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Easy First IM
CREATED: 11/05/12 by kbarber REPLIES: 22
kbarber's ravatar kbarber    JOINED: 9/7/12    POSTS: 10
Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 12:36 PM

Hi all, I'm looking for suggestions for an easy, flat, first time Ironman to compete in next year. Any good ones? US or abroad. Thanks!

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1331
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 1:33 PM

There are 6 of us doing IM Sweden next year. They are opening up 350 additional slots, after being sold out within the first day. It's flat and fast. Swim is in calm waters. Bike is the fastest on the IM circuit worldwide, but could be somewhat due to the fact that Europeans are just wicked fast on the bike.

Here is a video of it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRiIBniN4oY

IMFL is pancake flat. B2B pancake is flat. ChesapeakMan is pancake flat. IMCozumel pancake is flat. IMAz is mostly flat.

Challenge Copenhagen is relatively flat. IM Frankfurt is relatively flat. Relatively flat = mostly flat with some hills, but no major climbs on the bike and dead flat on the run.

Remember that flat means that you will be dealing with a lot of relentless wind. It may cause you to beg for hills. Every flat IMs I've done, I've faced relentless wind. Riding 112 in aero may cause you to run in aero ;) ... just ask all those people who did IMFL this past weekend how "easy" it was.

Tuan

bcfrank's ravatar bcfrank    JOINED: 3/23/09    POSTS: 983
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 1:58 PM

There is no such thing as an "easy" Ironman. :)

nomisdc's ravatar nomisdc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 616
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 2:20 PM

That would be Ironman Florida, IMFL.

kbarber's ravatar kbarber    JOINED: 9/7/12    POSTS: 10
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 2:22 PM

Thank you, Tuan! Maybe "easy" wasn't the best word choice :) Really looking for any recs on good first time races to compete in.

nomisdc's ravatar nomisdc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 616
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 2:28 PM

Pursuant to the IMFL sell out, try IMAZ.

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1331
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 2:44 PM

You have to define your criteria. For example, I know people in the club who detest flat courses. For them, IMFL would be a nightmare and difficult. For me, it's awesome. I'm considering going back there in 2014. I love that race.

Some people like rolling hills. Some people, like Bryan Frank, love hills and wouldn't do any course without hills. Some people love cold weather races. Some people love warm races. Some people like training in the winter and racing in the summer. Some people love training in the summer and racing in the fall. Having done 2 European IMs and returning for a 3rd, I love the idea of going overseas for an IM. It's all about perspective on what you like. You'd get a better recommendations if you specify your criteria. If you don't know what you want, give it some thought.

Having said that, I think for an American, you'll be better off doing your FIRST one stateside. You'll get a better overall Ironman experience here in the U.S., They don't baby you overseas like they do here in the U.S. In the U.S it's more about the entire experience. It's a week long thing. Over in Europe, it's more about the racing.

For example, in Europe, the concept of special needs bags do not exists. The concept of single sex changing tent exists some of the time. Good luck trying to find a wetsuit stripper over there. In the U.S they hand you your bike in T1. Over there, you go get your own damn bike. Over here, all of your transition stuff are in your transition bags. Over there, you set up your transition like shorter races, with the option of the "American" style IM transition set up.

Tuan

HappyRunner's ravatar HappyRunner    JOINED: 1/15/11    POSTS: 205
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 2:49 PM

This is a subject near and dear to my heart as it is something that I am contemplating also. One knock on IMAZ that I have repeatedly heard is that although there are no hills, the wind can be really bad. From what I've looked at IMFL is the way to go, and just hope the ocean is not too choppy.

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1331
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 2:56 PM

Another consideration is loop courses. IMAz is 3 loops on the bike, 3 loops on the run, and 1 loop on the swim.

IMFL is one loop on the bike, 2 on the run, and 2 on the swim.

The Europeans ones that I've done (IM Frankfurt and Challenge Copenhagen) had 4 loops on the run. Initially that sounded bad, but is way better once you are actually running it. Having that many loops on the run means that you are surrounded by more runners and spectators.

