6/23/16

IM Austria bike preview (in pics)



It's hard to describe this course in words so I thought I'd use pictures to show you what you get to see in 112 miles on the Ironman Austria bike course.

When leaving Klagenfurt, there is a quick out and back section when leaving the transition area and then we head to Maria Worth, which is in route to Velden.
As you can see in the bike course map picture, the first part of the course is filled with water views. And not just any water views - the fresh and clean, aqua blue waters of Lake W├Ârthersee (also our swim course). 
There are a few rolling sections but the course starts out fast. There is also a nice view of the Pyramidenkogel (highly recommend to visit if you are in the area) which is on a 2,703 foot high foot mountain in Carinthia, Austria. 









After passing through Velden, we approach a round about and then head straight for several miles, with longer rollers (climbs and descends) and our first real views of the alps.
The course remains fast until we approach our first climb near Faaker See, just after 30K in the bike course. 


















It's really neat to pass through so many small towns, which will be filled with fans on race day. 



There are two climbs in our first loop with the first climb is not so significant and the next climb is steady, and the first time where your overall pace really slows down. But, this course is filled with long descends so if you can pace the climbs (3 major climbs) appropriately, you can gain a lot on the downhills. 







Although the next 15K can be a little frustrating as the wind can be at your face as you ride on a wide open road with the alps on your right, followed by a section on a small road packed between houses and farms (hello cows!), the views are breathtaking. This is actually one of my favorite parts of the course.
Overall, the road conditions are great with just a few sections of bumpy roads (mostly patched).












Around 50K into the bike, we finish our loop section and then head back to Rosegg to make a right at the round about, up a short steep hill and then to start our next big loop, before repeating the course one more time.
I just love all the bike and walking paths along the course and I can't wait until race day as the course will be filled with fans, especially on the big climbs. Not every IM race course has a DJ on the course (Riebnig climb). 




While there are few technical sections in terms of descending (they are mostly long descends where you wind gradually either right or left and do not have to break), it's the passing through the towns which is fun but you also have to be alert as the roads are tight. 







The course is just beautiful (did I say that already?) and I love how the alps are always in sight. 





Above is a picture of the big climb nearing 70K which is long. Of course, on race day there will be a DJ and about 4-5 deep of fans so it will be a lot of fun. Plus, guess who loves climbing - ME!



This is one of those climbs where you can't see the top and it keeps on going. There is a false flat section in the middle and then it keeps going up. But what goes up, must come down...and boy, is it a fun downhill! There is one left hand turn on the bottom of a descend but other than that, the next 10K is fun. 








Karel and I had no trouble staying on course (minus one turn that is not marked) as the course is permanently marked with Ironman M-dots and signs.  







The last section is fast - although there is one technical area through a town but for a good 10K, you are gradually going back down into town. You can either gain time (free speed) or lose time depending on bike handling skills so I hope mine have improved enough for me to ride confidently on the back half of each loop.
Before the descend, there are a few areas that are filled with tall trees, almost like a Lake Placid type feel. This course has a little of everything for the nature lovers.

In total, we have about 5500 feet of climbing but IM Austria still remains one of the fastest IM bike courses.

Well, there you have it - the IM Austria bike course in pictures. 
Here are some of the pictures that Karel took of me as he patiently waited for me as we were previewing 1-loop of the bike course yesterday morning.