I have not been a big fan of hilly courses, although the former-Ironman Malaysia was a varied one with nice hills thrown in like the idiomatic ‘spanner’.
I have been studying the profile on the ride course of Ironman Switzerland. Three names come to mind, and finishers of the Ironman course in Zurich have uttered their names with respect. They are: Egg, Heartbreak Hill, and The Beast. As poignantly as these sections of the course are christened, those who survived have told the traditional tale of pain and heartbreak.
Having done what was considered one of the more challenging Ironman bike courses in Europe – Ironman Spain a.k.a. Ironman Lanzarote (Canary Islands) – twice, I have grown to respect foreign soil and my own fear. When confronting hills and harsh climbs, it is akin to facing your fears. Interestingly, our fears may reveal little more than anxiety, natural nerves, and an apparent lack of practice and training. In hill-scarce, Singapore sans mountains we can only ride on heavy-gears, up a relatively, pancake-flat island. Our only choices are to take a getaway trip to Desaru or Phuket or Bintan Island, to experience the frustrations and physical challenges of hilly terrain. Until you bravely train on rolling terrain and climb steep hills, then your riding skills and strength is limited only to superbly speedy (and often-times, stupidly fast) time-trials on flat roads. Or else, you can afford time on a Compu-Trainer, or crank it out on a turbo-trainer, indoors on high-gears, at specific heart-rates.
I haven’t done enough time on the hilly terrain of Malaysia or Indonesia, so can only courageously meet with my fate on Sunday with a sane (?) mind and my sound body. I have 16 hours to complete the task, and I await with bated breath my rundown into the finishers' chute.