Tri Training Harder's Course Review of IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire
Welcome to our IRONMAN® 70.3 Staffordshire Course Review! Here we aim to give you a good insight into the course, the location and what to expect as well as extra tips for spectators and advice for nutrition and training!
IRONMAN® UK have chosen a brilliant central location for this 70.3® event. It is accessible easily from all over the UK from both road (being right on the M6), rail (nearest station just 10 minutes away) and air (Birmingham airport is only 30 minutes drive).
The Shugborough Estate
The Shugborough Estate comprises a beautiful country house dating from the 1700's surrounded by historic gardens and parkland. This is the location for T2, the run course and the finish. It promises to provide a spectacular backdrop for the race and no doubt the race photos will look equally as good!
The 1.9km swim is held in Chasewater Reservoir. It is just over and area of 1km x 1km, has a maximum depth of 11.3m and an average depth of 3.5m. The water quality is exceptional and it being a lake swim, promises to be relatively flat and calm given the time of year. Wetsuits will be mandatory!
|The 1.9km IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire swim course|
The swim course is a single anti-clockwise loop. There are no obvious sighting points on the horizon to help you on this course as the landscape is very flat, so use the buoys.
Cut off time: 1 hour 10 minutes after your wave start, with a further 10 minutes allowed to reach bike mount
T1At T1 you will exit the swim and get ready for the bike leg. Tri Training Harder's advice on what you will need at this point would be:
-Race belt with number attached*
-Talc for your bike shoes to soak up any excess moisture
-Nutrition for the bike
-Spare water for rinsing your mouth out after the swim
Your wetsuit and any other discarded swim kit is to be put in this bag to be re-hung by a volunteer.
BikeThe bike course is a single 90km loop takes in some spectacular scenery as it winds its way through the county from Chasewater to Shugborough. There is an elevation gain of 897m throughout the course, so although it is fairly fast don't be fooled into thinking it is completely flat! There are come technical aspects to the course too, especially at the start where it winds through some small lanes and villages. Aid stations will be found at 19km (Kings Bromley), 37km (Needwood), 59.5km (Marsh Farm) and 77km (Cannock Chase).
The road quality in general is not bad (given this is England). Along the smaller roads there are a few holes and bumps to be aware of, but for the vast majority of the course the tarmac is smooth and hazard-free. There are also re-surfacing works planned for some of the route too before the big day.
Download the GPX file of the bike course here. (Only available in Google Chrome)
|To view in high resolution click here.|
The bike course starts at Chasewater and heads out onto the main road (watch out for potholes on the road next to the dam as you leave!). It will feel like a bit of a drag for the first few kilometers, and there is a short sharp climb of only 1km at the 6km mark before the start of an easier downhill section. During the beginning of this, the course joins a more main road- but be careful as the turn is a sharp-left hander on a descent. This section is nice and fast, with the first aid station at Kings Bromley after 19km.
|To veiw in high resolution, click here.|
|Needwood aid Station|
The course continues on the main road until the 28km mark, where it loops around (see diagram) to take in Needwood aid station. The pinch point of this would be a good place for spectators to watch from because they will see the athletes twice. After this, there is undulating section through small lanes taking in the third aid station at 59.5km which again, should be fairly fast, but athletes will have to be aware of junctions and turns.
|Cannock Chase aid station|
Once this section is completed, you will be in Rugeley and ready to tackle the hardest part of the course- the climb into Cannock Chase! It is not a huge climb, but you will feel it if you haven't paced the previous parts of the course well. It is 10km long, with over 200m of climbing to cover. At the top of the climb the last aid station is available for athletes at 77km. Once you have headed back out on a road parallel to the one you came into Cannock Chase on, you will be back in Rugely and will only have an easy 6km along a fast, flat stretch of road to Shugborough. You are done! With only that pesky half marathon to go...
Cut off time: 5 hours 30 minutes after your wave start, with a further 10 minutes allowed to reach the run exit
T2At T2 (at Shugborough) you will come off your bike, rack it, then head into the marquee and pick up your RED transition bag. In this will have all your run kit: (for example)
-Appropriate extra clothing for bad weather
Your helmet and any other discarded bike kit is to be put in this bag and left in the tent to be re-hung by a volunteer.
|To veiw in high resolution click here.|
We belive the run will be an enjoyable one as 70.3 races go! There is a total elevation gain of only 110m and the course is 3 x 7km laps, going right round the house and estate itself and also passing the finish each time. This will ensure a great atmosphere and plenty of support for you suffering competitors! There are 3 aid stations on each lap, so on average there is an aid station every 2.3km. The majority of the run course is paved, either with tarmac or firm grit and only a small section 'trail' (see map) so unlike 70.3 Exmoor, there should be no need to worry about mud.
Cut off time: 8 hours 30 minutes after your wave start
FinishOnce you have crossed the line, received your medal and T-shirt, you will be shown into the finishers tent where there will be food, drink, massage tables and also your own WHITE bag. In this, we would reccommend putting in:
-Clean socks and comfortable shoes
-Full change of clothes, especially if the weather is bad.
