Login required to started new threads

Login required to post replies

IM 70.3 Cartagena
Quote | Reply
I know this might be a long shot but did anyone race IM 70.3 Cartagena last year?

I am going to this year and was looking for some feedback on the course.

THNX!!


Love the Pain!

Quito-Ecuador
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [mpo_tri] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I did it last year. Here was my post race report (found here ( http://forum.slowtwitch.com/...ce_report)_P6100499/ ):

Here is my report on the race.

1. Travel to Cartagena: Relatively easy to get to from the U.S. I'm not certain there are direct flights into Cartagena from anywhere in the USA. You will likely need to connect in Panama City, Panama or Bogota, Colombia. I used my United frequent flyer miles so I connected in Panama City. Taxis are pretty small there so you might have to do some planning ahead to get a taxi big enough to fit people, luggage, and bike boxes.

2. Hotels: Most of the modern hotels are in the Bocagrande section of Cartagena and about 3 miles from the race venue. So you need to once again factor in logistics about how you will get your bike to transition for bike drop off and how you will get back to your hotel after the race. Cartagena is rather small geographically but there are over 1 million people there. The roads are what I would call barely adequate under normal conditions but were super congested around the convention center area during race weekend. Getting out of there after the race was really difficult.

My #1 suggestion is to stay at one of the boutique hotels in the Old City/Walled City. It's right next to the race venue, and much of the run is within the Walled City. Yes, you will pay more but you won't have to worry about schlepping your bike to and from Bocagrande. I can't understate how much of a pain in the ass that was.

3. Restaurants: There are some really great restaurants around Cartagena. Some of the best coffee in the world if you're a coffee person. Their domestic beers are not good. Stick to European or American imports.

4. Athlete check-in/Bike Drop off/Expo: Athlete check-in and Expo was at the Centro de Convenciones located just south of the Walled City. Once again, you'll need to arrange for a larger taxi if you're not staying within walking distance. Check-in was normal. By normal I mean it still takes entirely too long. We spent an hour getting through the line. You will need to buy a one day pass from the Colombian triathlon sanctioning body.

The expo was a joke. The expo was so crowded they basically weren't allowing people in. I went by there twice and both times I was told it would be a 60-90 minute wait to get in to buy any merchandise. I find most of the IM merchandise to be complete crap so no biggie but I do like to buy a Headsweats visor/hat for my international/destination races.

T1/T2 and bike drop off was in a little plaza to the north of the convention center. It was fenced off and chock full of Colombian national police so it was very safe and secure.

5. Swim: The swim was in a bay right next to the convention center. One loop rectangular course. We were told the water was 86 degrees, so there's zero chance this swim will ever be wetsuit legal. Salt water swim but the water was not super clear since it's in a bay. Maybe a few feet of visibility.

The swim start was delayed by 40 minutes. There was zero communication with the athletes about the delay. We were all standing around wondering what was going on. Rumors I heard were: 1) they had not closed the bay and some boats had come in, and 2) they had not closed down all the roads yet. Maybe Sylvan can chime in.

Other than that the swim was typical.

6. T1: it was a fairly long distance from swim finish to T1. This is not going to be a fast transition.

7. Bike: There were some admin miles getting out of the city and onto the main part of the bike course. The course was basically an out and back up the coastline to the northeast. Roads were actually pretty good for the most part. The worst sections of roads were closer to Cartagena. The scenery along the bike course was pretty nice. The course does go through some poorer coastal areas and there was a huge presence by the Colombian military/police in those areas. It's a little weird seeing a bunch of soldiers carrying assault rifles along a triathlon bike course but it is what it is. That stated, there were a fair amount of locals along the bike course and I thought they were awesome.

There were four aid stations along the 56 miles. More or less about every 12 miles. They were handing out water and Gatorade. Volunteers were great and it ran as smoothly as any race in North America. There was one problem. They weren't using the water or Gatorade sports bottles we're accustomed to here in North America. The water and Gatorade were put in those cheap hard plastic water bottles that are given away for free in swag bags and such. They were hard to squeeze and the spouts were so cheaply made that it required a lot of effort to get fluid out. They really just need to use the same stuff we use in North America.

