Whilst half the Britcon RaceTeam were dotted around the countryside collecting silverware, Steve Clark and Steve Grocock chose to travel to Klagenfurt in Austria for one of the most talked about Ironman distance triathlon events on the circuit. The venue is breath taking. The turquoise lake to the alpine mountains are like photos straight from the Vontrapp’s ‘Sound of Music’ scrapbook. The smooth tarmac and fast descents attract the best talent on the planet to this full to capacity event. Joining the 3000 competitors is the world’s male Ironman record holder and former female world champion. Such is its popularity, next year’s event had sold out by the next day..
Due to the length of the disciplines 3.8K (2.4 mile) swim, 180Km (112 mile)bike, and 42k (26.2 mile)marathon run, the two Steve’s find training together helps pass the time on their century rides and river swims. So it was no coincidence that even in a field of 3000 athletes, both guys, after 58 mins of swimming in the beautiful turquoise lake were staring at each other in Transition 1 preparing for the 112 mile bike ride to come. Now what goes up must come down, so despite the speedy descents there are a number of notable climbs that must be conquered first. The Rupertiberg being the largest of these, twice, as it’s a two lap course. The 2.5 K meandering climb in your lowest gear makes for tough work especially on your Time Trial bike with disc wheel. Now the good bit, the descents. These are quick, you can hit speeds well in excess of 40 mph, more gears would be nice. Despite the 35 degree heat on the days leading up, actual race day had cooled off somewhat even treating us to a downpour. Unfortunately for the last 30 mile of mountain descents the second lap had to be taken rather gingerly not to bin it and ruin the shiny new Britcon tri-suits.
Again, and despite the 112 mile ride around the alpine mountains both local athletes found themselves back in T2 under the 5 hour benchmark and within less than 4 minutes of each other.. Steve Grocock had improved his position from 6th in his age group (45-49 yr) to now 4th place off the bike.
It’s normally at this point where the two guys say farewell. It’s wasn’t long before Clark pegged back the 4 minute deficit and with a few friendly words was on his way toward a 3 hr 18 minute marathon run. Grocock at this point not sharing his team mates enthusiasm and pace for the long run.
Ok, now both guys have had better and faster races but as Ironman regularly reminds us it’s a long day at the office and things can, and do go wrong. Considering this race was considered a ‘B’ race in preparation for Clark’s ‘Norseman’ in August and Grocock’s ‘Hawaii World Champs’ in October then both guys can take pride in their performances despite not appearing at the pointy end of the results.
Another sub 10 hr milestone for Grocock and a sub 9:30 for Clark was actually better form than the two athletes expected. Massive thanks to our sponsors Britcon, proud to wear the new tri-suits.