Ironman Zurich

Last Ironman in Germany in 2011. Also no triathlon training since the 70.3 Worlds in Vegas 2012…but for some unknown reasons I felt it would be cool to race with my friend in Zurich this summer!

I managed to hit the pool once a week for 2km at lunch time, did it 4 or 5 times before Zurich. Same on the bike where I went 4 times longer than 160km on WE. Not much time left to run but I had a good run in HK marathon early Feb so I am hoping my body remembers

Flying to France with my 2 little girls mean no sleep in the plane and not much in following few days but this was expected. Took the car on Saturday for 5h non stop to Zurich. Get the race pack, assembly the bike, rack it in transition, prepare the bags and check in the Youth Hostel. By 10pm 3 of us in the room (all racing the next day) were switching off the lights, all good. And then some dude came in at midnight, all lights on, showered, unpacked his stuff for 1 hour, unbelievable. Worse, the guy went to bed and fell asleep in 10min, snoring like a V8 car engine! Oh my…worst night ever, and alarm clock went on at 3.30am (did not even wake him up! damn!)

Race day, I swim at my pace, try to follow some feet. I am glad we have a wetsuit swim but it’s still ugly and pretty slow. Out of the swim in less than 1:10, not good at all but I take it (no swim for 2 years and i dont feel too much tired, all good).

On the bike, it’s drafting paradise (but i guess it’s because I have not raced amateurs since 2009). I feel a bit guilty being at 7 meters while many are sucking wheels at 1m! Anyway, I am catching a lot of groups and the 1st 30km is flat and fast. Then less drafting and more rolling, hills. I’m staying with my group and we’re on a good pace (probably 36.5kmh avg). Pity I got a mechanical on the steep climb at the end of 1st lap. Chain was jammed between the wheel and the cassette. Could not remove it. Took me quite a while to figure it out and the chain was a bit damaged, not straight. I did the climb on the 42×21 to avoid any chance…ouch. Hit the 1st lap in 2h30 which is good but i can feel the legs are dead – lack of endurance

2nd lap on the bike is same drafting story except i lost all the fast groups so we’re “only” goinf 36kph now…and my chain feels weird but seems ok. No point for me to go solo at 40kph+ as i can feel my legs already dead. The hilly part of the course will take quite some time, some tricky descents too, fast and slippery, definitely not my taste.

Bike leg 5:15 – same, it is not great but i take it

And on the run I felt almost ok for 10km and then completely ran out of juice! Lack of endurance, lack of brick training, no strength in these legs… Spent a lot of time walking. Told me every 10min to never ever do that again (ie coming unprepared to an ironman)

Finally saw my friend catching up strong on the run and decided it was a good excuse to wait for him. So we could finish together.

Overall, the race is great, nice course, the run is a bit tricky with so many twists but lots of spectators too. Clearly I had underestimate the training needed for that kind of race and suffered a lot, especially on the run/walk!

With 1 month to go before UTMB, I can see that I am nowhere near what UTMB requires in terms of fitness and stamina…ouch!

Still, nothing wrong with a 10:49

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