What is the easiest IronMan?

I want to do one and as cycling is my weakest discipline, I'm quite keen to find one with a relatively flat bike.  I can cope with a bit of uphill running, but I really don't like the tough climbs, and not overkeen on speedy descents either.

 I thought the climb at sherbourne was tough, what was Wales like in comparison?  How about European IM's, are any of them relatively flat?  Every one I read about talks about tough climbs, why don't they try to make more courses that are really flat?  Holland and Denmark could do really well in that respect, lots of people trying to get PBs.

 I think there are a lot of perverts out there who actually enjoy climbing.



  • there is no such thing as an easy IM.  Some courses are faster than others but not always easier!!  There are a few that are renowned as the hardest, Lanza, Nice, Wales(now) - most European Anustria, Germany, Switz are considered more beginner friendlly but none are flat!
  • They are supposed to be challenging ... thats the point
  • even a flat IM bike hurts as you are aero for so long - back, arms, shoulders, neck hurt more than the legs in many ways. having done IM Florida which is probably the flattest bike course out there believe me - it still hurts.

    Wales is probably the toughest of them all now
  • I don't expect an IM to be easy, just looking for the minimum amount of climbing.  Copenhagen don't look too bad.  I did the sherbourne bike a few years back and found it v.tough, so just out of interest could someone say, on a scale of 1 to 10 how that compares with most other Ironman bike courses - say 1 means Sherbourne is a v.easy course relatively (bad news for me), 10 means it is a v.hard course relatively (then I don't feel so bad about struggling round Sherbourne.

     If people tell me that Sherbourne is one of the easier ones then I might have to rethink matters - it's weird I don't mind biking for yonks on the flat(ish), and I don't mind running up and down hill, but I will do anything to avoid climbing then speeding down hill on a bike all day.

     Cheers in advance.

  • Blimey O'Reilly, I never said it was easy, or I wanted it to be easy.  I just want to know what has the flattest bike course, you lot it would appear, have done many thousands of IM's between you, I was hoping you could get your heads together and perhaps give me an indication of the flattest/flatter ones, particularly those closer to home (Brighton).

     Cheers again, thanks Budha.

  • Basher - do you mean Challenge Copenhagen's bike course?
  • OK - of the UK IM distance races, the flattest bike course will be Outlaw in Nottingham. it still has hills - you'd be hard pushed not to find any hills in the UK bar the Fens - but they aren't as tough as any of the others.

    if you want a flat 1/2 IM close by - Marshman near Dungeness qualifies as the flattest bar the one at Ely in the Fens.

  • M.ouse:  yes.  I should've been more clear - I want to do an IM distance event, not fussed if it is an official IM run event or not.

    Cheers again buddha, perhaps Nottingham's the one, unless people know of any european ones that are flatter than Nottingham (though the added expense will be a put off).  Lucky I started this thread, I was under the impression that Wales was not so bad - I'd already pencilled that date into my diary for 2012.

  • OK, now I've got people's attention may I ask a few more questions...

    1  Can you rent a quality bike for the day?  I've got a hybrid could I do lots of training on that and then borrow a fancy bike for the day (+ a couple of practice rides beforehand), have people done this before, is it recommended?  How much does it cost? 

    2 I live by the coast but have never done any sea swimming, is it dangerous to go out on your own?  I envisage practising in a pool over winter and then as spring comes perhaps start practising in the sea to get used to wet suit etc.

  • You may want to steer clear of IM Wales if you don't like the hills, I seem to remember the odd one there image
  • IMDE is pretty flat. And IMRE wasnt too bad at all.

    If you havent got a racing bike though - you do need one. You cant just hop on a hired bike and expect to ride that for 7 hours without your back locking up or something. So its very much not recommended to hire.
    You will need a half decent bike. £500 or so ?

    Not advisable to go sea swimming by yourself if you're a novice. Find a tri club or OW facilities near you.
  • Cheers cougie, I suspected you'd say that.  I really don't want to fork out fijve hundred notes or more on a bike, can you get decent second hand ones that'll do the job?
  • as cougs says, you're better off with your own bike so you get to know it by training on it...

