At power2max, we are proud to work with young gun Nils Frommhold. After exploding onto the scene with his victory at Ironman Arizona in 2012, Nils had to miss a good part of the 2013 season due to a stress fracture. He came back with a gutsy performance at Ironman Cozumel that year, where he suffered in the heat. In 2014 he backed up his early promise with a stellar season: victory at Ironman South Africa, second at Challenge Roth, and 6th at the World Championships in Kona on his debut. Nils is not only a great athlete, he is also a great guy and not shy to share his experience when things don’t work out perfectly, like at Ironman Melbourne.
Flashback to Roth: in the German classic, Nils showed his exceptional bike skills, gapping the field by 5 minutes and putting out an astounding 306 watts (normalized). After the long season and an exceptional Kona Nils took his time to find his way into the new season: “After Kona, I was mentally exhausted.”
At the Asia-Pacific Championships in Melbourne, Nils pushed the pace on the bike once again, which gave him the course record in 4h19m08s. He told us: “the race was pretty simple. After 10km Luke Bell and I rode away from the field. Luke rode about 20-30km in the front until 100km. After 160km he fell back and I rode completely alone. The course was a simple out and back with tail wind on the return leg.”
Nils came off the bike 1 minute ahead of Luke and 14 minutes in front of Jeff Symonds, who would win on the day. Up to 26km Nils was running well before the wheels came off and he had to slug it out to get to the finish line with a 3h04 marathon for 5th place – a dream for almost everyone, but not what Nils had hoped for. “I felt really good for a long time, but probably went a bit too hard on the bike and the first half of the marathon. Then, all of sudden things went wrong and I had stomach troubles that made me stop twice. I learned some good lessons during the race: I’m already in decent shape, but should probably have raced a bit less aggressively in the earlier stages.”
What do the numbers say about his bike segment? Nils averaged 279w (average) and 290w (normalized), a good bit below his outstanding power at Roth. On a windy course with 769m elevation gain he averaged 41.1kph and put out a total of 4330kj. At his weight that’s around 3.7w/kg. Unlike what we often see in pro races, the race almost started “easy”: in the first 30 minutes Nils “only” put out 268w (normalized). The second hour he rode at 290NP, the third hour at 302NP, and the fourth hour at 291NP – extremely steady and even, which his variability index of 1.04 confirms.
What do we learn from this? Even the greatest athletes can’t always have a perfect day and have to take some risks. Nils didn’t ride unevenly or way too hard. It was maybe the combination of an early season race and warm temperatures that just tipped him over the edge and made the last part of the marathon a survival slog.
We say thanks to Nils and hat off for sharing his difficult experience.