Race Report: Double Insanity Weekend (1)

Part 1: The Prep

What happens if the organizers of the Salzkammergut Trophy and the guys from Ironman Austria decide to put their races on the same weekend, but on different days?

At least one idiot will try to do them both.

I had signed up for Ironman Austria about a year ago, figuring it would be nice to do my tenth Ironman at the same place where it all started. I originally wanted to put in all my experience and really show a great effort, and maybe set a new personal best – but as so often life got in the way a bit, and I ended up training less than I should have to really make this happen. I could have still taken a stab at going sub-10, which should have been possible, but then another idea appeared on my radar.

Last year I had tried the 208km Salzkammergut Trophy MTB race together with Isa Höller, her first attempt. We got kicked out due to the time limit, so I still had some unfinished business with that course (I had done the 200km race before, but not since they changed it from two laps to one big loop). And when I realized that the Trophy would be on the same weekend as Ironman Austria (but on Saturday), an idea began to form…

At first everybody thought it was a joke, but I had figured out a way to do both races, with a little help from my friends. One of the biggest problems was registration (for both races) and the bike check-in for Ironman Austria, since that was on Saturday only and had to be done in person. Fortunately, the bikeboard is full of the most awesome people I know, and I consider many of them very good friends. A few of them would also be doing the Trophy, and the organizers were cool with people picking up the registration stuff for others. So Stefan registered for me on late Friday, and I’d pick up my stuff as soon as I’d get to Bad Goisern.

Meanwhile, I had driven to Klagenfurt and registered for Ironman Austria on Friday noon. Since somebody would have to register my bike and they’d probably check the athlete’s wristband, I confessed my plans to the volunteer and asked if she could maybe leave it loose enough that I could take it off. She found a solution, and I was good to go. Met a few friends and whiled the afternoon away before I handed over my bike and the wristband to Tom, who was also racing and had promised to find a way to check my bike for me. When they did go there on Saturday they encountered Werner, another fellow bikeboarder, who was working as a race marshal and graciously handled the bike check-in for us. So all of that came together really well.

On Friday afternoon I had an appointment with Günther and Alexandra, who had booked me to photograph their wedding in August, and we talked a bit and walked around town looked at good places for staging the usual wedding photographs. I had a great time, but it also went very quickly and I ended up driving to Bad Goisern much later than I had originally anticipated.

I arrived around midnight, and after a little hunting (my navigation system didn’t even know that road!) and phone calls found the place where Stefan had deposited my registration stuff for the Trophy. The 200km race started very early and Bad Goisern was booked full, so I hadn’t bothered to even start looking for a room. Found a quiet parking spot and made myself comfortable in the car for a few hours of sleep.

At 4am my cell phone reminded me of the long day ahead, and I got up, set up my bike and went over the course profile to remind me of what was ahead of me. Very nearly forgot to put the mini pump in my back pocket, debated long armed jersey, vest or arm warmers (and settled on short sleeves and a vest), and cursed myself for not bringing enough water. I rolled to the starting line, lining up way in the back to avoid the stress of the first few kilometers and just have a great day out.

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