Cruisin' to Cozumel
This weekend's race in Cozumel, Mexico includes a truly international field, with Ironman champions from around the world vying for the title on the flat, fast course. More than 2,000 athletes will be travelling to the beautiful resort area for Sunday's race.
Surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, Cozumel is located 16 kilometers offshore of the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo. Boasting the second largest barrier reef in the world, Cozumel has established an international reputation as one of the premier diving destinations in the western hemisphere. Thousands of divers and snorkelers visit the Island annually to experience the 200 feet of visibility and view countless species of fish, sponges, anemones and coral.
The Ironman course here in Cozumel is pancake-flat, however, competitors would be mistaken to assume that it is fast. What the course lacks in elevation gains is made up by the heat, humidity and howling and pounding winds. The winds on the bike can batter even elite athlete's speed and sprit; just ask any of the professionals who raced here last year.
The two-transition course in Cozumel treats competitors to a single looped swim within the protected waters of the Reefs of Cozumel National Park located in Chankanaab Park Beach. Athletes will have to deal with current and surge while they swim water that is teeming with tropical fish.
The 180-kilometer, three-lap bike takes competitors along the coastline of beaches and resorts and through the town of San Miguel de Cozumel.
The run consists of three laps of 14 kilometers, lined with local supporters with bands playing traditional Mexican music that creates a festival atmosphere.
The finish line is at the city hall square in San Miguel de Cozumel, where local residents provide support to all finishers like they were seasoned veterans of Ironman spectating.
Defending women's champion Yvonne Van Vlerken is back again for Sunday's race, but she'll have her work cut out for her if she is to defend her title considering the competitive women's field set to compete this weekend.
The men's race includes a number of Ironman champions, so we should be in for an exciting day of racing in both the men's and women's races.