JAN 2019

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Front page -

WHEN I RACED THE ISRAMAN in Jan­uary, the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture of the Red Sea was around 23 C. Even bet­ter, the sun­rise on the moun­tains around Ei­lat while swim­ming (yep, I was so re­laxed that I ac­tu­ally en­joyed that) was stun­ning. But what came next was a to­tally dif­fer­ent sce­nario that you should be pre­pared for if you de­cide to tackle the Israman. The bike leg has a to­tal ver­ti­cal gain of 2,000 m for the half dis­tance. That’s still not the hard­est part of the day in the sad­dle – al­though it takes its toll. The real strug­gle is cy­cling for the last 60 km after the first climb on a moun­tain plateau at the bor­der with Egypt, where sol­diers and tanks are scat­tered along the road and make the ex­pe­ri­ence a lit­tle more “ad­ven­tur­ous.” But on the plateau the tem­per­a­ture can be pretty low (even two to three de­grees) and the front and cross winds very strong. Try­ing to hold a straight line and stay­ing in the sad­dle be­comes a task. Then comes the run. The first 12 km are all down­hill, mixed with one kilo­me­tre of trail run and the very last eight kilo­me­tres on the flat again. If run­ning down­hill sounds easy, think twice, be­cause it will get your legs and mus­cles full of lac­tate and mean get­ting to the fin­ish line is a true ac­com­plish­ment. For those who feel a half-dis­tance race with that much of a chal­lenge isn’t enough, the Israman also of­fers a fulld­is­tance race, too.

Nick Busca is a free­lance jour­nal­ist and avid cy­clist and triathlete based in Great Bri­tain.

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