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Ironman Kalmar Part Zero

Race Report IM Kalmar

Back from Sweden, here's my race recap from the Ironman Kalmar race. Signing up, I had in mind that this is a flat course (not like three of my other IM races - Wisconsin, CdA, Regensburg) and that maybe one might have a better chance of breaking the 15h-mark in that race. Well. on second thought - flat races mean, you have to pedal non stop. And a flat race in Kalmar means that there is wind coming in from the South.

On Tuesday morning I packed all tri stuff plus my three boys into the car and set off towards the North. Our plan was to reach Luebeck, sleep there, and go on to  Kalmar the next day. This means, visiting the beautiful toun of Luebeck in the evening, buying some of the city's signature marzipan for the boys (and myself) and then hit the road again. A ferry ride was included and lunch was on the boat. Swedish highways are nothing like German ones - that's a change between one lane and two lanes each direction - one always knew there's a chance to pass soon, but it is a lot of changing speed in between. Arriving in Kalmar we still had to go on half an hour for we had booked a hostel on the island of Oeland. That's actually where half of the race course happens, too, and one crosses the Oeland bridge (6km) twice. So we arrived in Morbylanga at our hostel, settled down, played some cards, and went to bed., I'd told the boys I'd go swimming in the morning and then do the package pickup. The test swim was at 7am, and I was there half an hour later, squeezed into my wetsuit and off it went. A bit cold but nothing bad. I swam around one buoy - a bit surprised it was salty water - from the map it had looked like a lake, not like a part of the Baltic Sea. Well. Who cares. The disconcerting item were the jellyfish. Lots of them but then I thought that there couldn't be an Ironman course with stingy somethings in the water and just started swimming. Those critters just floated happily along the Sylvi-produced waves. No stinging.

Afterwards I went to the expo, picked up the race backpack and bib, stickers etc. I also bought a refill inner tube for my bike-repair bag and made my way back to breakfast. Dang. One of the boys must have eaten the pretzel sticks...

Breakfast, then some down time. For lunch we went to check out the town of Kalmar, and to buy Swedish dictionaries. It's a beautiful little town, well maintained, we walked a bit around, sat in some bakery, walked some more, and then eventually I went to the race talk with the boys waiting for dinner afterwards. I bought the pasta dinner entry for them (nobody ever checked...)

In the race briefing they told us that deep dish wheels were not a good idea (well - my normal ones were at home so it rather increased my resolution to ride carefully with crosswinds on Oeland bridge) They also discouraged from disks, but no problem here - I don't use any. Seemingly wind always comes from the South - and seemingly they planned their course accordingly - and they also gave out warnings about 8-10m/s wind speeds.

Well, Can't change that anyway. Also they told us we needed the back-paper of the bike- and helmet-stickers and I was sure to have thrown this away for I didn't even ever check the back side of it... Oh well...

Then was the pasta dinner - same as in all IM races, some pasta, some salad. The kids got some, too, and then we drove back to Morbylanga. I had told the kids I'd go swimming again, but in the morning I just was too lazu and read a bit till breakfast.

The kids wanted to play minigolf - they had seen the place on our drive and it really looked like a good one. So I payd their entry, and myself went on a short bike ride on Oeland. That's where I noticed the false flat feature of the course. It all looks flat - unless you are riding "up" and wonder why it's all so difficult... Back from the bike ride I stowed the bike back into the car. The boys were half through the first part of the course, and so I went shopping for dinner. Pasta, more pasta, and pasta sauce... They still weren';t done so I drove to Kalmar to drop off the bike. It was a quick procedure, I had fished the chip receipt (backside of the sticker sheet) from the trash and everything went smoothly (besides parking spaces in Kalmar being somewhat smallish for our american car and besides of there being cul du sacs in the parking lot I drove into...)

Back to the boys and off to lunch. Swedish fast food: Koettbullar (know them from Ikea), burger with mashed potatoes, etc. Good stuff.

Then I brought the boys to the hostel, we had some down time and then I went off to pick up Martin from the airport while the boys started making pasta. Convenient, when kids are interested in cooking - they produced nice, al-dente pasta, a decent (actually two different) sauce(s), and some salad. Pasta Party. Had I been Swedish I'd have gone to the second pre-race party, but if that's only in Swedish, it wouldn't really make sense to go there.Yet, the English language party didn't introduce the oldest, youngest, etc competitor - not so much the inspirational theme they have at north American races. Probably some of that was at the Swedish party, but I cannot know this.

Then, after prepping everything we went to bed, only to get up a few hours later.