Zell am See 70.3 – Part II

Julia’s Ironman 70.3 Austrian adventure continues! Here’s Part I if you missed it.

On race day morning I peeked out the window and saw grey skies and rain. Buckets of rain.

We went downstairs for breakfast with the other triathletes staying in the hotel. We drank our coffee and talked about what to wear on the bike. Most were going towards bundling up but I wasn’t sure.

Lucia and I walked to the start under a huge umbrella. The movement and chatter helped settle my nerves.

The start was 10AM for the Pros and my wave would be the last at 10.25, so I had plenty of time to do everything. First I placed my eyeglasses in my run bag. I can bike without them but not run. I went to my bike, removed the tarp then deflated the tires just a little so they’d have more grip on the wet roads. Then I went and waited around in the mayhem…

Me thinks we need more space...
Me thinks we need more space…

While we were waiting the rain stopped for awhile and it actually felt warm. I wasn’t cold and I was in my bare feet with no problem. I thought out loud to Lucia about the bike apparel dilemma and decided to go with a light shirt, light rain jacket, gloves, and a headband for cold ears.

We had to leave the start area to watch the Pros take off since there were so many spectators. Then it was time for me to get in line.

Rockin' the Sara Lando pose
Rockin’ the Sara Lando pose

I had a gel and smiled for Lucia’s camera. I felt nervous and calm at the same time. It began to rain again as we walked to the waterfront.

Pink swim caps!
Pink swim caps!

It was an “in water” start which I liked better than everybody racing crazily into the water at the sound of the gun. The water was a cold, but for me it felt fine.

The course was a triangle and as per my usual I started out at the back. I like to have room and not get knocked around. The first tract was 800 metres straight out so I tried to stay relaxed and swim straight. As I was getting to the first buoy I came upon a guy in a yellow cap from the wave that started five minutes in front of us. I stopped and asked if he was okay; he nodded yes and continued on. Then I came upon another, and another… and at that point thought that maybe I was actually doing quite well.

I went off course at the turnaround but corrected myself after about thirty seconds and then kept trying to spot the last buoy. I drafted off a few women but they weren’t swimming straight so I sort of gave up after awhile.

When I finally got out of the water after 40 minutes I heard the speaker call my name and said I’d come out of the water 2nd in my age group – wahoo!

Swim time – 00.40.29

I ran through T1 and found my bike bag right away but as I went toward the tent I realised that not only was there not any room in there for me to change, I’d probably waste too much time searching for an empty space. So I did what a hundred others were doing on the grass: change in the rain.

It was miserable trying to put wet socks on wet feet. That alone probably took me two minutes. I put on my helmet and then realized that the shirt wouldn’t go over the helmet and didn’t want to waste any more time so decided to just put on the jacket. So, headband, light jacket, arm gloves, hand gloves so I’d have grip on the handlebars and my brand new amber coloured glasses.

All alone on the bike

I found my bike and ran in the mud for about 500 metres and then hopped on my bike. It was pouring rain and I tried to just get onto the main road without sliding or falling as I’d already seen two guys do.

The bike course was twice around the lake with a longer loop on the south. It rained ridiculously hard at times and actually stopped for about five minutes… but then started again. I could feel little lakes in my shoes with my feet sloshing around.

I wasn’t ever cold, just worried about going down on the curves or having trouble steering through rivers of water. But I didn’t. I was fine. I ate regularly and after one loop saw that I was doing good time and tried to just keep it up. I got passed and passed others so never really understood where I was. Then I got a super boost when I saw that I was finishing in record time. I think this is about the time I started smiling like a loon and didn’t stop until the finish line.

I got to T2, racked my bike, found my bag and headed to the tent where I found plenty of room this time. One of the volunteers helped me change my shoes and asked me what I needed from my bag. I told her how much it had rained. “It rained last year too, and it’ll rain again next year if you come back…” Ah, good to know!

Always happy to start the run
Always happy to start the run

Bike time – 03:24:01

  1. frances
    I get chills just reading this . . . can't wait for next installment!
  2. MarciG
    The Terminator isn't supposed to look that happy. You are freaking me out. :)
  3. Pingback: Zell am See 70.3 – Part III | Up & Running