Sunday, May 22, 2011

Congrats to 20th Ironman Lanzarote

Congratulations to Ironman Lanzarote, which is certainly the toughest triathlon I've done. This 2011 edition was already the 20th challenge where 'Normal limits do not apply'. I did the very first one, but I still remember it like yesterday.

The waves may not be that bad on the swim, but it will almost always get very windy on Lanzarote when the sun gets up. The mountains on the bike course can be devastating and some of the descents like the one from Mirador del Rio are possibly dangerous. Finally the heat during the marathon run will really test you beyond your limits.

If you decide to go for it, consider travelling there a month before the race to get used to the conditions on the island. There are plenty of tourist hotels available, but  if you are serious about training then Club La Santa (the race HQ) on the north side is the place to stay.

You can take part in the Volcano Triathlon there, which is an Olympic distance event three weeks before the Ironman. Nowadays they also provide an official Ironman Lanzarote Pre-Training Camp. The start/finish area is on the south side, and they will provide you with free transportation there and back on race day.

20 years ago I remember helping RD Kenneth Gasque to put together the first race. I was cycling around the bike course with some fellow Finnish competitors equipped with paint cans. We were marking the course so no one would get lost on race day.

On race day the local dude who was in charge of turning on the showers after the swim slept in, and everybody had to start cycling with a salty skin - ouch! It wasn't always perfect then, but it was lots of fun and I'm sure the race organisation works like a charm these days with all the experience it has gathered over two decades.

Congrats also to Timo Bracht, who won his 6th Ironman title on Saturday with 8:30:34 and smashed Thomas Hellriegel's 16 year old course record by over five minutes!  

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