>> Sunday, March 01, 2009
As many of you know, Pharmie and I took a trip to Cozumel about 6 weeks ago. I promised a Ironman Cozumel race course preview, and here it finally is.
Here’s the only race map I could find, and it’s pretty darn small and hard to read:
Umm, there’s water. You get wet.
However, when Pharmie and I were snorkeling just about a mile off the shore (and about 5 miles south of the IM swim area), we encountered an unexpected issue. While swimming at the surface, we would suddenly feel little stings on random parts of our body - probably about an average of 1 every few minutes. Apparently, there were little shredded pieces of jellyfish all over. Without seeing anything, we were running into these tiny pieces and getting stung. Here’s what Pharmie’s forearm looked like the evening after we got back from snorkeling:
And here’s MY forearm 8 DAYS AFTER I GOT STUNG:
Anyway, back to the island... we couldn’t see these things stinging us - we were just suddenly hurting. It sucked, but we weren’t going to drown because of it. When we got back to the boat, they sprayed us with vinegar, which REALLY helped the stinging.
According to their site, IM COZ is NOT “wetsuit legal.” Which sucks if there are little jellyfish pieces. If you don’t have a thin “speedsuit” style wetsuit (which you can use in NON-wetsuit legal triathlons), I would consider getting one to help avoid these stings. But I have no idea if this is an issue in the IM swim area, which was a few miles from where we swam.
Just my 2 cents. The swim is the scariest part. Those damn jellys. Other than that, the water is clear and warm. Here I am about 12 feet down:
Flat as Keira Knightley’s chest. Really. AND on a pretty good road! Here’s a view of the road right around the bike start:
Here’s Pharmie when we were out on a run on the “frontage road” around mile 10 of the bike. Notice the frontage road we were on SUCKS, but the main road next to us (which bikers will be riding on) is in great shape:
- I think there are areas where the road is not as good, but for the most part, it’s in really good shape. The east side of the island could have the worst roads.
- You’ll have a great view of some beaches and amazing shoreline on the east side of the island. Enjoy it!
- The island is so flat and open, that there’s a good chance that it will be windy.
- There’s NO shade on the bike - you’re in the sun the entire time, so slather on the sunscreen.
Finally, Pharmie and I can’t imagine many cheering sections on the bike. There’s no way for people to get out to the course without using the course as their means of transportation (there’s basically just that one road that wraps the island). We bet there’ll be people at the turn-around, but not many other places on the route.
(BTW: I talked about the “turn-around” point on the bike, and you hit that twice. The bike course is out-and-back times 2. Just be warned. If you’re the type that gets bored on a ride where you have to repeat some areas, you could start to get bored on this course where you’ll be seeing the same thing 4 times!)
RUN: 26.2 MILES:
It’s gonna be flat. And humid. And there will probably be little shop-keepers trying to get you into their store by saying, “Everything’s almost free!” (there are signs everywhere that say that - in fact, you might come across one near some shops on the bike course where you turn inland that is spelled “Ole Most Free!”)
The run heads north into and through town. We aren’t 100% sure, but we think this must be on “the main road” which is in good shape. It’s an “out and back” run, and it will PROBABLY be pretty full of spectators.
Here’s the road in town, with 2 huge cruise ships docked in the water. The road is stamped concrete, and in good shape. (I imagine running “out” on the road nearest to me, and running “back” on the far side of the road)
So that’s about it. Pharmie and I are NOT doing this race, and we will NOT be there to cheer. But since we vacationed down there a few weeks back, we thought we’d snap some photos and take a look at the course for those of you who are racing. Enjoy it!! Have a great race in paradise!!
(BTW, here’s the direct link to this post: http://iwannagetphysical.blogspot.com/2009/03/ironman-cozumel-race-course-preview.html
Send that link to anyone you know who’s doing this race. They might find a little tid-bit of something helpful.)