Ironman Melbourne (3.8Km swim, 180Km bike, 42.2Km run)
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Who Are you?
I’m a mid to back of the pack triathlete who’s finished six Ironman races and a host of other shorter distance races. Not looking to win age group awards or qualify for Kona, just out there to do the best I can while having fun
Why did I do this race?
After a year off long distance racing, Ironman Melbourne looked like the perfect race to make a comeback. The timing of the race was right and the course looked interesting.
The swim was held on a single-loop course in Port Phillip Bay. It was a saltwater swim and water temp was about 18 degrees. It was on a rectangular counterclockwise course marked by yellow buoys at the turns.
The bike was a two-lap affair up and down the Eastlink Tollway. It’s on an out and back course with an elevation gain on the out. We go through a tunnel just before the far end turnaround with a steep descent in and a steep climb out. There were four aid stations: 1 at each turnaround and two more along the way. Draft zone was 12meters.
Run was a point-to-point starting from Frankston and ending at St Kilda. Part of the run course was on the road while the rest was on a concrete bike path. There were some stretches that took us off-road too. Aid stations were every 2km and there were live sites with entertainment every 10km. Spectators were everywhere.
Transitions were generally quite well organized. The change tent was less than 100 meters from the swim exit. Plenty of volunteers helping you take off your wetsuit but you still had to pack your bags by yourself.
Race organization was superb. Being a point-to-point race would have been a logistical nightmare but the organizers handled it well. All our bikes and bags were transported from transition in Frankston to the finish at St Kilda in a timely order. Briefing was done via video at the expo so that helped save everyone’s time. The atmosphere was excellent, being an early season race and having world champs in attendance, everyone was excited.
Dress warm and prepare for any eventuality with the weather. Melbourne weather has been known to be fickle so a windbreaker in your transition bags would be a good idea.
Have a proper nutrition and hydration strategy. The cold, dry climate makes it easy to forget that you’re sweating and therefore you may be dehydrating without even knowing it.
Have fun. It’s a great course, especially the run, with lots of volunteers and spectators cheering you on. It’s going to be a long day and the only way to get through it is if you have fun and soak in the atmosphere.
How did you do?
I did great! Not too pleased about the swim and bike but totally nailed the run for a personal best. Swim course was poorly marked which meant I, in all likelihood, swam more than I should have. I struggled on the second lap of the bike, just couldn’t put the power down. Looking at the athlete tracker after, almost everyone was slower on the second loop, so the wind must have picked up or something then. The run was where I got my PB, managing, for the first time in any of my IM races, to run the entire way. So pretty happy with that.
Overall definitely a great race and I would definitely want to do it again. A little costly but worth it. The course, the atmosphere the pre-race and post-race dinners and show made this race the best I’ve ever been too. There were a few things that could be improved though: The swim course needs to be better marked. It was hard to see where the turn buoys were and there were no buoys in between, so the buoys were at least 1km apart, making sighting difficult. Also the finisher’s area could be better organized, I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to go, where to get a drink, where to get my stuff, where to get the finisher t-shirt, etc. It doesn’t help that most finishers are in a daze after the race, so better directions would be good.
You can read Arif’s triathlon blog at http://tryathlete1403.
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- Race Report: Alexander And Steffen Take Ironman Melbourne (triathlete-europe.competitor.com)