Menno Koolhaas, triathlete and on his way to the Olympic Games of Tokyo, recently became Dutch Champion at the Olympic Distance! Read here how he won the victory and how his Isaac Meson contributed to it.
In competitive sports, it's not always easy. And I certainly noticed that this year. I had a great start of the year with a new personal record on the 10 km of running. I had a top preparation in Namibia, where I was on a training course together with the Dutch selection in January. But during the first race my form wasn't shown on all three elements. During swimming I lost the breakaway so it was impossible to finish with a good result. I thought, that's part of it, I'm good so I don't have to worry. Then I made my trip to Down Under for two world cups that were planned there. I was still fit but I was not able to do it in the races. I was racing with a lot of pressure and couldn't really enjoy the moment. I raced very forced and if things didn't go well I couldn't get over it to get the positive thought out of it.
That's why I decided to take a break in international racing after the last race in Down Under. I was going to do races that I liked, I did my first half triathlon in which I immediately became 2nd. I raced again in the Dutch and Belgian divisions to enjoy entering the races again. I had also rediscovered the fun and was able to enter the races with a different perspective. And with success because in all the races I participated I was on the podium.
My first really important race was the Dutch Championship Olympic Distance in Veenendaal. Since my season had ups and downs, I had planned to have no expectations of the race and just enjoy racing and then see what the result will be.
The race started with the 1500 meter swim and from the start I was immediately in the lead. Together with another athlete I came out of the water with a lead of 50 seconds and we were both preparing for 40 kilometres of cycling. We worked well together and together we made sure that our lead remained the same. The two of us also got off the bike with a lead of 1min10 on a big chasing peloton and after a quick change we started to walk the 10 kilometers together. With our legs tired from cycling we had a hard time walking. The weather conditions were also heavy with temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius. After 1:46:27 I crossed the finish line first and for the third time in my career I was allowed to call myself Dutch Champion (also in 2010 with the juniors and in 2016 also with the seniors).
A great feeling to win the race this way. From start to finish I dominated and won the race. After a difficult season this race was more than welcome and gives me the confidence that I am on the right way back!