Triple winner of Challenge Heilbronn

Hi everyone,

this is Dani again, just a couple of days after my second race of the season, which turned out to be a very special one for me once again. I was able to defend my title at Challenge Heilbronn last Sunday and complete the triple as I won this race in 2017, 2018 and – just recently – 2019.

Challenge Heilbronn is a beautiful race, very spectator friendly – swimming in the Neckar, followed by a very hilly and challenging bike course and a three-loop run along the river and in the middle of the city – “Mitten in der Stadt”.

I wanted to give everything I have to fight for the triple. I knew I was in good shape, but I wasn’t entirely sure about my running performance, as I had struggled with a calf injury that forced me to interrupt my run training for some weeks. I also knew that it would be very difficult to beat my teammate Laura Philipp on a half distance. On the other hand, I was aware of my previous performances and memories that I’ve had at Challenge Heilbronn, which gave me confidence about going into race day.

Hectic and cold start…

Race morning started very hectic. While checking in my bike I realized a cut in my tire, which didn’t look too trustworthy and we decided to change it, even though running out of time… Luckily, I had my husband and a mechanic from my bike partner Canyon around to do it for me. You might know that feeling… being forced to do last-minute changes is not really a great start into race day… However, we managed to get everything sorted in time and I was ready to start the race in – probably the coldest swim I have ever encountered in my career.

© Ingo Kutsche

I exited the water in the first chase pack after 28:34 and got on the bike, which turned out to be very fast right from the beginning. Laura Philipp pushed really hard and I didn’t want to let the gap open too much. I lost about 100 seconds on her in the first half of the bike, but managed to make up some time in the second part and got into T2 about 70 seconds back on the leader.

© Isaak Papadopoulos

Then, suddenly at the first turning point of the run, it was me leading the race, as Laura was struggling with an injury and had to pull out of the race – get well soon, Laura!

© Isaak Papadopoulos
© Ingo Kutsche

I managed to cross the finish line about ten minutes before the second lady and won my third title at Heilbronn, as well as the title “German Half Distance Champion 2019”.

© Isaak Papadopoulos

The spectators along the course were great as always and made it way easier for me to keep going. Like in the last years, Challenge Heilbronn was a perfectly organized and totally great race – I am looking forward to next year, already. 🙂

„Super happy with my performance! “

One way to look at a race is the result and as a professional athlete you rely on positions and rankings. Another way to evaluate race day is your individual performance. This way, you don’t depend on other people, who are in the race and you can judge about your performance by your individual effort, which in my opinion is what matters the most!

Regardless of the result, I am super happy with my performance on Sunday. I am glad that my fitness was better than it was in my season opener in Salou at the beginning of April and that it is going into the right direction, which makes me confident about the coming weeks.

Next stop: The Championship

I am really looking forward to my next adventure: The Championship at Challenge Samorin.

From what I’ve heard of fellow athletes and seen in the race coverage, the race seems to be perfectly organized and exciting, as well. Not to mention the stacked field of athletes that I will be racing against. There’s no doubt about it: The Championship will be another big challenge for me and a new event that I am privileged to experience.

I hope you’ve all had a good start into the season and your preparations for the big races are in full swing.

I wish you all the best and hope to see some of you in Samorin. 🙂