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Inferno Mountain Triathlon, Switzerland 18th Aug 2012

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Joined: 14 Apr 2012
Posts: 26
Location: Salisbury Plain

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:43 am    Post subject: Inferno Mountain Triathlon, Switzerland 18th Aug 2012 Reply with quote

Anyone else on here doing this crazy triathlon? My husband and I are starting wish there was more time to get more training in!!

Figures are;

Swim 3000m across a cold mountain lake.

Road cycle 95km with 2000m of ascent.

Mountainbike 30km with 1500m of ascent.

Run, Walk, crawl 25km with over 2000m of ascent

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Joined: 26 Jun 2012
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Location: Leamington Spa

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi I'm not doing the race (only doing my first Oly this year..) but its an area I know pretty well.

Just had a brief look at the route map it looks like a really tough route! Have you been able to have a look at the route at all? The organisers seem to have put most of the hills in the 2nd half of the event!

I'll actually be over there when this is on this year so hopefully will go and watch some of it

Good luck!
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I walked down the last run section last week. Its a toughie, one for next year me thinks....... Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I managed to go and see this as I was on holiday in the area. The event looked really good and it's certainly an event I'd look to do in the future.

Followed the race from Grund (Grindlewald) over Kleine Scheidegg and then up to Murren and the atmosphere was really good and very good support for the competitors. Plus the backdrop is just stunning although I doubt you'd have much chance to take in the scenery
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Location: Salisbury Plain

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Race report for 2012 that you might find useful (sorry it goes on abit as it's an explanation for my non triathlon friends to give them an in sight!);

Thun - Oberhofen
Distance 3.1 km

Road Bike:
Oberhofen - Grindelwald.
Distance 97 km, slope 2145 m.

Mountain Bike:
Grindelwald - Stechelberg.
Distance 30 km, slope 1180 m.

Fell Running:
Stechelberg - Mürren - Schilthorn.
Distance 25 km, slope 2175 m.

So the day before race and Bob’s still not feeling any better with his ear infection and decides to pull out and defer to next year. To be honest, this was a massive relief on may part as I would have be worrying all the way around (or at least until he had overtaken me!)

Day before race day we were extremely busy, set up of 2 bikes with nutrition, 3 transition bags with each set of shoes etc. And then it was off to each transition area to drop the bikes and running kit off. Running kit at Stechelberg, MTB at Glindelwald and road bike at Oberhofen plus try and eat, which as usual wasn’t when I had planned – not what you call the most relaxing pre-race prep.

Race Day!
Alarm went off at 0415hrs, camp cooker on for some porridge, quick change, drink plenty of water, eat porridge and in the car by 0500hrs. It was about 45mins to the swim area, I just wanted to get there as my nerves were running very high. On arrival we couldn’t believe how many people were there, loads of supporters but we had forgotten about all the teams. In total there are about 350 individuals and about 50 teams taking part in the race. I had a quick warm up in the 50mtr pool and then 10mins before the start I enter the lake and headed to the front right hand side of everyone else in the water, trying to work out where we would be heading in the process (it was still pretty dark so this made seeing the other side of the lake pretty impossible!)

So the countdown was in German, which I didn’t fully understand but then there was silence so we all just started swimming. I found out afterwards that the cannon had gone off 5 seconds after the countdown. Off I go, thinking I would be swam over and feel like I’m in a washing machine again….but no I breath to my right slightly looking behind me and no one there, well not on my feet anyway. I can see people swimming along way right and left of me though. The swim is one straight route from one side of the lake to the other, sighting is pretty much impossible. There were a couple of orange buoys on the water to guide us but you really could not see them. Sighting for the first buoy ok, I wasn’t swimming quite on my own by this point; there must have been about 6 of us that had grouped. But after this buoy I really could not see the next and just thought ‘just swim in a straight line for a couple hundred metres and I should be fine’. Hmm, that didn’t really work, I looked around me and I was totally on my own. Did a couple of breaststroke and sighted the next buoy, but by this point everyone else seem to be well left of me!! And I even had the safety boat practically coming to see if I was ok, I was starting to feel disorientated. Unlike an ironman swim (3.8km) there was no break in the middle so feeling like this was unusual. Quick detour back to everyone else was and on my way again. I was now overtaking a handful of swimmers who were starting to tire, the shore still looking a million miles away. I reached the shore in a pleasing time under 47mins. Cut off time is 1hour45 mins.

