which Ironman course is hardest

would you agree with these scorings

21 to 40 of 67 messages
12/09/2013 at 18:46

For good or for bad I purposely did Lanza and Wales in the same season this year.  I'd been bantering with Slag and Meldy on this one.  I decided that my challenge for 2013 was to do both of them in the same season to make it as equal as I could to see for myself which was harder.  There was some debate about this issue on the forum last year.

My conclusion was that Lanza was harder. 

I don't have the stats to hand to directly compare the climb, I can only find this:


which predates Wales but would say that the climbing at Lanza is harder. To me it felt harder and more sustained because there was xx km of climbing in a series of long climbs.  To me Wales felt like a very typical British ride and, if prepared for, something which shouldn't too onerous.  Whilst there were evil undulations throughout and Narbeth, Wisemans and Saundersfoot to contend with, each of these were typically short and sharp and could be recovered from. The climbs at Lanza felt relentless and the weather conditions made it worse.  Without visiting Lanza, it is very hard to train for this over in the UK.

I'm not sure how to compare the weather conditions.  I know that Pingu said that she felt that Wales was harder than Lanza (having also done both) and Seren said this may be because Pingu did Wales in windier conditions than I did but I have to say that both courses weren't particularly friendly weather wise this year seeing wind and rain in Lanza and slightly less wind but lots of rain and it was cold at Wales.

The run course in Wales is hillier than Lanza and makes my regimented run/walk strategy very hard to sustain.  I was quite fearful of it when I got off the bike as I wasn't sure where it went. That said, once I'd done it, it was fine to walk the ups and run the rest.  Some of the ups were sufficiently shallow that you could run them anyway.  I felt that the hillier run course did not make Wales any harder than Lanza.  Although Lanza had a flat run, the bike course was so brutal, it still made it 'harder' in my eyes.

That's my opinion anyway, and purely subjective of course.


Edited: 12/09/2013 at 18:48
12/09/2013 at 18:50

For what it's worth, I do agree with KK's earlier point about the measurement of a 'hard' course.  I don't particularly enjoy flat courses because there's no break.  Like she said, you have to keep pedalling.  At least on a course with some uphills, you'll get some downhills to give you some time to freewheel.

Then there's the tidal swim at Swashbuckler - I can't imagine doing an IM distance swim in waters with a strong tide.

Anyway, rambling now...


seren nos    pirate
12/09/2013 at 18:57

I didn't find wales wet or windy this year at all.....

i hadn't realised it had rained during the swim......on the bike I noticed it rain a  few times but still wasn't cold and the eveidence  from the photos confirm my armwarmers were down by the first 20 miles............I didn't even feel the rain on the run .only knew it was because you could see it......this was because to me there was no cold wind all day so never got cold.

so on a personal level a hot lanza course would feel much much harder to me that any wet colder course......

but bike wise because of my crap power to weight ratio.....a flat bike course like outlaw was so easy peasy in comparison because once moving it was easier to keep my high speeds up

12/09/2013 at 19:09

FFS if you actually read before jumping down her throat KK makes a valid point i done Wales and as i live and train in Cornwall didnt find it to tough same with IMUK both a Bolton and Sherborne which are hillyish i slaughtered myself both times i did Outlaw once it worked and a massive PB second time the wheels fell off and cramped most of the marathon for me flat courses are relentless and Outlaw seems to tske me a lot more time to recover from than other "harder" i.e hillier courses if you go out to do your absolute best each race they are all feckin hard

seren nos    pirate
12/09/2013 at 19:29
Edited: 12/09/2013 at 19:29
seren nos    pirate
12/09/2013 at 19:33

i managed to geta picture of pinapples instead of a quote.....must remember not to use forum in the middle of doing a newsletter

Britrisky    pirate
12/09/2013 at 21:08

I'm afraid the website you posted at the start of this thread makes no sense to me at all  what score is easy / hard?

isnt that site that gives all the average times the best guide? (But then it only includes the branded M dot events, which is limited)


Bouncing Barlist    pirate
12/09/2013 at 22:04

Having looked down the list its pretty spot on in my experience.