2 loops on the swim can be a blessing, if you can't swim. It gives you a natural break. 2+ loops on the bike just sucks royally.

nomisdc's ravatar nomisdc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 616
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 2:57 PM

Yup, IMFL is the perfect choice. IMFL is the most beginner friendly Ironman. Beyond that it starts to get fuzzy.

kbarber's ravatar kbarber    JOINED: 9/7/12    POSTS: 10
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 3:01 PM

All very helpful, thanks. For all my other races, I've preferred flat courses and have avoided courses w/ loops (very hard to find though). Ideally looking for spring/late fall races and am open to abroad races as I travel internationally a ton anyway and think it'd be exciting to do one oversees. Bummed that IMFL and IMAZ are both sold out though...

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1331
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 3:12 PM

IMAz has not open yet. You are still in the running :)

Like I said, there are 6 DCTri people doing IM Sweden. It meets most of your criteria ... abroad, flat, 1 funky loop on the swim, 1 funky loop on the bike, and 3 on the run (but they may change that to 4). 350 slots will open up next week.

As someone with a running background, the idea of running a standalone marathon w/ loops repulses me. It has now grown on me when it's part of the IM. Not sure about your speed, but if you are on the slower end, having people out there with you in the later stages is pretty cool. If you are fast, passing slower people constantly is a great boost to the morale when you are suffering out there.

Another thing to consider, not all overseas races have a 17 hour cutoff like they do here in America. Many of them are 15-16 hour cutoffs. If you think that you are anywhere near that, that should be part of your decision making equation.

History of the race should also play into your consideration. For example, IM New Zealand is a flat course in the spring. However, it has been cancelled a few times due to weather.

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1331
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 3:17 PM

The Sunday Bike Ride with the Vertical Swimmer, a group ride that I lead, will ride with the IM Sweden racing schedule in mind ;)

nomisdc's ravatar nomisdc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 616
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 3:24 PM

You should be good to go to sign up for IMAZ, the second most-beginner-friendly course. 2012 is sold out. 2013 entry info:
http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/ironman/arizona/register.aspx#axzz2BNinIQFb
Make sure you are logged in to your active.com account and have that page ready to hit the button. Good luck!

denaindc's ravatar denaindc    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 152
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/05/12 3:38 PM

I did IM Wisconsin for my first IM. About 1/3 of the pack was first timers. Bike course is moderately hilly and run is mostly flat. good time of year, perfet temps and you don't have to train in wintertime. Amazing spectator all along the course! IM Foundation spots are still open.

jbrez's ravatar jbrez    JOINED: 1/30/11    POSTS: 271
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/06/12 9:26 AM

IM Texas.

dhops's ravatar dhops    JOINED: 7/12/12    POSTS: 113
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/06/12 9:34 AM

My first was Ironman Louisville. The swim is a time trial start, which is nice if you're concerned about getting stuck in the washing machine of a mass start.

The bike is a bit challenging - all rolling hills - but the run is almost completely flat. Also, it doesn't sell out right away so you can still get in. It's a HOT August race but I had an amazing experience!

And I agree with Bryan - no such thing as an easy Ironman. :)

tgrollman's ravatar tgrollman    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 226
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/06/12 11:28 AM

Cozumel! The swim is a cake walk. The bike can be windy, but the course is FLAT and then run is spectator friendly.

It was my first.

Tania.

tgrollman's ravatar tgrollman    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 226
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/06/12 11:28 AM

Cozumel! The swim is a cake walk. The bike can be windy, but the course is FLAT and then run is spectator friendly.

It was my first.

Tania.

mosered's ravatar mosered    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1783
RE: Easy First IM
POSTED: 11/06/12 4:22 PM

My college roommate did his first IM at ChesapeakeMan. Generally liked it because it was inexpensive, close to DC, low key, flat, a cool-weather fall event, and well supported. Has multiple loops for the run tho, which he liked tho because he's slow and wanted to just grind it out. He didn't like the swim with jellyfishes.

And there is such a thing as an easy Ironman: it's called Ironman Vietnam...

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