    I live by the sea - a bit further along the coast from you in GWR - and it's not advisable to swim on your own as you could have problems if you get into difficulty. it's always best to buddy up so you can keep an eye on each other(s) OR have someone on shore watching you. you can get caught out in the sea by cold, currents, obstacles, craft, conditions etc so best be safe. sure, if you know the sea well through experience where you're swimming and conditions are fine you can get away with it on your own but it's still not recommended. alternatively swim in an area patrolled by lifeguards (summer months only) and tell them what you're doing as they can keep an eye on you.
  • What about Almere in Holland, that must be relatively flat?
  • I did IMDE last year and Copenhagen this year and Copenhagen is flatter on paper but my friend who also did both said he thought it was harder because it was more technical.  Copenhagen had a huge section straight into an unrelenting headwind too. 

    Also, if the course is flat it means no rest - hills have the advantage of descents which give you a bit of time to freewheel.

    If you are racing on a budget I would suggest Copenhagen isn't your best bet because it's very, very expensive there regardless of terrain of the course.

    Almere is flat, and also not very expensive to enter.

  • Roth bike course is similar to Outlaw in profile but with the added advantage of better road surfaces. 

    Yes, you can hire race bikes, but as cougue pointed out you wouldn't want to go from training on a hybrid to racing on a TT bike.  If you had a road bike then hiring a better one as an upgrade for a race could work as long as the fit was similar.  On similar lines Hed now have a rental service for their wheels which looks like a decent upgrade for a race.

  • Sorry, JP, cross post.
  • If you go second hand then I'd expect to pay £300 or so.

    And then theres the extra cycling kit and all the bits you need to train thru winter. It all adds up.

    IM entry is what £300 or so ? Outlaw is cheaper.
    Transport to the event.
    Staying over as you need to rack the day before and attend the race brief - so you'd not want less than 4 days really if its overseas.
    Wetsuit is £100+
    Swim sessions would add up, as would the energy food you'll consume along the way.

  • yep - Almere is flat - and always windy which adds to the experience!!

    there is reputedly a new IM in 2012/13 in Sweden at Kalmar if rumours are true - it's the home of a long standing IM distance race - that's reputed to be pretty flat

    also Challenge Barcelona is pretty flat I believe
  • Barcelona even flatter than Copenhagen according to another friend who has done both.  However, Barcelona also nowhere near Barcelona, it's in Calella.

  • Challenge Calella doesn't trip easily off the tongue though..... image

  • Calella is quite nice....I can imagine the bike ride along the coast.
  • image It is a very nice course image
  • Challenge Vichy was advertising itself as flat.

    Bike Course

  • The easiest IM is of course the one with the Pirate support    image
  • I get the feeling this guy is taking the pi$$ - someone emailed the organisor of the forestman asking if they hired bikes! I suggest he /she takes up knitting
  • Basher - in Brighton you are surrounded by hills!

    I'd recommend Challenge Henley for no other reason than I had a jolly good time and its localish to you.
  • Doozer. wrote (see)
    I get the feeling this guy is taking the pi$$ - someone emailed the organisor of the forestman asking if they hired bikes! I suggest he /she takes up knitting
    Ah but the forestman isnt a branded Ironman, surely everyone knows that its only Ironman races that provide chrome plated M.choppers in T1 for hire on race day!
  • why not look at the times for the pro's and do it that way...  I can only compare two courses, but I know that my preparation for each race was completely different and this would have had more effect on the times than the course.   I've heard Florida is flat, fast but windy.  And it's probably fair to say that we have the slowest road surface in the world here in UK. 

    Apropos road surface,  the tarmac in Copenhagen was to die for.......... but as Mouse said, there was a teasing headwind (nothing compared to Tenby clearly) and it was quite lumpy in parts, not to mention some cobbles at the end of each lap.

    M.eldy has a good point too.  Big support takes minutes off your time image 

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