Athletes ready for tough bike course in Guatape

Athletes ready for tough bike course in Guatape

By Paula Kim on 05/11/11 at 9:32 pm

They haven’t raced it yet, but the athletes preparing to hit the newest ITU World Cup stop this Sunday expect that Guatape is going to be one of the toughest races of the year.

For starters, the bike course is unrelenting.  It includes an almost 2-kilometre straight stretch uphill. Combine that with the fact that the picture perfect Colombian tourist destination sits at 6300-feet above sea level, it is set to be a tough day at the office for many of the world’s best. Except that these athletes can’t wait to tackle this course in a World Cup for the first time.  We caught up with a few to get their thoughts on this uniquely challenging course.

Vicky Holland (GBR)
“It’s a really true bike course. I like the fact that we’ve only got four laps, it’s a straight out and back five K out in one direction and five K back. There is pretty much no flat the whole way, it’s a little bit up, little bit down, little bit up, little bit down, there is a couple of good climbs in there too, so it’s going to be really testing. And the run afterwards is going to be flat, which I think is really necessary after such a tough bike, but it’s a really true bike course that’s for sure.”

“I think (altitude) is going to be a really big factor, I think it’s going to be quite an ugly race because there will be quite a lot of people who perhaps haven’t quite estimated how much it’s going to affect them. I’ve been training myself at medium altitude so even this is a step up for me again, so I’m just hoping that I’ve done enough to make sure that this race is ok for me. But I think if you haven’t made the preparations for racing at 2000m altitude you are going to suffer on the day.”

Brent McMahon (CAN):
“(The bike course) is unusual for an ITU course, it’s great to see.  I love challenging bike courses and this one is either up or down, there’s no flat part so it should make everyone work hard on the bike and that will really change the run. You won’t get a big group of fresh guys coming off the bike, it’ll be a lot of tired guys and the strong ones that can run well off the hard bike will do well.”

Kris Gemmell (NZL):
“It’s a pretty amazing course, a pretty amazing race, it’s great that we get some bike courses back in the world cup series. It makes the bike portion really important, and throwing the altitude into the whole thing it’s going to be a really interesting race and I don’t think anyone can really understand how hard it’s going to be.”

“I do like to ride hard but I have to have a little bit of perseverance about safety, so I do have to be careful with that kind of consideration. But I’d love to be able to get off the bike, and if it’s a nice day and the roads dry, to put some pressure on, but I don’t think I’m going to be alone, there is a lot of guys here that will be in the real unknown. Pretty much everyone is in the unknown because it’s so long since we’ve done a race at altitude, this series is going to take a turn, I think everyone is going to be searching for another lung.”

Ivan Rana (ESP):
“This course is so hard, probably one of the hardest, this and Huatulco, the hardest for the year, so I’m happy to race here. The only point I don’t really like much is the altitude, I really feel the altitude as I train at sea level. But I feel that everyone will probably feel the same with altitude.”

Matt Chrabot (USA):
“I think it’s a really good layout, lot of hills, it’s fairly technical and you’re constantly changing gears.  There’s just a couple part of the course where you actually get a chance to take a break.  If you keep the pressure on the entire time, you could potentially have multiple groups of guys coming into T2.  There’s always the potential that it could come all together or just blow to pieces and I’d like to see it just blow to pieces.”

Find more details about this event - 2011 Guatape ITU Triathlon World Cup

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