If you are looking for an exotic destination race, consider Ironman Fortaleza, in Brazil on November 8th. The inaugural race was held last year and it’s now the second full Ironman distance event in the country, the original Ironman Brazil in Florianopolis had its 15th edition this past May.
Fortaleza is in the north east of the country, the region is one of Brazil’s most popular tourism destinations due to its white sand beaches and coconut palm trees, if you are looking for a hot weather race, this won’t disappoint you. Learn more about Fortaleza, what to do there and how to get there in the part two of this destinational race special, for part one lets talk about the course and what makes it so challenge and a rewarding experience.
The one loop swim happens at Iracema beach, the city’s most popular beach and convenient located by the hosting hotel and downtown Fortaleza.
It’s a non-wetsuit swim but relatively fast, in 2014 Balazs Csoke was the first out of the water in 49:49 while Haley Chura led the women’s field in 51:52.
It’s a one wave start and the the organizers expect just over one thousand athletes in 2015.
“A picture paints a thousand words”
At this two lap course, you can expect a wind tunnel in Fortaleza, it’s one of the world’s best destination for Kite surfing and its right during the wind season!
With that in mind, avoid disc wheels or deep rim wheels, this doesn’t necessarily makes the bike course slow, Eneko Llanos rode a 4h27 last year for the best bike split of the day, while Haley Chura had the best female bike split in 4h57.
The course is flat with some gentle rolling hills. You get to experience it all, riding out from the city, then on the coast line and in the “Brazilian outback”, a deserted and hot part inland.
The three loop run will be the most challenging part of the day due to the heat that can go in the high 30’s. With the multi loop run, the athletes should expect to have some local cheering support more often, easing the challenges from the heat, aid stations are provided every 2km.
The run is on the coastline of Iracema beach for 10km out of 14k of each lap, making it for nice views. Fortaleza is also known as the “Brazilian Gold Coast”, the analogy comes from the high rises by the beach front.
In 2014, only one athlete broke the three hour mark and most age groupers struggled to go below four hours, so adjust your expectations and training accordingly
As an early season race, Fortaleza also provides a chance to high performance athletes to have a better chance at qualifying to the world championships, plus it offers 50 slots for age groupers! If it doesn’t work, you can still race another Ironman early in the semester fully fresh, or if you qualify, then recovering for Kona the year after.
Does that sounds interesting? Read article 2 and learn more about Fortaleza, what to do there and how to get there.
you will learn more about the traveling and things to do there.
Getting to Fortaleza
Via São Paulo (Guarulhos – GRU) – Brazil’s airport hub. From Asia, you can fly to the middle east, Europe or South Africa, then get a connecting flight to Sao Paulo. Singapore Airlines also offers a direct flight with a quick stop in Spain.
Via Rio de Janeiro – A second option is flying to Rio de Janeiro, while the airport doesn’t offer as many choices to and out of Brazil, it may fit with your tourism plans if you plan to visit Brazil’s most famous city.
Once in Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, there are multiple daily flights to Fortaleza. The local airlines are: TAM (Oneworld), GOL, Avianca e Azul.
Direct flights to Fortaleza – there are 4 international flights:
TAM flies to/from Miami
TAP flies to/from Lisbon
Condor flies to/from Frankfurt
Avianca flies to/from Bogota
Once you land in Fortaleza, the hotels area is only a quick ride away (approx 20USD).
The best option is the hosting hotel Marina Plaza. That’s where all the action is: race start, transition areas, finish area, expo, registration and awards.
The second best option is staying somewhere around Iracema beach, there are plenty of hotels options of all budgets, and plenty of restaurants and shopping malls. Avoid staying at the Futuro Beach, while a common tourist destination is far from the race site.
What to do in Fortaleza
Beach Park – one of Brazil’s largest aquatic park at Fortaleza’s main beach. A great option for a family holidays.
Morro Branco beach – One of the region’s most famous beach.
Kitesurfing – Jericoacara itself is worth a visit, but November is the beginning of the kitesurfing season and one of the world’s best location for this sport. Kitesurfing schools also available.
Gallery from 2014 race: