Ironman Frankfurt Race report – Craig Toh

Hello peeps, I know this is months overdue and I had it done in July but I blame Ian Ang for not posting it for me hahahaha.

My Frankfurt Ironman experience

Race Day:

Light breakfast of yogurt, muesli and half a mug of coffee. Was happy to empty my tummy twice before packing up my race nutrition of snicker bars and energy chews into my backpack before heading to T1 (Langener Waldsee) with Ian, Jaime and Andrew.

Set up my bike, pumped up the tyres and slipped into my wetsuit and gave the street bag to the volunteers to load up the truck. Took a couple of selfies with the gang, a honey stinger gel before wading into the cool water for some warm up.

Was feeling relaxed which was good. Started to swim towards the start line 5 mins before gun off. Had a group hug with Andrew and Ian in the water and then the gun went off. Expected the clump in the first few hundred meters of the swim so just kept on trying to find a space and keep the buoy in sight. I found it hard to find someone swimming straight to draft so gave up after a while. Got kicked in the forearms (which activated my Garmin to T1 mode) somewhere close to the Australian exit. Overall I was quite happy with my swim shaving off more than 20 mins from my 1st IM in Western Australia.

Heading into T1 was a slope up the sand bank, grabbed my transition bag, slipped off my wetsuit and got into my bike shoes/helmet. Quick stop at the portaloo before unracking my bike with a quick pinch of the tyres just to check.

Heading out of Langener Waldsee I took in liquid nutrition for the first 30mins, before taking in my first snickers bar. Fast forward to The Hell after a left turn into the small town. When the cobblestones first hit me it took me by surprise! I had to push my nutrition bottle back into the cage several times as the bone jarring ride up would’ve easily dislodged anything not secured. The crowd was awesome, cheering on everybody.

I was trying to switch back to the big chainring after clearing The Hell and heard a snap. My front D did not shift and the shifter felt loose. I made a quick stop at the bike support, the mechanic took a look and said that the front shifter is broken and that he cannot fix it. Made a decision to manually set it at the big chainring and continued on my bike, bummed but relieved I still had my rear derailleur to work with. It was quite challenging to grind up the remainder of the course with just the big gear in front especially with the longer climbs. Heard someone singing ‘Everything is awesome! (from the LEGO movie) just before the halfway point of the bike and it was Ian looking strong on the bike, while I was feeling a bit bonked. I followed him for a while before I lost him after 20 mins or so. Heading into Frankfurt Town was a morale booster, I couldn’t wait to get off the bike at that point. I was aiming at completing the bike in 6 hours but took 6:24, a little bummed too but shit happens.

Legs didn’t really fire up during the run which was frustrating, my heart rate was low and chest felt tight. I knew my goal of a sub 12 finish was gone after the 2nd loop of the run so the remaining 2 loops were pretty much for damage control. The crowd along the run route were nice and some very genuine support gave me energy to push on during times when I thought about giving up and walking. Jaime was there cheering us on and yelling splits like ‘Ernest is just behind you!’, nothing spurs you on like some friendly competition! Words of encouragement from fellow competitors helped too, ‘Come on Fusion! (Was wearing Fusion Sports kit) from one. Friends in Germany Patrick Ernst, Maria Morena and Marius was there in the crowd giving us support, I blew them kisses when I passed them during the run, I was feeling the love LOL. It was during the final lap when I felt better and decided to push the last 10km and try to finish strong. I was so happy and relieved upon collecting the 4th band on my arm, never been so happy to see a scrungy. That meant 2.5km remaining and I kept on my pace. Going past the final aid station I zipped up my suit and then entered the finish chute and gave high fives and thumbs up for the amazing crowd. I finished in a time of 12:24 for my 2nd Ironman, cut off a chunk of 2hrs 30mins from the 1st one, PB across 3 disciplines. I was aiming for a sub 12 but considering the bike mech issues and poor run I was still happy with my timing. Next up is Challenge Laguna Phuket November 30th. Lookout for the selfies! 😉



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