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Ironman Austria Course Reccy

Race breifing in IronDome

Picture 1 - Race Briefing

The day before the race everyone goes along to the Iron Village for the race briefing. It covers pretty much everything you need to know but I'll give a quick run down now. In your registration bag, as well as the usual stuff, you'll have three plastic bags, each a different colour and labelled 'swim', 'bike' or 'run'. Obviously you put your bike kit in the bike bag, run kit in the run bag but the swim bag you hold on to (ie, don't hand it in while racking). That's to put the clothes you wear on race day morning to hand in just before you go along to the swim start for the race. You can also collect a Special Needs Bag at registration but you have to ask for it, it's not given out in the pack. The SNB is handed in on race morning, just beside the swim start.

Lake Worthersee

Picture 2 - The Swim

This picture is taken from one the of the piers which will probably be the start line for this year (I say probably because it's not actually confirmed as yet) and is the view you'll get from the start. Last year was a two lap swim, this year is a one lap but I'm pretty sure it'll be straight out into the lake to a turn buoy then back (maybe two 90° turns then back). You can see the two marker buoys taking you out into the lake and very faintly a platform (just left of the red buoy) and in the very far distance the final turn buoy. That line of swimming points straight at that huge hill with the sighting tower on the top and makes a very good sighting point. Once around the turn buoys you can see the hot air balloons they put on the beach so head back towards them. You're actually swimming just to the right of the balloons to get the entrance to the canal but the balloons work very well.

Don't be alarmed when you first see how far into the lake the final turn buoy is, it just looks a long way. The water park is free to all Ironmen so you can have a swim before the day if you want. The course is marked out a long time before the event.

Race start

Picture 3 - Race Start

This is taken shortly after the race start. This year we start in the water so it's likely we'll be doing this before the cannon sounds. I'm guessing that the start line will be the end of the piers. But you can see the sighting hill in the distance very clearly and how you swim straight out towards it. Even if the swim is altered to a different heading I'm sure you can still use that hill to sight, ie - swim to the left of it.

The canal

Picture 4 - The Canal

After the open water of the lake you enter the canal section, approximately 800 metres long. The mouth of the canal is difficult to see from the lake so they put two big 'Eskimo' signs up either side of it for you to aim at. Eskimo is the Austria trade name for Walls (the ice cream people). Although the current is very slow up the canal (the same canal you run next to for the second loop of the run) you swim with the current so it feels quite quick swimming up this bit. It looks quite shallow along this bit and you can see fish on the bottom, something to look at!

Swim exit

Picture 5 - Swim Exit

This is the swim exit, the swimmers are swimming towards you so the exit is on your left hand side as you swim (just to your left in the photo), a little past the bridge over the canal. Just after these boats is a ramp where you can get out the water. There's a race time clock straight in front of you so you can have a quick look to see how you did.


Picture 6 - Entrance into T1

Once you get up the ramp from the canal you take a 90° left turn and run a short way along the canal path (that path is a part of the run course) then another 90° right turn and you'll be faced with the main part of transition you see in this picture. Your bike kit is in the bags on the square racking. You can just about see in the distance (fourth row along, behind the chap in the red top) the triangular racking that has your run kit. There are three rows and three columns of racking for each section so not difficult to get to your kit. Grab your kit bag and take it into the change tents in the back ground where helpers will help you get your wetsuit off and your bike kit on. Once changed leave your bag and kit where it is as the helper will re-rack it for you and hang it back up. You leave this part of transition at the far end, taking you to the view in picture 7.

After the bike leg you enter this section from the far end, grab your run bag from the triangular racking, into the change tent and leave transition from this near side, around a turn marker then along the other side of that blue fence you can see on the left hand side.

Bike area

Picture 7 - The run out from the Change Tent into the Bike Park

Once you've run out from the bag/change area (turning 90° to the left at the far end of the picture above) you see this view. This was taken in the evening before the race. They give everyone a bike cover so no one can see your steed and it's kept dryish overnight. There are two rows like this, this is the left one and the right one is on the other side of the trees/Hervis signs. Run up here, grab your bike and take it to the mount line which is at the very far corner on the other side of the trees. That is also the dismount line when you return. They take your bike from you and rack it so you don't have to worry about that, just let them take it and run to this near corner of transition, into the bag/change area and get your runners on.

The very start of the bike, to become the turn point later on

Picture 8 - Start of the bike

The bike start/turn point is about 1km up the road behind these cyclists. Things are pretty hectic at the start of the bike so no point going nuts on this section (unless every second counts), just settle into it and calm down. There is a zone at the turn point where they don't worry about drafting but this is outside that zone. But with that many people coming out they don't tend to worry until after the first several miles. The marshalls wear black/white striped jerseys and you'll see plenty of them during the day.

Off towards the Weidenhof

Picture 9 - More bike

There are some drafting rules that are specific to this race. They have a sin bin at the end of the lap. If a marshal catches you drafting he'll show you a red card. Once you've been show the card you have to stop in the sin bin for a 6 minute penalty. If you fail to stop you're DQ'd. If you then get spotted drafting again they'll DQ you from the race. So you have one strike then you're out.

Remember it's a 10 metre exclusion zone behind the bike in front in Ironman races so larger than Olympic and sprint races.

Roads hold a lot of standing water

Picture 10 - In the wet

This picture is just after the section above and taken from the Hotel Weidenhof. It's just after the special needs station and about 2km from the bike start.

It rained quite a lot when we were there, really heavy rain as well. Apparently that's just how it rains there, none of that drizzle rubbish we get. The roads didn't drain all that well so if it's a wet race you'll get splashed a lot. It could also be very hot, it's two weeks further into the summer this year so could well be in the mid-30's for the race. Make sure you use plenty of sun tan cream, the sun is pretty harsh.

About 10km into the bike route

Picture 11 - Lots more roads like this.

This is the road that takes you out of Klagenfurt on the first section of the bike course. It's about 15km long and slightly rises half way along it. But it's basically at water level so pretty flat. Lots of opportunity to settle into the ride and start your race plan running. Really try to ignore what's going on around you. People seem to go mad at the start of the bike section but stick to your plan. It's a beautiful place and the ride is anything but dull. There's plenty to look at with the lake on this side of the lap and snow capped mountains on the other.

I haven't got any photos of the run but it's up the side of the lake (the other side from the bike route) on the first loop and up the canal side for the second loop. The second loop takes you right up into Klagenfurt itself and you run through the main shopping section to the Lindwurm (do a search if your curious!). It's well supported and there's plenty of cold running water to keep yourself cool. There's a feed station about every 2km and as long as you take something from each one you'll be fine on the run.

Good luck with the race - ENJOY IT

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