Germany 70.3 2008

A wee race report/review of Germany 70.3, which I did this last weekend, there doesn’t seem to have been much love for this event amongst forumites this year, the 2nd year the race has been run. So here’s my race report and a review of the event if you fancy it for 2009: My build up to the race hadn’t been perfect, going on holiday a month before, getting flu, then aggravating a recurring calf injury. I’d been aiming for sub 6 hour in this, my first half ironman distance race, but come race day, with no running for 4 weeks, I’d have been happy to finish. My race: The swim is in a marina, off the main flow of the river. So the water is dead calm and spectators are on their boats cheering you on as you go along the out & back course. Being as buoyant as a brick, I kept well out of the biff and just kept plodding along. I’d previously only raced Oly distance but had done plenty of OW practice in a local loch, so was confident that I could do the 1.9km if I kept to my slow but steady front crawl. There were helpers to drag you out at the end, up an almost vertical exit ramp and into T1. Out onto the bike course, a single loop of 90km on  closed roads that went from undulating, to hilly, to 10% and challenging. The bike course is pretty tough, goto the race website to check out the elevation profile. The only good thing is that after each long climb there’d be a long, fast descent down some very twisty roads usually leading into a small village. Now I’m not the best climber, carrying maybe too many excess lager pounds compared to some of the whippets that were flying past me up the hills, But for some reason, a lot of the good climbers were complete girls’ blouses on the descents and I was able to get back in front, overtaking on the downhills & corners. The bike route goes through a lot of small towns & villages, giving plenty of ‘street racing’ opportunities. The locals were out in force, picnics and beer tents , Mexican waves – the Germans like their triathlons. Huge support on the climbs – on the final one ,”The Hammer”, it was a TdF fantasy with people either side, all the way cheering the riders on , a huge boost as I was in a fair amount of discomfort towards the end of that climb.


  • part 2:

     The psychological boost that kept me going was knowing the last 8-10km was going to be downhill. And not downhill in a gentle coast to T2 way, but as in 70kph down a 10% hill and flying through the streets of Wiesbaden sort of way. I’d have hoped for a sub 3hr bike, but the hilly nature of the course made it 3:29 . Although I was disappointed with the time, the bike course really good fun, much better than a faster, flatter course. I hit the city centre & before I knew it, one of hundreds of helpers at the dismount line was pulling my bike from me  and pointing me towards the racks of run bags. The run is 3 x7km loops, going through a large park with a couple of bits on the streets. Again, the support from the locals was fantastic, with your name on your number belt, the Germans aren’t shy about giving you some advice, at least I think that’s what they were saying. I felt good as I started the run, but 2km in at 5 min/km, I felt the old calf injury begin to make its intentions known. Some fast mental arithmetic told me that 6hrs wasn’t going to be possible no matter how fast I ran, so I chose the ‘definite finish without making the injury worse option’ and kept to a strict 1 min walk/4 min run plan for the rest of the race. For the most part this meant I ran faster than a 100% run strategy and caught up the slower runners who’d overtaken me when I walked. At least the calf injury didn’t get worse and I was able to finish the race with a good strong run over the last 2km, to finish in 6:34:54. Not 6hrs, but WTF, it’s a PB and I can do better next time. I won’t lose sleep over the fact that Faris beat me by over 2hrs…. 
  • Part 3:

     So what about the race & organisation ?The race is held in Wiesbaden, about 2hrs south of Dusseldorf and pretty close to Frankfurt. For me coming from Aberdeen it was easier to get to than IMUK 70.3, which is one reason I entered it. Plus the fact that the Germans are SO organised.....The swim is held about 6km from T2 & the finish line. All the bikes & T1 are checked in on the Saturday and the army of helpers make sure you go in the right place and take your T1/T2 bags from you. There was a shuttle bus to take you & your bike to T1, but these were so slow that convoys of racers were choosing to cycle from the race office with their T-bags down to T1. That was probably the only poorly organised part, but riding through the Saturday traffic in a large posse was great fun, so I’ll let it slide. The swim & T1 were great, the bike ride was an absolute hoot, despite really hurting on some of the climbs. Closed roads and fast downhill sections more than made up for it. The support through the villages was just brilliant and the 3 aid stations were faultless. The run course I found a bit boring at times in the park, but once you got to the street sections and the hundreds of spectators, it was excellent – pretty flat and fast.. 3 well stocked aid stations every loop meant only 2km between life saving pepsi or whatever you wanted to refuel with. The finish line is in the town centre in front of some very impressive buildings, giving a great setting and having an excellent atmosphere. Plenty of food  at the finish line, although a few more showers would’ve been good. Personally I thought the whole organisation of the race was brilliant, moving so many people & their 3 race bags around, looking after their bikes,etc. etc. all done with clinical german efficiency. I was therefore amazed to get an e mail from the organisers today to say that 8 bikes had been stolen from T2, by people cutting a hole in the fence  and bypassing the otherwise pretty tight security. They’re offering a 25,000 euro reward, to help relieve their embarrassment.  To sum up: challenging course, great support & atmosphere, very nice setting for a well organised race. I’d recommend it for anyone looking for an overseas 70,3 next year. The beer’s nice too!
  • Well done Mudman, sounds like fun despite the hills.

  • good stuff Mudman - well done
  • sounds great..  well done!

  • Well done Mudman, sounds like a great race.....and an impressive time given your unideal build up !

    Nice one.

  • Great work Mudman, and good organising by the germans again. Gutted about the bikes getting nicked, but guess there are lowlifes everywhere. Hell of a reward tho isnt it ?
  • Well done Mudman. Great report and great time really despite the hills and calf injury. image
  • good race mudman, well done. I live about 50 miles south of Wiesbaden so know the area quite well, a lot of the countryside around here has pretty fierce hills. As you noted, the Germans love their sports and practically any triathlon has good support. Now you've done the 70.3, time to think about crossing over to Frankfurt for the full IM, it's only about 20 miles from Wiesbaden!
  • Nice Review Mudman, a very enjoyable read for somebody who has just put their name down for the same event next year.

     Although.... I am not sure if I am ready for a 70.3 at all!!!

     I am quite confident at running and in the past few years have ran several half marathons as well as 2 FLMs, although never at good pace (1:35pb for half, 3:40pd for full) but have just signed up for this which will be my first ever triathlon. I am not scared of the run.... but, I have not swim since I was made to do lengths in school about 5 years ago, AND, I have never even been on a road bike, only mountain bikes, but again not for a few years now!!

     I am scared that I have made a poor decision trying an IM as my first triathlon. I realise that I need to start swimming as soon as possible, from what I can remember I was fairly competent but tired quite easily and certainly could not swim fast. I am hoping that my cardio fitness I already have will give me a good base for when I purchase a new bike in January to start training on, but we will see.

     I have actually just moved to Wiesbaden a few months ago, and am only here for 13 months, so I thought it would be a good opportunity this year to build up the fitness to be able to compete.

     Is it possible do you think? Will you be competing in it again this year?


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