? Do I have an allergy? Does one of my organs stops doing its job at a certain intensity? And many more questions.

I know it’s not about training or about the mental aspect of racing at a high level under a certain pressure. It’s a physical/medical thing that’s not right. I’m 100% sure about this and extremely determinated to find the solution. I’ve put too much energy and passion into this amazing sport for 20 years and I know what I can and what I can’t. I don’t take the easy road and consider doping as an option. I prefer to finish last pro and look for honest ways to fix my problem(s).

I want to thank all my friends, sponsors, family, Elisabetta and to my surprise some of my fellow pro athletes for their support no matter what and for helping me to find the solution.

!BELIEVE!

Plaats een reactie via facebook

1 reactie Geplaatst in Geen categorie