Our top tips for giving your spectators the best experience at IRONMAN® 70.3 Staffordshire.
1) Have a conversation with them a few days prior and tell them how they can help most. Talk about how you would like them to act. e.g. Will you want space? Talk about how you think they can be most useful practically. Speak about the race itself - do you want support at a certain point? What information do you need? Is there anything that you don't want to hear?
2) On race morning, their role is to facilitate you smoothly getting to the start line as calm as possible! Relax, enjoy the atmosphere and this will rub off on them and let them know their support is appreciated, no matter how nervous you are!
3) You are off! Spectator- this is your time to get yourself to the next location where they need your support. This could be the swim exit, or perhaps somewhere on the bike course that you have sussed out. No vehicle access to Chasewater on race weekend. Parking will be available in Holland Park, a short walk or shuttle bus ride from Chasewater. You can leave Holland Park during the event to reach spectator spots along the bike course but make sure you have planned the route in advance and are not trying to drive on or cross the course. Also plan to be in Shugborough in good time to see them on the run as this will be a busy site with lots of spectators coming to see their athlete.
4) Where is best to spectate on the bike?
There are three main points which we would recommend viewing the bike course. The first is at 33km/45km where the bike course passes twice between the second aid station at Needwood. We would recommend access down Forest Road to get to the course, as along here is much more likely to be parking on the verges. The second spot would be near Rugely, where again the course passes twice. Spectators could access the course easily through the housing estate to the south of Bower Lane for instance. The third spot would be in Cannock Chase itself, by the final aid station. Here there is adequate parking for plenty of cars as well as it being an interesting and pleasant location for spectators to visit anyway!
|The more the merrier! Coach Philip being supported at IRONMAN® UK, 2012.|
5) Spectator: whatever you do- never touch your athlete, give them anything or take anything from them! This is deemed as outside assistance and will get them disqualified! Athlete: DO NOT accept anything from anyone (apart from verbal encouragement) on the course apart from at aid stations.
6) Where to spectate on the run?
At IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire, the run course will be accessed very easily from a multitude of points on the day, and spectators will have no problem finding a good viewing point. There will be a great atmosphere at the finish, however if you need to make your voice heard it might be best to head somewhere quieter!
7) When they finish, hang around in your planned location and don't be worried if they haven't appeared instantly. The finish tent will be full of food, drink, massage beds and other friends who have finished and it can easily take 30 minutes to get through. Athlete: don't forget your concerned supporters waiting for you outside... bring the pizza and cake with you and let them know you are alright!
|Make yourself visible so that your athlete can spot you!|
Gear and Equipment
This will be a wetsuit swim, so make sure you have one that is well fitted and that you have tried beforehand (walking around like a lemon in your living room doesn't count, get in a lake or the sea!).
Take a couple of spare swim caps with you- these could be very useful extra head warmth on the day underneath the one you will be given.
This is not a hilly course, consider it rolling. You shouldn't need to make drastic changes to your gear set up on your bike if you can spin easily up a steady incline on the bike you will race on. For IRONMAN® 70.3 Exmoor, we would advise a compact gear set up for most riders, but IRONMAN® 70.3 Staffordshire is not this extreme!
Make sure you have enough water cages for your nutrition plan and have got your bike fully serviced or at least well cleaned, lubricated and checked (especially tyres and brakes) at least a week before the race so that you can ride with confidence without putting yourselves (or anyone else riding near you) in danger.
Ipods, MP3 players or similar are not permitted, and your race number must be worn on your back and clearly visible.
The terrain should not be at all muddy, and is mostly on hard paths or tarmac, so bring trainers suitable for this. Make sure trainers are well worn-in pre race, the worst thing possible is blisters during the run leg! Remember, Ipods, MP3 players or similar are not permitted on the course. Your race number must be worn on your front, visible for photographers and marshals to see.
All your hard work and dedication in the lead up to this will be completely 100% wasted without a viable nutrition plan on race day! For a more in-depth look at how you could tackle your nutrition plan for the race, click here.
Bike Course Aid Stations:
These will be found at 19km (Kings Bromley), 37km (Needwood), 59.5km (Marsh Farm) and 77km (Cannock Chase).
At these aid stations you will find: PowerBar Drink & Energize Bars, Water and Bananas (cut in half)
Run Course Aid Stations:
These will be found at 1km, 2.9km, 5.6km, 7.7km, 9.6km, 12.5km, 14km, 16km and 19.3.
Tri Training Harder, the official coach for IRONMAN® UK Events in 2016 can be of help in a number of ways:
- Download your own bespoke training plan for your event here.
- Have a coach help, who will build your training plan for you with options that suit your needs and budget here.
- Phone consultation with an experiened coach to answer your personal training questions here.
- A training holiday in the Algarve for a week of training surrounded by like-minded individuals and experienced coaches to answer any of your questions!
|Tri Training Harder's training holidays in Portugal. Training is never as hard in the sunshine!|
Registration for 2017Don't want to miss out? Go to www.ironman.com to re-register for 2017 events.
We hope this review has helped you. Happy Training!
The Tri Training Harder team
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