*** many thanks to Maarten Geeraerts for this race report ***
Avid TriDubai race report readers have been treated to two superb accounts of the 2013 Wiesbaden Ironman 70.3 race in recent weeks.
Do we need another report about the same race you ask? Probably not. Will another report be as entertaining or enlightening as the previous ones? Most certainly not. But that is (probably) precisely the point.
In blatant breach of copy-right of previous race reports I have sprinkled Breadcrumbs for Happy Beginner Tri-athletes throughout this text for those of you obsessed with the story of Hansel & Gretel. Statistically amongst the 900 or so current members of TriDubai there is at least one.
Jasmijn Vaes (my wife) and I stumbled into triathlon a little over two years ago and joined TriDubai a little later than that [Crumb 1: join TriDubai sooner rather than later]. Whilst we had done a few Olympic distance races before it is fair to say that joining the TriDubai training sessions was an eye-opener. Who knew people trained that hard??
In the lead up to Wiesbaden we had the pleasure of meeting, training, and most importantly, having breakfast with some very good athletes, some absolutely great athletes and an unusually large selection of Super-Humans plucked straight out of an X-Men comic. For the sake of avoiding all unnecessary debate: the X-Men ranks contain some very impressive women, no discrimination intended.
It is a fact that Super-Humans exist amongst us and they have accomplished sporting feats which far exceed my imagination not to mention my physical limitations. Yes, I too have heard the horror stories about a Super-Human having underperformed on the swim, pushed too hard on the bike and hit the wall on the run resulting in lousy finishing times. The only problem is that in all those stories I had to multiply the lousy finishing times by a factor of 3 or more to arrive at my most optimistic PB. [Crumb 2: Super-Humans have different problems to the rest of us. Don’t worry about theirs.]
“Team Wiesbaden” was forged in the months and days preceding the race by 2 Kona finishers, a regular winner of Dubai’s local races, a Fish Called Wanda-Without-a-Kick and a guy who once co-starred in Full Metal Jacket (more about him later). I assumed that we were added to the mix for the sake of cosmic balance. [Crumb 3: register for a race, find others, and refer to yourselves as ‘Team XYZ’. Before you know it you will actually be one.]
To say that we were intimidated by all this talent was to not take into account the fact that this talent referred to the race which we chose as our very first 70.3 as “the toughest 70.3 course out there” and those registering for it as “idiots”. We didn’t stand a chance.
Choosing however to ignore the inevitable we joined the Hatta rides as often as possible (great waffles), waded into the sea on Tuesday mornings (great tri-berry smoothies! [Crumb 4: let the berry defrost before you eat it]), suffered gruelling swim-sets at the mercy of Crissy Harris and the Dubai Masters, tested our wetsuits in Hamdan and were tempted to keep them on for the Poloclub brunches afterwards [Crumb 5: Cheat a little; wetsuits make bad swimmers happy swimmers. Note: happy, not fast.]. We were dragged along Al Quadra’s asphalt by power-horses such as Stevie Morgan and Guy Coghlan. Salt & vinegar crisps as the ideal recovery snack; carbs & electrolytes in a handy package for only 7 dirhams! [Crumb 6: Buy a good light from your LBS and do an evening ride in the summer with a few mad people, it’s really worth it!]. Somewhere along the line we mostly forgot about the running [Crumb 7: Don’t do that. They always stick in a run at the end of a triathlon apparently.]
All of that hard work was quickly dismissed as completely unnecessary once we arrived in Wiesbaden: “What’s good for the soul is good for the body” [that’s Crumb 8] we were told by Wiesbaden’s fastest and most hospitable triathlete as she suggested a nice Riesling plucked almost straight off the vine. Who was I to argue with such pedigree? I gladly obliged and as a result had a solid few hours of untroubled sleep before the race! [Crumb 8: the best thing to do the night before an exam if you don’t know the material is to get a good night’s sleep. The same applies to triathlons.]
The race came and went. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it (and there were many minutes of it!). The precise statistics can be distilled from Vicky’s play-by-play Facebook commentary (Vicky, BBC Sports must have a slot for you somewhere!!). To list the times, inclines and blisters here would be to miss the point. The journey to Wiesbaden was awesome. We all know that journeys beat destinations every time. Thanks TriDubai for lighting up the path!
Ah yes, the guy who co-starred in Full Metal Jacket you ask? He trained hard to overcome illness and injury. He kicked ass in Wiesbaden. He kicked ass on the road to Wiesbaden. He’s a Super-Human. Thanks Guy.
P.S. For those of you expecting actually relevant info and tips and left hungry by my measly trail of crumbs I refer you to my significantly better half who is writing a separate race report as I type. She is the one that does all the really useful stuff in our household and keeps everything together so her report holds more promise on that front. [Last Crumb: kids, work and sanity allowing, involve your nearest & dearest in triathlon, it’s an individual race but a journey well worth sharing].