Home de Ferro: 7 October 2007
I remember watching the Edinburgh New Years Day Tri back when I wasn’t a triathlete. At a few degrees above zero, my fellow hill runners in the field wore Helly Hansen thermals ; the cyclists wore abundant neoprene and only the triathletes emerged from the Commonwealth Pool still wearing speedos and crop tops. Triathletes seem to live in a sartorial world of endless summer and that makes the Ibiza Long Course or Home de Ferro (iron man in Spanish) all the more appealing at this tail end of the season.
With reservations, I’d recommend it. St Eulalia is a nice holiday town on a bay with a white sand beach. Post club closing parties, it really welcomes the extra visitors and offers full road closures through the town and all the way on the 4 lap 110km bike course. Both enthusiastic locals and Brit holiday makers line the streets in support and despite 2 Serpie disqualifications the atmosphere of the event still wins us over. The format is ‘old-skool’ European long course: 4km sea swim in lovely clear waters; a fast 106km bike which apart from a very steep blip up and over a cobbled hill, the main challenge is holding an aero position for a few hours; and a 30 km run in 4 laps along the promenade and marina with a much better route for crowd support than in previous years.
The reservations? Only that this is a relatively small field (373) with a lot of strength so many of the back markers had a lonely run to the finish albeit with encouragement from the bars along the route. The women’s field in particular was only 37 and because they set off 10 mins in advance of the men there are limited opportunities for catching a draft. That might suit you if a mass start washing machine puts you off sea swims. Oh, and it’s hot – but that is what we were there for!
The notable Serpie performances were from Jenny Gowans and Richard Melik both of who were pleasantly surprised with form despite taking a chunk of the summer off racing and training. Jenny came 5th only to be disqualified for the “dangerous practice” of wearing a race belt under the wet suit. This carries the penalty of immediate disqualification from the race but Jenny raced on in hope of an appeal. Not granted: 1000 euros was up from grabs for 5th and apart from improving his diplomatic skills there was little that the race referee could do having already publicly stated the reason for disqualification. Two other Brits fell foul of the same rule including not-really-but-sort-of-brit Piet Hein Schram. Interestingly, head phones don’t seem to be disallowed so a Spaniard racing in the UK could similarly be punished under our local rules. Would we handle it differently?
The Home de Ferro has attracted Serpies almost since its inception: it’s a warm way to finish the year’s racing and a then a relaxing start to the off-season and I’m guessing it will continue to attract a Serpie crowd in holiday mood in future years.
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