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IM 70.3 Zell am See “race report” by Shaun Dowling August 2018

IM 70.3 Zell am See “race report” – written in advance for 3 reasons:

1. The weather is due to be horrendous on Sunday & I don’t want my report influenced by being written by a miserable, shivering, soaking wreck-of-a-bloke;

2. Writing it in advance means it can be more about the event than my own performance (having recce’d a lot of the route); and

3. If you like what you read, registrations open for 2019 shortly after this one finishes, and as I have promised a week off all triathlon-related activities this report wouldn’t get written until perhaps it was too late for anyone wishing to sign up…and you really should consider it!

Why? 

a) the setting is incredible. Beautiful lake, currently 23 degrees and “almost drinkable” clear water. Even I enjoyed swimming in it!

b) I recce’d the bike route out to the 13km climb and a couple of km up it. So the rest of the climb, including the steepest bit, long descent and fast, rolling 40-odd km to the finish are omitted from this report. But the 20km just to get to it were along the valley with snow-capped glaciers on one side and tree-lined mountains on the other – oh, and the river alongside for company. Simply stunning, even on an overcast day and with traffic to contend with. Can’t wait for the closed roads on Sunday, even if the descent from the mountain is going to be a tad hairy. They have had 6 years of gorgeous weather apparently for this race – it is currently lashing down and is due to co to us to do so until Monday. I’ve cursed it! 

c) the run route is flat-ish and takes in both lakeside paths/trails and the town centre in a two-loop course. It might be classified as “fast” on a dry day! 

d) this is my first official IM event and thus far the organisation has been exemplary. James at Triit kindly packed my bike into a box and there’s a team of mechanics here to re-build it and check it works…word of my ineptitude has clearly spread! For stash-lovers, it would be easy to spend a small fortune in the expo’…far too easy as it turns out! But after IM (allegedly) rather cocked-up the Leeds Triathlon a couple of years ago, my nervousness about their organisation has been replaced with admiration. Clearly they are putting out thousands of people out by closing the main valley road and hundreds of other ones for the best part of a day, but to make up in part for it they are putting on lots of free events in the town. 

e) if you want to combine a race with a holiday, whether that be hiking, mountain biking, rafting, or just going up the gondolas and taking in the scenery (& strudels!), Zell am See is a cracking spot. Lots of hotels and campsites and plenty to do.

So, whilst I remain in a positive frame of mind ahead of Sunday, if any of this helps with your decision-making for next season, give this race due consideration…& hopefully you will get the weather to match this fantastic venue.

(Not sponsored in any way by the local tourist board, IM, or Strudles R Us).

Enjoy your weekend training and racing.

Shaun