Hamburg IM, June 5th, 2022 (XL)
Race Reporter: Romain
I signed up for Hamburg IM as a trial on that distance for several reasons. First, the course which is pretty flat and probably much easier than an hilly one such as Aix en Provence or Nice. Second, the weather as I knew it would not be so hot and lastly, the friend who brought me to triathlon 6 years ago could join me on that day. The good surprise was to also get to meet with Alain, a member of the club who was also participating to his first IM.
My main goal was to complete it. I was properly trained but actually, I think you never really dare to claim “ I am ready”.
The swim was very nice in a kind of very large lake with a couple of tunnels to cross (were the density of people was higher so I could see a few swimmers struggling a bit on that section). It was a long and large loop, so not boring at all. The lack of visibility in the water seemed originally a bit scary but the rolling start (4 by 4) and the sight of the arrival on the way back made this first leg of the race pretty pleasant.
You have to know that the transition area is pretty long although well organized (1 km at least so don’t expect to break your T1 and T2 record..)
The bike consisted of two loops pretty flat. The downside of it is the fact that you can’t really stop pedaling to “relax” your muscles. The road condition was overall satisfactory except during 3/4km towards the end with some little bumps where you need to pay more attention (my Cervelo P3 is pretty stiff). We could enjoy aid stations every 20km so a pretty decent pace to reload the bottles or/and rinse your tri-suit in case you don’t want to get down of your bike for your basic needs. The last 10-15km segment of the loop was downhill so we could really enjoy the end of the ride.
I was personally amazed by the general level of the participants as the bike area was already full when I dropped mine, while I had completed a good 28km/h average speed with just a 3 min break at a station to stretch my back and cover natural needs.
The run was consisting of 4 loops of ~10.5km with aid station every 2km more or less. I was aiming at only walking at the aid station to hydrate myself and eat properly to avoid cramps and it worked out pretty well (you have to know that stomach hake and muscle pain are unavoidable on such long distance). The surrounding was nice, along the lake with a big crowd cheering, some music and excitement next to the finish line you would see each time you complete a loop….
The worst part was by far the 3rd lap as mentally you are still far to be done and your body just want to stop.
Thanks to the encouragement of my friend who was 1 lap ahead, I did not stop running while 90% of the runners were walking (as most “ superstars” had already completed their Ironman) so I completed the marathon in 4h20 which was in line with my expectation. Overall, I was proud to complete this first Ironman in 12h36. The food offering post race was very poor for an Ironman and the entry fee you pay but the massage and shower were great options. Overall the organization was sub-standard for an Ironman race (you may check the interview of Laura Philipp who won this European Championship :: she was pretty vocal about it despite her astonishing time)
One week passed already and I confess I may sign up again for a new one!
Special thanks to the swimming classes from the club which helped a lot to gain a strong confidence in the water!