Race Report Ironman Frankfurt European Championship 8 Juli 2012

Derek Webster 12:34:27
Place 329 in age group M35-39
(1:15:44 Swim, 6:20:58 bike, 4:38:16 run, 0:19:28 transition)

Saturday 7th Juli

Pickup the race Bag at the race office in Frankfurt Roemberg Area, pack the transition bags and then head down to the Langener Waldsee to check in the bike. Luckily the temperature at the lake was 22c so wetsuits were allowed even though it had been hot all week. Checking the bike in was relatively straight forward as every one of the 3000 athletes is assigned a “helper” who takes you down to your allocated slot, checks the transition bags and covers the bike in a plastic bag. A photo is also taken with you and your bike for security purposes.

Then back to Frankfurt for the expo and some dinner in the Hotel.

Sunday 8th Juli

Wake up early, head down to breakfast and then catch the 5:30 bus to the Langener Waldsee. I soon realize how windy it is, but it hadn’t started raining yet ! I watched the “Pro’s” start at 6:45 am and then jumped in the water for a quick warm up.

7:00 am is the main start, as you can imagine its a “washing machine” with almost 3000 athletes heading for the same turning buoy. Round the 1st buoy and everyone starts to settle down. I’m able to find some space and settle into a nice rhythm. I then climb out onto the beach for a short sprint before jumping back in for the 2nd longer loop. More space this time, but you can’t really tell where you’re going since somebody parked a sailing boat in the way !! (probably should have gone to the pre-race briefing on Friday for more details, but I had to work). Reach the turning buoy and then head straight back to the beach for the transition area.

As soon as I get out of the water, the heavens open and it starts raining heavily - unglaublich! Transition wasn’t the fastest since I spent quite a while cleaning the sand off my feet before jumping into the bike shoes.

Onto the bike and the first 20k head back into Frankfurt. Within minutes my shoes fill up with water from the rain – something which I have never trained for, but at least it’s not too cold. As I head out of Frankfurt for the first loop into the countryside, I become more exposed to the weather and can really feel the strength of the wind. I return into Frankfurt for the start of the second loop and eventually it stops raining. It’s still windy on the 2nd loop, but at least more spectators are out providing more encouragement.

Head back into Frankfurt for the run transition, my back and neck are beginning to ache by now. I was hoping for a nice cool run, but as soon as I exit the transition tent, the sun comes out and the temperature rockets into the 30s – but at least the back ache has gone.

The run is basically 4 x 10k laps along the Main. Luckily, there is an aid station every few kilometers where you can drink lots of water and throw ice under your cap. The first 2 laps are without incident, but on the 3rd I started to become tired. After fuelling up on all sorts of energy drinks I manage to get round the 4th lap (with about 5mins of walking) before sprinting into the “Rockstar” finish!! I pose for a quick photograph under the clock and then get my medal. Another “helper” escorts you to the athletes garden for food, shower, finisher t-shirt etc and then I go and pickup my bike. Back to the hotel, order a huge burger from room service and then sleep!

The following morning I’m on a flight to Chicago with some work colleagues. They tell me I look like sh*t, I just grin and reply “yeah, but at least I’m an IRON MAN!”

Derek Webster