Ironman 70.3 St.Poelten, Austria
Sunday 25th March, 2013
Weather: Cold/Windy/Slight Rain
55F / 12C
Total Time = 04:38:42
Overall Male Rank = 720/1764
Part of my Full Ironman Preparation was the requirement to complete a Half-Ironman. I choose the 70.3 St.Poelten in Austria as it seemed like a manageable course with a relative easy swim, a nice bike course with two decent climbs, and a super flat run course. Flat run course is always a bonus for me, as running is my weak point, and there was no need to make it any harder than a 70.3 is already. Keeping it simple was the plan.
Race Strategy consisted to simply get out there and do it. This came down to simply that I had never done a 70.3 before, and I did not know what to expect. The only extra preparation I did was my nutrition strategy that consisted of pre-swim Clif Shot, on the bike two bottle of carbohydrate mix by X-Nutrio, and 5 gels by Clif Shot with one Science in Sport Energy Bar for something more solid for the stomach. For the Run Section I had 2 Clif Shots with any water requirement to be fulfilled the aid station. For those still figuring out nutrition during the race, my requirements were based on needing around 95gr of carbs an hour, which I got through two gels and around 500ml of carb mix. This does not work for everybody, and I highly recommend to play around with nutrition in training to see what works best. What works for one triathlete will not always work for another.
The race itself was full of surprises with the swim section cancelled the night before due to safety issue, as the water temperature combined with the air temperature meant that it was to cold and would have endangered the athletes well being. My feelings about this was mixed; for one delight as I m scared of open water swimming, but at the same time disappointed as it meant that I would not do a full 70.3. Especially more as I was aiming for a sub29min swim.
With no swim section, it became a rolling bike start were credit goes to the organization for a perfect replacement start. The cold temperature meant that I choose to wear my Rapha ProTeam Jacket to ensure my upper body stayed warm enough, and would provide enough protection if it started to rain. In hindsight, something lighter would have been better, but at times I did appreciate the warmth of the Jacket. The first 25km of the Bike Course were flat with an average speed of 37.29km/h, with only the two climbs in the middle of the course giving me some problem. This was partly down due to the lack of any kind of hills in northern Germany were I m currently based, however slightly saved by my decision to swap my cassette to a 12-27 configuration from 11-25 which meant I was able to spin up the mountains, with a bail out option on my cassette. Only negative I saw that there was some blatant cheating going on, with a number of triathlete working together on the flats. Positive was that I saw a bunch of them in the next penalty tent. Felt better after that. With a straight shot back to transition course after that with no more climbing the only problem I encountered were the crosswinds, which meant that at times during some quick descents I felt slightly unstable with me running Enve 6.7 Clinchers which are fantastic race wheels overall but as any deep rims slightly suspect at high crosswinds. Final Bike leg time was 02:45:33.
Transition was not as quick as I hoped at 00:03:39, but this was my fault as I decided the night before to tie a knot into my transition bag to ensure no rain would enter the bag overnight. However I forget to undue the knot in the morning prior to the race. Lesson learned to ensure to double-check your transition bags prior to the race. The Run Section is a simple two-lap course that meant you got a lot of support from the spectators which helped significantly. Was it easy running that distance after the bike section? Definitely not, but my aim was just to keep going and not to walk under any circumstance. This was achieved simply because of the support of the spectators, and my hamstrings getting tighter each km and me knowing that if I stopped at anytime I would be walking the rest. When I saw the finishing line I could not stop smiling with a Run Time of 1:49:30 and total time of 4:38:42.
The course itself is fantastic, and I recommend it to anybody who is looking for a relative easy first 70.3. I do recommend some hill training for the bike section, and lets hope the weather conditions will be better as well.