Its always going to be a little subjective depending on relative swim/bike/run strength, how your training adapts to certain courses etc, also weather but I cant really argue with the order at all.

Having done Henley last weekend im not surprised to see it on a par with Coeur d'Alene which was windy and quite tough when I did it last year (but not as windy as Lanza this year) 

Im still struggling to definitively argue whether Wales or Lanza are harder, ive had tough times and conditions at both.  The wind at Lanza this year made it more difficult than I remember it in 2007.

Blisters    pirate
12/09/2013 at 23:43

I would also think that people would view a sea swim as lovely, if it was balmy and flat. Yet the same bit of sea on a different day could have a 2 metre swell and a choppy splashy wind.

Both options can be found at Tenby, but I've only ever swum in the millpond version.

Iron Pingu    pirate
13/09/2013 at 09:33
seren nos wrote (see)

That makes you a top nutter Pingu.


Takes one to know one


Tbh, I'm more with Barly on the Lanza Wales debate, they're both hard in different ways.   I think what swayed me to say Wales was the harder course was because you get a 'free' 20 miles on the Lanza bike course where you're going down hill and then have a massive tail wind.  Wales, you never get a break.

Still as Mousey did them so close together she's probably better placed to judge then.  Wales was my first so it was always going to seem tough.

seren nos    pirate
13/09/2013 at 10:04

they have chopped the hard bit out of the wales run after you did it Pingu.  we no longer need to run up to the monument......and of course they don't provide a hurricane every year..hence you will alway be able to say you did Wales on the hard year


Iron Pingu    pirate
13/09/2013 at 10:13

It's a shame they don't put the hurricane in any more, it was such fun that first year

WildWill    pirate
13/09/2013 at 10:24

Switzerland is quite far down the list .... but it had a 25% DNF this year ... so a very subjective list I thinks

seren nos    pirate
13/09/2013 at 10:26

looking at the resulswt Will switzerland got a plus 11 the year we did in .this year it got a minus 10.00

that shows a hell of a difference in the conditions on the day

flyaway    pirate
13/09/2013 at 12:43

As far as I can make out, this list is also generated based on the Pro results? Which doesnt really work that well for races like Wales, when arguably the best in the world will not be there, because of Kona, so all performances will be "weaker" when ranked against the rest of the year, leading to a slightly inflated view of its "difficulty".

Thats not to say I dont think Wales is tough, I'm just slagging off the method of arriving at this conclusion.

seren nos    pirate
13/09/2013 at 13:17

seems to me that they are rating pros againgst their times on other courses.......so can't take account of mechanicals etc......

but then it says they are tweaking their methods and are open to suggestions.

as agreed there is no direct way to compare any of them but at least it give sit a far stab

13/09/2013 at 14:38
flyaway wrote (see)

As far as I can make out, this list is also generated based on the Pro results? Which doesnt really work that well for races like Wales, when arguably the best in the world will not be there.

No "arguably" about it, Flyaway. Isn't Scott Neyedli a part-time, semi-pro nowdays?

And agreed with you, Pingu. There's not any specific hills of note in Tenby, are there? That's not the challenge, There's just no break from the unremitting, miserable, grimmness of the thing.

seren nos    pirate
13/09/2013 at 14:44

mind wiseman seems very steep the second time around....lost of people walking it the first time as well........

but no mountains in pembrokeshire at all........never go more than a mile or so uphill before you get a down.......I would fancy Lanza if it wasn't so hot out there

13/09/2013 at 14:44

Depends on your definition of a hill STIL, Wisemans bridge ticked that box for me and Saundersfoot wasn't too bad either but where I come from anything is hill.

seren nos    pirate
13/09/2013 at 14:52

wiseman is only 16%.....not like the 20 and 25% that you can get.....but then when it comes at 108 miles into a race and go on a bit then it is more of a mountain than a molehill

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