Saturday, July 21, 2012

What You Need To Know About Ironman Switzerland 2012

Should you consider signing up for Ironman Switzerland 2013, also known as Ironman Zurich in 2013 here are some salient points:
1) The race fees are in Swiss Francs (CHF), and is one of the more expensive ones. Cancellation fees are high and cancellation claims are meagre.
2) Your day racing licence is 30CHF. You can probably escape this if you are a member of your national triathlon association (TAS, or Triathlon Association of Singapore in my case). You MUST show this as proof of membership of the current year.
3) This is a no-frills long-distance triathlon, meaning that you race like an Olympic Distance race. No wetsuit strippers, no bike valet upon your return to T2, and all your transition needs in your own bag, parked at your bike-rack/stand. You will get a large bike-cover for your bike.  All participants will be photographed with their numbered bikes and helmet upon checking in your bike. This is your visual evidence and security for your bike and transition bags.
4) You can receive special needs from outsiders at specific locations (Heartbreak Hill) only.
5) There are three surmountable hills to complete on each loop: Egg, The Beast, and Heartbreak Hill.
6) Heartbreak Hill is the shortest and you have to complete it before the end of the first 60K loop. The Beast is a series of short climbs and where you either get very religious or vile about it, or both. Egg is a long stretch of rolling terrain that prepares you for The Beast.
7) You may not hear the words 'You're an Ironman!' as you traverse the finisher-chute, even though there may be a few hundred Ironman 'virgins'.
8) There is an elaborate Ironman race fair/exposition with the latest nutrition or equipment. There are refreshment points for you to purchase F&B for your family.
9) It has become almost the 'standard' for the European Ironman races, and you should receive an official IM Zurich/M-Dot back-pack as pre-race memorabilia. You will collect your finisher polo-tee (after handing in your Champion Chip) at the Athlete's Tent upon crossing the end-point. Be alert to collecting your race-medal, lest the volunteers forget.
10) Prepare for inclement weather. This year we experienced intermittent rain, sunshine and hailstones! It was mostly windy and cold when it rained.
11) There is no T1 and T2 bags; only a bag for your pre-swim casual clothes. Lay out your stuff, and plastic rack(or a used cardboard box from the supermarket) is useful.
12) Road-bikes will suffice, although tri-bikes can be useful on the flats. Keep to the right-most lane at all times. You WILL be given a yellow card if you 'block' a participant or official (in my case) during the ride leg. You will serve your time at the penalty-box after two yellow cards.

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