How am I going to explain his one? This is no ordinary Iron distance race, this is a whole new experience… The crowds are phenomal, the atmosphere unbelievable… But I shall start at the beginning.
We had to get up at a stupid early time of 3am and left at 4am… We were still relatively early, so there wasn’t that many people around, but that quickly changed. It was amazing in transition, the music was awesome, and you could see the crowds gathering on the bridge. But it wasn’t long before the pro cannon went off, and it was a cannon and gave me quite a fright. Then it was the fast Men to go in the yellow caps. All the females got to follow next in the pink… We were let through the pen and into the Cannel, the water was fairly warm at 22 degrees. I got myself to front and centre, where I wanted to start and we were off!
There wasn’t much argy Bargy and was quickly into a nice rhythm, but I couldn’t find any one to draft off, so I pretty much did it by myself for the entire way. A couple of times my calf started to cramp, I hardly never get cramp! So I just didn’t kick very much. About 2.5 k in, I looked up and there was just a swarm of yellow caps in front. I couldn’t believe I had caught so many, they were supposed to be the very fast guys… So the rest of the way, it was just about making my way through the yellow caps.
The swim is a T swim up and down the Cannel, so it isn’t very hard to keep straight and you don’t have site very often.
Then I was out of the water, they had guys in the water pulling you up, I just let them pull me to I could touch the ground… Through transition and onto the bike, and off we go. Felt good to start with. The first aid station was a “ration point” manned by the army. It had guys saluting you before you got there, it was massively long as well, totally blew me away. The wind was blowing, not the horrible strong winds you get at home, but more wind than I have experienced in Germany the last 2 weeks. And it was tiring, apparently pros think it was 10min slower bike course than last year.
I just felt flat for most of the first lap, I couldn’t get up to a speed that I wanted. The climbs were a struggle, the course had more hills than I expected. Every little village we went through had crowds of people, and there are a lot of villages on the course, it actually makes the course fairly technical, lots of corners to navigate. At about 35 k’s was the biggest of the climbs, there was drums and crowds everywhere, you can’t really think with the noise. There were a few more climbs before we hit the solarberg… OMG I had seen the pictures, knew what to expect, but it was unbelievable, you had crawl your way up through the throng on spectators, and you just hoped they moved out of the way. Others talk about the noise, I didn’t really pay much attention to the noise just worried about getting though and to the top.
Than another 10k before we did the same lap again, almost landed in one of the army guys lap through the ration point… Not very coordinated at the best off times, and having to grab bottles with my right hand is difficult. I finally started to feel stronger on this lap, though just before the big climb, a bee got stuck in my helmet and stung me. It really hurt for the next 20min, even debated if needed to stop at next aid station to get it looked at, but kept going and pain went away.
The Solarberg the 2nd time had a few less people but was still massive, it truly a experience of a life time, to go up there. At least after that the course is mainly downhill for the 20k’s into Roth.
Run to come….