Mostly flat, with a bit of a climb near the turnaround. Winds were fairly calm.

8. T2: same place as T1. Nothing out of the ordinary.

9: Run: Most of the run is in the Walled City, some of it around the Walled City, some of it was on the Wall. It was a fun run course. Two loops with 10 aid stations per loop, so roughly one every 2/3rds of a mile. A ton of spectators and volunteers. Water, Gatorade, Pepsi (which was not flat or de-fizzed), gels, bananas.

What they didn't have a ton of were bathrooms. There was only one aid station with port-a-potties on the entire run course, and even then it was only three potties. My guess it was around mile 4.5 or 5. I had to go to the bathroom really bad after the bike and kept running by aid stations asking about banos and nobody had a clue. So I just had to piss myself. I understand that it would have been difficult or impossible to put potties along many areas of the run course as a lot was on narrow cobblestone roads but many of the aid stations were in larger areas where there could have been bathrooms.

The course was pretty well marked but it's very confusing if we weren't all following each other. We had no idea about the problems the pros had earlier.

10. Finish Area: Finish line was full of people and they had a few grandstands put in place. Decent food/drink area for athletes after the finish.

11. Post race: It was quite a chore getting back to the hotel. Traffic was horrible. We even had a vehicle arranged to get our bikes back to Bocagrande but it still took about three hours from the time we decided to leave until I was back to my hotel. This is not something you want to do after doing a 70.3 in 100+ degrees.

There was a post race party around the race venue later that night but there was no way most people were going to want to go back towards the race site after spending however long it was getting out of there.

12. Heat and Humidity: This is the giant X Factor with this race. It's extremely warm and humid in Cartagena. Average daily high temps are around 90 degrees and the relative humidity remains above 80 percent at all times. Accuweather had the heat index reaching 110 degrees on race day, and it was often very sunny. That made it absolutely brutal on the run. This is not the race for you if you don't do well in heat and humidity. I live in the Houston, TX area which is one of the hottest and most humid places in the USA and the Cartagena humidity was on another level of nasty. There's also no way anyone from the US, Canada, or Europe is acclimated to this kind of heat index in December. It was rough.

Overall it was an awesome experience and Cartagena is a beautiful place.

My negatives, and it's mostly nitpicky:

1. Transportation concerns with bikes and bike cases. This is mitigated if you stay in the Walled City but most of the hotels people will choose are in Bocagrande so the race organizers should pick one of the hotels as the "host" and have shuttle buses going back and forth from that hotel in Bocagrande to the race venue. Kind of like they did in Panama for the Panama 70.3 (RIP).

2. Delays happen but have some communication with the athletes.

3. Use the sports bottles similar to North America for water and Gatorade on the bike course.

4. More freakin' bathrooms on the run course.

5. It's damn hot and humid.

2018 Races:
INJURED

Favorite Gear: Dimond Bikes | Desoto Sport | Hoka One One
Last edited by: The GMAN: Oct 16, 17 15:04
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [The GMAN] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Great review! Thanks.


Love the Pain!

Quito-Ecuador
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [mpo_tri] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
mpo_tri wrote:
Great review! Thanks.

Thanks. Enjoy the race. I'm registered again this year but found out two weeks ago that I can't go. My wife has a business trip the same week and I'll be on kid duty.

2018 Races:
INJURED

Favorite Gear: Dimond Bikes | Desoto Sport | Hoka One One
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [The GMAN] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Too bad!! Did you use a disk Wheel?


Love the Pain!

Quito-Ecuador
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [mpo_tri] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Hed H3 Plus front and rear.

2018 Races:
INJURED

Favorite Gear: Dimond Bikes | Desoto Sport | Hoka One One
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [mpo_tri] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I did it last year and wish I could do it again. I stayed within the walled city at an awesome little boutique hotel. It was like a 5min walk to the expo and a 2min walk from the finish line. Seemed to be much easier than staying near the beach since I didn't have to cab with my bike once built and/or ride it through a sketchy area. They also helped me ahead of time to arrange a shuttle with a larger (aka a regular sized) car from the airport which made thing ms really easy.

