Ironman 70.3 World Championships – Zell am See, Austria
The first time for this event outside of North America was always going to be a different experience – and it was. Zell is a spectacular location – a ski resort circumnavigating lake Zell. Sally suggested we take the cable car, behind our charming hotel (researched by Glenda) up the mountain for a picnic lunch. Sitting there overlooking the snow topped glacier on a carpet of tall green grass we really felt like extras in ‘the Sound of Music’ or in our case the ‘Sound of Triathletes’.
The forecast of 33 degrees was a slight concern – but the start time of 11:00 (suited USA TV networks no doubt) meant that we knew we would be racing at the height of the heat. The lake and water were idyllic – straight out and back. The bike course was hard – included a 12km climb with around 6km of that at 14% plus – then a descent of 15% with hairpin after hairpin. Sally and Glenda loved this bit. Those of you on the Saturday rides may wonder that I ever got down. The run was apparently lovely going round the lake. By this point I was only looking at the gravel under foot.
Reality was that Glenda had had exactly four weeks to recover from racing IM Masstricht; Sally has not raced in the heat this year – and I had flown in via Canada. Sally’s pursuit of leaderhosen* and rush to finish proved a foolhardy strategy. Starting off at 25/mile per hr may work for a sprint but resulted in a new skill - managing vomit and riding at the same time. All of us suffered on the run – not a nice feeling, when each of us seriously thought that running a half marathon was not going to be possible. However we each plodded away to complete our slowest every half marathon. Looking at the results I suspect quite a few others may be saying the same thing.
*found Leaderhosen but frustrated by Jane & Glenda muscling in to share