Transition one
I’m second lady into transition, camera crew in my face whilst I’m trying to get out of a wetsuit and get myself sorted… not pretty!

Road Bike
We had driven the bike course a couple days earlier so I did kind of know what was going to kill me! Out of transition, onto my bike – first 500m flat then came the first mighty hill. There wasn’t any time to get any food on, so a quick couple slurps from my aero bottle and off I went. I’m a swimmer and not really a cyclist and it felt like I was going backwards on the first hill by the amount of people overtaking me! The girl in 3rd only overtook me half way up the climb, which I was pretty pleased about. By the top of the climb I was in about 8th. My aim was to be at the top of the first climb in an hour, and was up there in 50mins so happy with that. Now down the descent into Interlaken, really fast with tight hair pins – epic!

Through Interlaken where Bob surprised by appearing as a supporter; it was so nice to see a familiar face – plus I was feeling strong, and going very well too. It’s pretty much flat to the other end of the lake; wind behind me meant averaging around the 35kmhr mark.

Refuelling was becoming a problem though, I had taken in 2 gels by the bottom of the second climb but they really were not agreeing with me and I was starting to feel sick with stomach pains. From then on in I stuck to water with the odd cake from the station the organisers had provided.

Here comes the massive hill. I was at the bottom in good time and was still thinking I would make the climb and over the other side in 4.5hrs. So that left me just under 2hrs to do a 17km climb with 1500metres ascent. But from the first corner I was in my lowest gear with nowhere to go, back ache and the heat of the day about to pick up – disaster. The first half wasn’t too bad as it was in the trees, but the second half was emotional, with one part of the road I saw a handful of people get off their bikes and started pushing!! I was NOT going to do that, but probably suffered the consequences afterwards, as about 30mins after doing that section I had to stop and stretch my back out and take on an enormous amount of fluid. Eventually getting to the top of the climb in about 3.5hrs (one hour more than anticipated!) it was now time to descend into Glindlewald. This was really hard going with all the switchbacks, tired arms, very worn brake pads and of course 35C heat!

For this course an aero bottle is a massive mistake, by the end of this bike leg I was completely covered in sticky drink, and my bike was disgusting!!

Transition two
Just relieved I had made it into transition 2 and having 45mins to spare before cut off. Bob was there and just seeing him in his cycling kit gave me a massive boost – he was going to cycle the MTB bit with me!! It was really scorching in the valley, and I was desperate just to jump in the river to cool off.

MTB section
OMG, although we had ridden it only 4 days before, every little section of this leg was hell. I think I hit the wall about 4 times. Thankfully with Bob there and I had the encouragement I needed, also a good supply of cola which he kindly got from a restaurant on our way up – that was really my saviour!! Stopped about 4 times on the way up just to feel sorry for myself and just keep thinking I wasn’t going to make it any further. Riding the course a few days really did help as the nearer I got to the top, the knowledge I was nearly there spurred me on. At the very end of the climb its walking terrain so this give me some relief, but walking up there in MTB shoes was very hard going on my calves and I suffered the consequences later on.

Time for the descent (saddle down, this is definitely the way forward for me to help my balance) – my favourite part of the whole course to be honest (and surprisingly so as this was the section I most dreaded as I hate the thought of falling of my bike, and this was certainly the descent where it could happen). Off we go; Bob had a puncture about 100mtrs in so off I went on my own. All of a sudden I had all the energy in the world, I overtook over half a dozen of people before I even got to the technical part (and there weren’t all female, this never happens!). Few slides around the sharp bends, but this was awesome!! Then the slightly technical bit through the woods, I got off my bike a couple of times and walked down but I rode a lot more than I did when we had gone down a few days earlier. Overtook a few more people and out of the trees to join the road/track from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen. This is a fairly steep with about 20 switch backs and about 50metres between each switch back; almost impossible to overtake as it’s so narrow. I caught another girl down here, but just stuck with her until the bottom. So hit the bottom – massive cramp in my calves ouch!! Saddle back up to usual position and off I crack for the last 6Kms to the next transition.