As for the course, the water was absolutely disgusting (you could basically see an oil slick on top of the water before you jumped in). But, I did happen to finish the swim about 2-3 min faster than usual. So, just keep your mouth closed and make sure to wash off well once you get out.

The bike course was awesome IMO. As the pp stated, the roads were in much better condition than expected. And, I really enjoyed riding through some of those shanty towns. All the people from those towns (especially the kids) were cheering like crazy by the side of the road. Those kids were just so damn happy. It was great to see an area that I otherwise never would have seen on a regular trip there. The back portion of the course (near the turn around) was also pretty scenic with some rolling hills.

The run was fun but rough. It was just too damn hot and the walls lining the walled city keep the breeze from getting in. So, be prepared to struggle. That being said, the race support was fantastic. There were a TON of fully supplied aid stations on the course (though no pottys within the walled city so be sure to go before you go in if need be).

I didn't personally have a good race time-wise (the heat really got to me). But, I really enjoyed the course and experience. It was one of my favorite races to date.
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [swimswam1003] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I'm also doing the race and have a question for you and/or G-man . . . I'm arriving Wed and staying in the walled city. How difficult is swimming and biking leading up to the race going to be? Any pointers on places to go? Can you swim at the beach?

Thanks!

Eric

Dimond Bikes
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [ericlambi] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
ericlambi wrote:
I'm also doing the race and have a question for you and/or G-man . . . I'm arriving Wed and staying in the walled city. How difficult is swimming and biking leading up to the race going to be? Any pointers on places to go? Can you swim at the beach?

Thanks!

Eric

You can't swim the swim course prior. It's a harbor with a ton of boat traffic. The Caribbean is across the highway from the walled city but I'm not sure how swimmable or accessible it is from right there. The beaches in Bocagrande were easily accessible, if you don't mind being constantly harassed because you're American/Canadian/European and look like you have money. But Bocagrande is 3 miles from the Walled City, so there's that.

There's no chance I'd ride anywhere around Cartagena proper on a non-race day. No chance. You might be okay on Hwy 90a (the bike course) heading out of town once you were past the airport area, but how are you going to get from the Walled City past the airport? Then you have to factor in that your bike is probably worth more than some of the entire neighborhoods you'd be riding by. I wouldn't risk a bikejacking.

I rode up and down a side street by my hotel for a couple of minutes just to be sure my bike was mechanically sound after I reassembled it after the flight. That was it. I'd suggest spinning on an exercise bike if you want to ride longer than 5 minutes.

2018 Races:
INJURED

Favorite Gear: Dimond Bikes | Desoto Sport | Hoka One One
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [The GMAN] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Uff, ok. Thanks for the response! Guess it will take a little planning to get the pre-race workouts in.

Dimond Bikes
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [ericlambi] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
ericlambi wrote:
Uff, ok. Thanks for the response! Guess it will take a little planning to get the pre-race workouts in.


To clarify... the area from Castillogrande-Bocagrande-Walled City isn't rideable not because it's not nice but due to traffic and lack of any open road where you're not risking getting plowed by a car. It's real busy from Castillogrande to the Walled City. 90a past the airport is the only real open road nearby but it will be difficult to get to and I'm not sure how rideable it actually is from a traffic perspective. We had closed roads on race day. As stated earlier, there's some real poor areas along the bike course. Which was well guarded on race day but you could be asking for trouble venturing out there without armed soldiers nearby.

2018 Races:
INJURED

Favorite Gear: Dimond Bikes | Desoto Sport | Hoka One One
Last edited by: The GMAN: Oct 17, 17 18:46
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [The GMAN] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I'll just bump this thread to say that I really enjoyed/am enjoying both Cartagena and the event. More Americans should make the trip, not too difficult, and definitely worth it. Sounds like the race was little changed from G-man's report. It was insanely hot, today was unfortunately the hottest day we experienced while here (~90F, 70% humidity), but there were probably a dozen well stocked aid stations on the run, a lot of ice, and those fancy bags of water. The run was pretty crowded, especially towards the end when the entire field was on it. Do the race. Just do your heat training first!

