Time of year: June
Value for money: 4
Crowd support: 2
PB potential: 3
Course: 3-lap lake swim, undulating 4-lap bike course and 4-lap run course
Competitors: Approximately 200
Locality: Otrokovice is a medium size town in Moravia in the Czech Republic. It is close to the home of the Bata factory in Zlin, and there are a number of attractions in Zlin, such as the Bata shoe museum and zoo. Otrokovice itself is not a particularly pretty town but the lake and the surrounding area are quite pretty and there are plenty of places to stay very close to the race start.
Getting there: The best way to get to Otrokovice if you’re travelling from outside abroad is to fly to Prague or Brno and then take a bus or train. From Europe it is well connected by train and road.
My experience (2013): It was nice to return to this race, and the weather was good. On Friday there were a lot of people at the lake and it turned out the water was 27 degrees! No wetsuits then! The race itself was very nice, but the bike felt difficult due to the crosswind and times were slower than the last couple of years. My bike time was also slower than I hoped and the final lap was very hard (maybe I pushed too hard on the first lap?) but after getting off the bike I managed to run a decent marathon (3h24) and finished 19th overall. A very decent day out, made better knowing that my family were happy at the venue and my son (who is only 2 years old!) was also able to join in a little race 🙂
My experience (2011): This was to be my first Ironman race after missing Challenge Roth the previous year due to injury so I was very excited and nervous. Our hotel was less than 400m from the start line and both my wife and my parents had come to support me.
I took it very easy on the bike as I wasn’t sure how hard I should work from the start and maybe I was a bit too conservative, keeping my heart rate at around 125bpm. After the bike I managed to run a 3h20 marathon which surprised me but the race didn’t really seem that hard and I enjoyed every minute of it (except towards the end of the bike leg when my legs were feeling very tired and I was happy to get off). Slovakman is 6 weeks, I will push a bit harder there.
From a supporters point of view, my family enjoyed watching the race and found that the multi-lap courses were much more spectator friendly than some of the bigger races. The only negative here is that the bike and run courses use the same piece of road and I felt it was a bit dangerous, especially later in the day when there were more spectators and athletes were finishing the bike and starting to run. Every year the race gets a bit bigger and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an accident there one day.