You have waited long enough so let’s get this striaght:
I haven’t heard the magical words “Stefan Kleinekoort, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”
This was because of one reason: I was screaming to loud BECAUSE I JUST FINISHED AN IRONMAN!
Yes you read that right, this stubborn, 19 year old with no endurance experience nor coach, who nobody with any endurance experience whatsoever believed in at the beginning of this year, he finished IRONMAN Frankfurt 2014.
They say ”Anything is Possible” and you can be damn sure that’s the truth.
Right now, let me take you through the special moments of the days leading up to the race, It was amazing!
(This are going to be multiple blog posts because 1 blog post of 3,000 words is too long to read in my opinion. Ooh and because I’m still waiting for the finisher pictures to arrive and a blog is not complete without good picture material 🙂 )
The 3 days before Ironman
Thursday: Has anyone ever mentioned that packing properly for an Ironman is a logistical miracle? Like, seriously, I had 4 fully packed bags, either marked ”(the) Rest” ”Bike” “Swim” “Run” and then I had one other bag that contained all my clothes and ofcourse I still had my bike. In general I think there where 50+ items that needed to come with me and where vital to the race. Vital? yes, when you have to run a marathon and you forget your tiny stick of anti-body chafe, you’re going to die of pain on the course, vital indeed.
Friday: Arriving in Frankfurt was amazing, finally it was going to be my time, this was the city which I had waited for so long.
We went from the hotel straight to the city center, where the plan was to register for the race and get to the briefing. In Frankfurt I had 2 special moments:
Special moment #1: I found congeners, there where people with Ironman tattoos, compression sock in all colours of the rainbow (preferably neon) and people who wore aero helmets on their $10,000 dollar bikes, can you imagine how I felt? I couldn’t believe there where other people who also trained for this race! I felt like a baby elephant who sees other elephants for the first time in his life. it was magical. Ooh yeah, and a bit intimidating, there bikes were shinier then mine.
Special moment #2: One of the greatest moment I had: The briefing. At the beginning of the briefing the guy with the microfon asked a few questions:
– ”For who is this his/her first time racing Frankfurt?”: 50% of the people raised their hand
– “For who is this his/her first time Ironman?“: 30% raised their hand
– “For who is this his/her first Triathlon?“: Before he finished the question I produced a loud sound sounding something like “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWW“, everybody looked at me, they started clapping, I stood up, started bowing and started thanking everybody for clapping!
This was followed by the microfon guy saying “You guys are crazy!“, there was only one other person of who this was his first triathlon. I seized the moment and I loved it.
Saturday: We got up early to deliver all the bags + the bike to the Langener Waldsee.
Arriving at the drop of point, which was also Transition 1, I was stunned, there where literally 3000 shiny bikes waiting to be driven on the Ironman course, and here I was, feeling like a newbie, just having fun, I love being the strange one in such a group. While I was positioning my bike and pumping up my tires with a small, easy to pack, pump, a guy came up to me and asked me this question:
“What tire pressure are you using?”
I was stunned, he could have asked me anything about my bike, I knew all the parts, but my tire pressure? How should I know? Is that important to know? Should I know? Was I an idiot for not knowing?
My reply ended up somewhere between ”Uuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhh……yeah…..” and “Tire pressure? No tire pressure.” My English speaking capabilities also quickly deteriorated at this point.
The guy left by looking at me like “Are you serious?!” and saying “Ooh, no, just curious”.
Ironman 101 tip: Later I found out that 6 bar would have been a perfectly acceptable answer, so, if anyone ever asks you the question, say “6 bar”.
Special moment #3: After I had handed in my transition bags and my bike, me and my father took a look at the Langener Waldsee, big suprise: the water was blue! a whole lot scarier then the brown water we have in the Netherlands. When we left a man walked up to me and said: “This is your first triathlon right?” We got into a conversation and it turned out he had remembered me from the day before at the briefing in which he recalled my performance as ”quite spectacular“, he wished me good luck and told me to enjoy my first race. I started to love this sport more and more.
We quickly got back to the hotel where the rest of the family arrive to see me shine the next day.
Nervous? not really.
Got to bed at 9 and set my alarm clock at 4 a.m. the next day, It was finally going to happen!