BTW, anyone looking to do the race should stay in the walled city if at all possible.

Dimond Bikes
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [ericlambi] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Great race, Eric. I saw the heat index was like 107 at 2pm. Will you have a WC slot with the 3rd place?

2018 Races:
INJURED

Favorite Gear: Dimond Bikes | Desoto Sport | Hoka One One
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [The GMAN] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
The GMAN wrote:
Great race, Eric. I saw the heat index was like 107 at 2pm. Will you have a WC slot with the 3rd place?

Thanks! It was definitely a good result for me. No WC though, with my swimming ability I don't belong at any world championship!

Dimond Bikes
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [ericlambi] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
ericlambi wrote:

BTW, anyone looking to do the race should stay in the walled city if at all possible.





I'm super interested in going down there - it's a pretty easy trip from Vancouver or Seattle it looks like, and inexpensive. What's the reason for staying in the walled city - safety, or just cool factor. That comment could be taken two ways lol.

Thanks!

Brent

DFRU - Detta Family Racing Unit...the kids like it and we all get out and after it...gotta keep the fam involved!
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [dfru] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Logistics. Read my race report above. Unless something drastically changed this year it was a serious clusterfuck getting bikes to and from the race site if you’re staying in Bocagrande where most of the hotels are located. The hotels in the walled city are all boutique hotels and pricier but worth the convenience.

2018 Races:
INJURED

Favorite Gear: Dimond Bikes | Desoto Sport | Hoka One One
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [dfru] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
dfru wrote:
ericlambi wrote:

BTW, anyone looking to do the race should stay in the walled city if at all possible.





I'm super interested in going down there - it's a pretty easy trip from Vancouver or Seattle it looks like, and inexpensive. What's the reason for staying in the walled city - safety, or just cool factor. That comment could be taken two ways lol.

Thanks!

Brent

Hey - sorry I missed your question. So there's the logistic issue as G-man mentioned. My hotel was 3 blocks from transition and expo, and just one block from race finish. So that was extremely awesome. Also, the walled city is pretty cool with a lot of nice restaurants. What it doesn't have is beaches, but I understand the beaches in Cartagena aren't great. We took a boat to the Rosario Islands one day and had a nice day at the beach.

Dimond Bikes
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [ericlambi] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Hi - I'm bumping this thread. Did anyone do this race last weekend? Any race reports to share?

We are considering this for a late season race in 2019. I got the impression from some recent facebook posts that IM 70.3 Cartagena won't be around forever.

We've done IM Puerto Rico 70.3 and even a marathon in Barbados the last couple years. But is the Cartagena run hotter than PR run? I'm good in the heat but my husband struggles on a hot run. That being said, he's super tough and is willing to get through another hot miserable 70.3 run.
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [70Trigirl] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
70Trigirl wrote:
Hi - I'm bumping this thread. Did anyone do this race last weekend? Any race reports to share?

We are considering this for a late season race in 2019. I got the impression from some recent facebook posts that IM 70.3 Cartagena won't be around forever.

We've done IM Puerto Rico 70.3 and even a marathon in Barbados the last couple years. But is the Cartagena run hotter than PR run? I'm good in the heat but my husband struggles on a hot run. That being said, he's super tough and is willing to get through another hot miserable 70.3 run.


I raced Cartagena and I'll relate my experience although I'm not sure I'll be able to give you much insight as far as comparing the heat with other races, also I'm Colombian (although I live in the US) so that might be skewing my impressions of the race. Anyway here are my thoughts:

I loved the race, it was a great opportunity for me to experience Cartagena since I'd never managed to visit until now. If this race was closer to Xmas which is the time of year I usually come to Colombia to visit my family I would likely try to do it quite often. This was my second 70.3 after Coeur D'Alene in June and I bettered my time from that race by 25 minutes (I finished in right about 5:46 so not fast by any means and about ~100 of ~280 in my age group).

The swim is in the ocean on a bay, visibility is pretty low in the water but the course is super simple and I thought it was ok/good. One thing I found strange/annoying is that the swim start was divided by age groups rather than self seeding and my group (M30-34) was last to go which meant I had to be there over an hour and a half before starting, since transition closed at 6 and my wave didn't get going until around 7:30.

