2014 Eupen Triathlon - Team Pauwels Consulting came in third

Gentlemen, on 3 August you represented the colours of Pauwels Consulting by running the half trio-triathlon of Eupen. Tell us all about it! How did it go?

Niels: I participated in the half trio-triathlon of Eupen together with my colleagues Tijs and Dieter. Dieter swam 1.9 km, Tijs cycled 80 km and I ran 21 km.

“I was not really sure I’d make it.”
And how did you like it?

Niels: A whole lot. It was clear from the start that we were all very motivated to go for it, for more than 100 %. The organisation and the track were also great. Coming in third really was the cherry on the cake.

Tijs: I was not really sure I’d make it, because the Eupen Triathlon is also the Belgian championship for individual athletes and the cycling track had more than 1 000 height gages. A beautiful scenery, though, for sports events!

Dieter: I also liked the triathlon a lot. Great atmosphere among colleagues. The three of us were very motivated to achieve a top performance. In the end we conquered 3rd place out of 37 participating teams. And we ended in 10th place in the general classification of Belgian top athletes.

“The biggest fight so far.”
What was the most difficult moment and why?

Niels: The whole time that I had to run was quite hard. I started third of all teams and wanted to maintain that position at all cost. But it was impossible to know what the other teams behind me were doing.

I was looking back all the time to check if anyone was approaching me at great speed. The track was also heavy with just a few flat stretches. It was either going up or down.

Tijs: I took a quick start but I missed a bottle after the first round and I was without energy drink for a while. I was afraid that I would dehydrate and get cramped but fortunately this did not happen and I was able to keep a steady cycling pace until the end.

Dieter: The swimming start was really very difficult. More than 500 people were in the water. And if everyone wants to deliver a top performance, the start is indeed a bit stressful. I have done some individual triathlons but on 3 August I delivered the biggest fight so far.

“Like a dream when you get out of the water.”
What was the most beautiful moment and why?

Niels: The most beautiful moment was the finish. Tijs & Dieter were waiting for me there and they made it clear that we’d made it in third place. It really was a kick to finish among all those triathletes.

Tijs: For me the most beautiful moment was Niels’ finish. It was fantastic when we saw Niels appear on the horizon and when he did the last couple of meters through a long line of people. The awareness that you are on the podium during such an event gives an incredible feeling of satisfaction.

Dieter: For me it was special to get out of the water among so many supporters. You are always in a kind of dream when you get out of the water. The effort, the standing up after 2 km of swimming and the crowds really spur you on. And when we got to stand on the podium, all three of us, that evening, that was just the cherry on the cake.

“One big family of sports freaks!”
Were you able to encourage one another during the race and, if so, how did that go?

Niels: The track was construed in a way that the transition areas were very close together. This allowed us to stay in touch throughout the race and continue to encourage each other to give it our all.

Tijs: We also had to supply each other. During these moments we tried to report time differences and positions, to the extent that it was possible. It gives a kick to get by the transition area while being applauded every round. In Eupen I’ve learned that a triathlon circuit is quite a jovial and open place to hang around. It seems to be one big family of sports freaks!

Dieter: When I was swimming I could not hear Tijs and Niels at all, but right before the transition Niels shouted at me very loudly. During the transition I was able to encourage Tijs and also during the 3 cycling rounds we were in a good position to shout and hand out drinks. We were also able to encourage Niels 3 times on the running track.

“French fries are always good after a sports activity.”
What did you do when you got to the finish and when Niels finally crossed the finish line?

Niels: I drank a lot (water & alcohol-free beer) and I ate a lot. Then we discussed the race and the emotions during the race.

Tijs: After the finish Dieter and I immediately went to the box after the finish to accompany Niels. That is when I noticed that only 9 athletes had arrived.

To celebrate our performance we went to a local French fries shop together. French fries are always good after a sports activity.

Dieter: Of course we cheered a lot because this was a performance we had hoped for but which had not seemed realistic beforehand. If you can do it in the end, there is of course a lot of shouting and jumping going on.

“The condition was quite ok.”
Such a race in the middle of summer is quite heavy to finish successfully. Did you train for it especially?

Niels: Not really anything special. After the Zermatt Marathon I knew that my condition was all right. After that I trained on speed for about 3 weeks to make sure that I would run the half marathon in a decent time.

Tijs: I completed a number of regional cycling races to prepare for this. A couple of weeks ago I won a race on a sloping track, so I knew my condition was quite ok.

Thursday I trained in time trial position for the first time, to get used to the reclined position on the bike.

Dieter: I did not train specifically for this race but I have a good general condition because I participate in triathlons individually. The distance is usually shorter but because I did not have to do the 3 stages myself I gave it my all during the swimming stage.

“Next year we are going for first place!”
Do you want to take part next time?

Niels: You bet. And we are going for first place then!

Tijs: I would take the challenge again right now, but with an adapted trial race bicycle. With the right equipment you can win some time on the competition.

Dieter: Absolutely! Performance with this team is the best.

“An individual quarter triathlon seems an excellent challenge for 2015.”
Do you have a next sports challenge you want to train for?

Niels: Not quite yet. I would like to do a quarter triathlon on my own, but that will be for the beginning of next year.

Tijs: Mid-August I am going to the Tyrolean mountains for a week to climb some glaciers. Then I am going to do some cycling races and in the autumn I start with the winter training for next season. An individual quarter triathlon seems an excellent challenge for 2015.

Dieter: I am going to try and do a couple of 1/8 or quarter triathlons this year, but everything depends on a knee injury I am currently suffering from. If it does not get fixed this triathlon season I will start focussing on next season.

Thank you, gentlemen, congratulations and success with the preparations for your next challenge. Good job!


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