I am here in Europe!
This is one adventure I have been cooking up, scheming and dreaming for a few years now. And, here I am! I think I finally get what all the fuss is about - Europe has been nothing short of amazing.
When I first started racing triathlon, I would watch from afar at the big European races. They looked incredible: amazing scenery, so much spirit & energy from the crowds, stories of epic race-day battles. I knew I needed in on that. Even before triathlon, I had a big interest in cycling and the Tour de France - my favorite bike rides are the ones that include big epic climbs and long-all-day affairs. I wanted to know what the cycling in Europe was like.
I have to be honest though, it took some pushing and shoving for me to leave the comfort of racing in the USA. I love racing at home - where there are familiar faces on & off the race course, easy travel, foods and rituals you are accustomed to, courses that you know (and love). Always being one for adventure, inside me there was this urge to head to Europe and experience something new, and perhaps a bit outside my comfort zone. And so here I am - getting ready to race Ironman Austria in just a few days.
Now that we are here, I can say, Europe - I have a crush on you!
Everyday here has been filled with a new adventure, a sight to be seen, and a tasty croissant & espresso thrown in for good measure. We are staying in Klagenfurt, Austria - and the town is a charmer. There is a nice mix of culture & city life along with beautiful scenery and the Alps just a few minutes outside of town.
We came a bit early so I could train and get to know Sunday’s race course. The course is a goody. Ironman Austria is famous for being a fast course - but I think its fair to say that in my opinion, the scenery is what makes it so special. The race starts in the Worthersee Lake, which has crystal clear waters. Early morning it is nice and quiet there, but by mid-afternoon the lake docks are full of some of the best people watching that we don’t necessarily get in Montana. We have seen our fair share of banana hammocks and topless sun bathers! I am most looking forward to tackling the bike course. It is like a little video game - twisty turns, ups and downs (7,000+ feet of climbing!) through villages. It has been nice to ride it this week so I can enjoy the amazing scenery because race day we will be going to fast to even pay attention. The run course follows along the lake, up a canal to the town of Klagenfurt and through the famous Neuer Platz (town square). You can tell the energy will be big from the spectators with over 100,000 people coming out to cheer us on.
It has been great to experience a new culture and soak it all in as the race lead up gets closer. So far, I am a big fan!
I will check back in once more before the race - thanks for reading!