The bike course is super flat and fast and the road condition was much better than I expected from my experience with roads in Colombia, a few bumpy spots closer to the city but once you get out on the highway it's pretty nice and the scenery is quite interesting, you're riding next to the ocean but as others have said you ride through some poorer towns/neighborhoods and that makes for a unique experience. You will see tons of kids from these poorer towns out cheering and just being generally curious which I enjoyed. Aid stations stock gatorade and water and this worked out pretty well for me, specially since I would just grab a bottle and squeeze the contents out into my front hydration and then dump it.

I expected the run to be hard because of the heat. I had gone to Kona over thanksgiving to try to get a bit of heat adaptation in and also decided to wear a Desoto skin cooler top and sleeves. It turned out that I was more troubled by a knot in my stomach and tightness in my legs which took a stop at a porta potty and about 4 miles before both issues subsided to the point where I was able to run most of the remaining miles with a few walking spurts including up and down the ramps that lead up onto the wall that surrounds the city in an effort to keep from full cramping. To be honest I didn't experience the heat to be much worse than CDA, that could be because I was focused on other issues but I would say it had a lot to do with the large number of aid stations stocking ice which I stuck into the pockets of my jersey and ice cold water which I would drink a bit of and dump the rest over my head. Miraculously even though my shoes/socks got pretty soaked I had no issues with blistering. Between the aid stations and people cheering there is almost no time at all during the run where you are not being pushed on and helped by spectators which I thought was amazing, also I really enjoyed running through the walled city, it is a pretty unique experience, probably more so for me being Colombian since the architecture reflects quite well that of other towns in Colombia and gives you a sense of it's history.

As far as logistics, I would probably echo what was said before, it will be quite hard to get in or out of the walled city on race day so I would try to find a hotel that allows you to walk to and from the race. This was totally not the case for me as I was staying with a friend that lives as far away from downtown as you can while still being in Cartagena but I made it work. Taxis and cars in general in colombia tend to be super small so unless you're like me and travelling alone you will need to make special accommodations to find cars big enough to fit both bikes and people.

Let me know if you have any more specific questions and good luck with your race planning, I think you won't be disappointed if you decide to go to Cartagena.
Last edited by: DrH: Dec 8, 18 14:28
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [70Trigirl] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I have not raced this one so i can't comment on the course and race itself, however, i see some of the main issues revolve around where to stay. I've been to Cartagena 3 times this year so now i know my way around. My best tip is to get an Airbnb in Manga, which is just across a bridge from Getsemani and the Convention Center. If is very cheap and the places i stayed were very nice. From where i stayed, it was a 10min walk to the convention center, so you would not have to deal with the traffic getting in and out. Manga is safe and is not considered a tourist area, so it should also be a less stressful environment.

I don't particularly like the walled city as it is really just a tourist trap, so i don't recommend staying there.

Hope it helps anyone doing this race next year.
Quote Reply
Re: IM 70.3 Cartagena [70Trigirl] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
70Trigirl wrote:
Hi - I'm bumping this thread. Did anyone do this race last weekend? Any race reports to share?

We are considering this for a late season race in 2019. I got the impression from some recent facebook posts that IM 70.3 Cartagena won't be around forever.

We've done IM Puerto Rico 70.3 and even a marathon in Barbados the last couple years. But is the Cartagena run hotter than PR run? I'm good in the heat but my husband struggles on a hot run. That being said, he's super tough and is willing to get through another hot miserable 70.3 run.

Hey - I've done both. Cartagena is definitely hotter than the PR run, BUT . . . PR has or had that relatively long section in the national park with no water aid stations at all, it also has some decent size hills, no ice at the aid stations and none of those fancy water bags that you can carry and drink water over time. Net-net, I think they mostly wash, Cartagena might even be easier. I'd really like to go back to PR. I think Cartagena was a one and done, but worth it if you find the location interesting and have some time to explore the area. Definitely do the day trip to the Rosarios.

Dimond Bikes
Quote Reply