2018 Ironman 70.3 Bintan Course Review
The 2018 update to the Ironman 70.3 Bintan Course Review
This year, the Ironman 70.3 Bintan garnered around 1.300 participants. This year, there were changes in the swim, bike and run course, all geared towards in improving the athlete experience. Last year, the orhanizers, Metasport also made some changes, all in ensuring that this race, remains as one of the best event in Asia.
The event has everything to become one of Asia’s best due to the combination of easy access, a challenging but fun course and a great destination for athletes and families.
The journey from any international location to Bintan is very easy and smooth. It can be easily accessed from Singapore International airport. It also takes ten minutes from the airport to the ferry terminal, one hour ferry from Singapore to Bintan. Immigration is fast and smooth and only another ten minutes to most official hotels.
Once in Bintan, the organizers provides shuttle buses every 30 minutes. Shuttles from official resorts spread around the many different beaches to the race site. The journey takes only fifteen minutes from most of the hotels to the race venue, Plaza Lagoi.
See related: Best Images: 2018 Ironman 70.3 Bintan
Get a glimpse of the course with AsiaTRI race recap of the 2017 race:
The swim has warm and calm waters, very straight forward and easy to navigate loop. From the “inverse rectangular L shape” swim course, the 2018 update made it a triangular shape. The organizers said the new course avoids sun glare hitting when the swimmers navigate. It is still a beginner-friendly course as the athletes start from waist deep waters in several different waves. The course is also marked with swim lines and turn-buoys for navigation.
The lack of running into the water, typical from a beach starts also avoids a spike in heart rate that can affect the rest of your race.
Then once out of the water, the run to the end of transition when you are finally on your bike is 400m long. The bike course for the first few kilometers is flat giving you an opportunity to let your heart rate settle from that transition.
The bike course in Bintan could be one of the best in any Asian race. Road quality is near perfect and brand new. It is a one loop course which makes it fun and interesting. The view from the bike is mixed, from ocean front roads to local villages and plantations. Though the course is not 100% closed to vehicles, traffic conditions is very well controlled and safe. New to 2018 is the one lap course is now a counter-clockwise loop, compared to clockwise last year. This means less traffic when doing the turns, and less crossings on intersections. And talking about safety, training on the island the days before the race is very safe and quiet.
For most of the course you will be either going up or down! Rolling hills would be the ideal description of the course, because there aren’t any long or too steep uphill, neither technical downhills. Do expect to be shifting your gears very often. This also makes drafting a small problem in this race as the participants will experience climbs in the 1st 10 kilometers of the course.
One note for high performance athletes is to use a 11 teeth cog. There are some long downhills where you could run out of gears . A 52-36 chainring will be great for the average grouper.
As the race start as early as 6am for the PROS, the weather early on the bike is relatively cool. That can mask the challenges of a warmer weather later in the race. Make sure you stick to your fueling plan and keep the calorie and liquid intake on the bike even though you may feel it’s not that necessary. It will help you later in the day when sun comes out.
The run course is mostly flat with two lops of 10km, mostly around a lake. This can help with pacing as mentally you can aim for a negative split run. It will be easier when trying to increase the effort and pace a little on each lap. You will also be able to check in on your competition with the updated out and back section. 2018 update was the removal of one u-turn section, which the organizers said made the run course a little bit easier for the athletes.
As most races in a tropical island, the weather is likely to be hot. Don’t be surprised with a casual storm or rain. Prior editions of this race, it was overcast and the temperature was in the mid 20’s Celsius early on the bike and raised to a very low 30 Celsius at noon. That combined with very frequent aid stations made this race cooler than other Ironman 70.3 events in the region such as Malaysia, Philippines or Thailand.
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