We’re in beautiful Austria this weekend with athletes from 15 countries for IM 70.3 St. Pölten!
It’s a blustery day here, with rain expected tomorrow for at least the first half of the day, followed by winds. Should be an epic day.
The high winds last night caused some damage at the starting area, so the Ironman crew was busy cleaning up. Storms are expected tonight, so in a departure from typical protocol, the officials asked that we only check-in our bikes, and bring our gear bags tomorrow for check-in. They are opening check-in early for this purpose. Ironman is definitely a well-oiled machine.
The transition area is different this year, having moved from the field behind the NV arena to the inside of the arena itself. Besides being a cool addition, hopefully it helps protect our gear from the storms expected tonight.
Other than that, checkin was typical for Ironman. This event has a single transition, as opposed to split transition which seems to be common in IM EU events (at least moreso than in the US). One very nice addition to the race packet is this handy elevation chart (see below) which tells you where to expect the aid stations and all the notable climbs and descents on the course – I may do these in the future for my own races!
We will have a special edition of The Race Briefing podcast for St. Pölten in the coming weeks, where we talk through pre-race planning with Coach Bill Wilson of Camelback Coaching, then check in after to see how we did 🙂
That day starts with a unique feature among Ironman, and indeed probably any, half-iron distance events: we swim in two lakes! I guess one just isn’t enough 🙂
We start in one lake and swim a broad clock-wise circle around the lake. Sighting is not too bad – you keep buoy’s on your right, the shore to your left. You can just see the buoys on the far side of the panoramic below.
Then you hop out, run up this ramp (below, left), across the covered bridge on the right, and up the road for about 200 meters where you jump in the SECOND lake and take a lap!
Lake number two- swim out to the far buoys, then back.
Back at the festival area, it’s still coming together after the storm, but busier with people now. The technical briefing was informative as usually, and even more important today to catch up on the latest with the impacts of the weather tomorrow, and on the course – there are a couple really tricky spots on the first descent. The officials said that last year there were a couple wrecks and, indeed, when I did this event back in 2015, I saw EMS on that very spot with two poor guys who were missing the left side of their tri-suits and some meat. Everyone be super careful in tomorrow’s soggy and windy conditions!!