Transition 3
Hand my MTB to a steward and then into the transition tent to grab my bag and change shoes and top for the run. I asked at this point what the cut off was at Murren and the guy said 1800hrs and it was now 1550hrs. So I asked what the likelihood of me making that was and he said ‘if you run the whole way yes, but if you not then no’. Brilliant, at that point there was no way I was going to be able to run the up hill parts as it was 17km with 1100m of accent.

Legs feeling really good, so much so I cracked the first 5km to Lauterbrunnen in 25minutes, this was a very lonely 5km though as I was practically the last few people on the course as I had made transition 3 with only 10mins to spare, but pleasingly I caught up more people of this section so that was practically my aim now. Then came the climb, actually wasn’t too bad I just couldn’t run but I could walk at a reasonable pace. The feed stations were every 2km up here, so they would be my tick offs on the way up. My feeding consisted now of just flat coke and water – no idea how I managed this considering I pretty much had only 2 power gels and a bowl of porridge all day. With the last 5km to Murren the course flattens out a little. I was able to run and was knocking the km markers off fairly quickly. 1800hrs came and went with about 4.5km to go so I knew it was all about being as close to the cut off as I could. With about 1km I went around a corner and there was Bob, ready to run the last bit with me – I felt so strong by now I was really gutted I wasn’t going to be able to go any further. Bob informed me that the organisers had extended the cut off by another 15mins, and he was coming to find me so he could run the last section of the course with me. But it was already 1820hrs so I definitely wasn’t going to make it, but it did spur me on to run the last km very quickly – even though it involved a hill. So around another steep corner up the high street in Murren, I could see and hear the finish and I crossed the line – with just relief!!

I quickly asked the organisers ‘can I still go to the top in the cable car?!’ and the answer was ‘no, I’m afraid the access up there is now closed’ I said ‘well I’d better come back next year and ensure I make it all the way!!’

Things that I would change when we would do it again;
1. Not camp, stay in a hotel – especially if it’s a busy campsite!
2. Not use an aero bottle or bars, completely impractical for the course.
3. Where a proper cycling jersey for the bike sections – mainly because it was so hot, and my shoulders burnt to a crisp, but also it would have been easier to shove food in the pockets at the feed station.
4. Have a better knowledge of all cut off times!!
5. If you need a lot of fluid, a small camelback on the MTB means you can take on fluid easier as you climb.
6. 2.1 tyres on the MTB are a good balance for the ascent and descent. Panaracer XC Pros are good. Shwalbe Rocket Rons got shredded on the epic descent!!
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Location: Still missing dune dog but wrestling with a moose!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice report and good effort particularly in the heat last week. This is on my list after staying in Grindlewald a couple of years ago. Thought I might do it as a team with Mrs DD as not sure I could make the cut-offs!
Some people are wise, some people are otherwise.
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Joined: 11 Jan 2006
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Location: TUnbridge Wells

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

never heard of this race - sounds amazing

well done - it is lodged firmly onto my list !!
Life is free - take it in big chunks.....

2006 IM CH, 2007 IMF, 2008 Norseman, 2009 100 hour Raid Pyrenees, 2010 Marazion, 2011 AXtri, 2012 - White Horse Challenge, Tonbridge, 2nd baby, 2013 - Aberdeen to Southampton bike, 2014 Gauntlet

2015 ?
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Location: Leamington Spa

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report! It was a amazing effort to get up to Murren especially considering how hot it was on that day!

I think it's hard to put express how much climbing is involved for the athletes, I was tired from just watching and I was using trains and cable cars to get around
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Location: Leicester

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report - and brings back many fond / painful / happy memories!

I took part as well, with my wife Claire.

Amazed more Brits don't do this event. So much more to triathlon than bloody M-Dot!!

What and amazing race and interesting that we shared similar experiences with the swim (although you were much quicker)

I put a report up on my blog - with a few pictures.

Have a read....


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