(c) Dietmar Koerbler

Challenge St. Pölten – everything happens for a reason

Michi's main goals in the last weeks were to finish Ironman Tulsa and Challenge St. Pölten as an extra - but sometimes things go different than planned.

He went confident into the race in St. Pölten, the last preparation trainings after his return from the USA went well. The weather in the Lower Austrian capital was better than predicted and warmer than expected. Michi had on-site support from mental coach Wolfgang Seidl, good friend Robert Kaiser & his family - actually optimal conditions.

Lagging behind after the lake crossing
After the starting gun, the swim proved to be generally slow in very cool temperatures. After the first lake the dream team from SchullerProTriTeam with Michi and Pauli Ruttman was still united. Michi had to let him get away in the second lake though. He was a bit more behind than in the years before. With such a huge starting field, other race dynamics and larger groupings developed. In the end, the gap after the swim was just too much.

Gansbach record on the bike
After a good transition, Michi was able to catch up with Pauli again before the S33 expressway, which gives the athletes a Formula 1 feeling, and then rode his own pace. But he didn't manage to get away from the caught up athletes. After that he wanted to know it again and made powerful pressure on the Gansbach climb, where he could break away from the group with Christian Birngruber.

Side note: 
It was a personal best time for Michi at the Gansbach climb according to Strava. 20 seconds faster than his 2018, when he won the race. The bike performance was solid!

The fight was not rewarded
On the run course Michi started very aggressively and he really fought, but it was very difficult to get to the front. He never lost it mentally and finished 27th. It's not an easy situation for a pro athlete to deal with such results. The revival of racing is an extraordinary and beautiful situation and it is developing again completely different racing due to the concentrated starting fields. The young athletes are showing up strongly at the moment and have caught up on the bike.
The Austrians have presented themselves strongly! For Michi it was only enough for 4th place in the national ranking. Against the German superiority it was difficult to hold on, however, it was an Austrian proof that events can be organized and carried out at top level!

Don't overanalyze is the order of the day! Michi is aware of the mistakes, but he is happy to have pulled through the races. Now it is time to make a cut - everything happens for a reason! And failure motivates for a harder preparation for the next races!
A big chapeau goes to the organizers, who did a great job from the athlete's point of view. Michi hopes that the hardest part of the pandemic is over. Finally there are events again and you can set clear goals!

He will now switch off training for 1-2 weeks, to then start a completely new build-up in his hometown in Gumpoldskirchen, with a 3-month preparation for Kona. In case Kona is postponed, the Ironman Austria is right in front of the door as plan B in September . For now, however, the look and the joy goes towards the birth date of his second daughter on July 7.

Race pics Challenge St. Pölten