TriRadar takes a look at the course of the Immortal middle-distance triathlon ahead of the team’s race on Sunday
The Immortal is back in Lionheart territory, but while that event saw cyclists scrambling up the road to reach the high point of King Alfred’s Tower, the Immortal will force athletes to make the ascent three times on foot during the savage half marathon run.
Long before that though, there’s the swim in Stourhead’s lake itself. Organiser Total Buzz has secured exclusive use of this stunning National Trust estate, which is hosting multi-sport racing for the very first time.
From experience of the Stourhead grounds on our route recces, we can attest to the fact that it is one of the most beautiful triathlon venues in the world, the picturesque lake nestled among lush greenery, colourful blooms and gigantic trees as well as the pillar-fronted temples of Flora and Apollo (the latter currently under refurbishment).
All in all, Stourhead is a magical location for triathlon – the many paths encircling the lake giving perfect viewing spots for spectators – while racers can experience the thrill of being the first athletes to take to the water of this iconic venue.
The lake looks set to be around 15 degrees celcius this Sunday, so if you’ve been putting off entering, book your place now!
The Immortal – The Swim
1.9km swim begins with a mass-start and takes in two circuits of the lake, beginning and ending on a floating pontoon at the water’s edge.
Once out the water, there’s a long, 500m dash up the hill from the lake to transition (footwear optional), which sits near the opulent Stourhead House.
The Immortal – The Bike
Then it’s on to the two-lap, 56-mile (90km) bike course, which winds north from Stourhead for each anti-clockwise loop.
Though the route is generally rolling and fast, it begins on a 6km uphill. It’s little more than a false flat, but being over-eager here could spell danger over the rest of the rolling course and the tough run.
This first, steady climb leads to the crest of Gare Hill and a hair-raising descent – with a very sharp left turn to be wary of – before a peaks and troughs profile undulates around the loop, the only other real test of the legs being a 1.5-mile drag out of Bruton after a swift downhill section into the town.
Towards the end of lap one, competitors continue along the outermost edge of the route (ignoring the lap-two turn back to transition) to test their legs over the whole 8km ascent upon which the estate is located, leading up to Gare Hill again.
By the time they roll into T2 – via the early left turn on lap two – racers will have conquered around 1,100m of climbing.
It looks to be a fast course, but don’t let the thought of a middle distance PB cloud your mind – the run is going to serve up more than its fair share of pain.
The Immortal – The Run
The three-lap half-marathon run course is one of the hardest around – with tougher climbs than that of Ironman 70.3 UK, which is a very hard course in its own right.
After tramping over the field from transition to reach the route, each lap begins with a long hill weaving out of the estate on road and climbing steadily for just under 4km up to King Alfred’s Tower.
Then it’s onto a mixture of soft trail, grass and, depending on rainfall, mud, as the route heads into woodland.
A steep downhill plunges through the trees for 2km before a leg-trouncing 500m climb takes its hold and ramps up to a gradient of around 12 per cent to fill muscles with lactic acid.
A sharp downhill to lake level is followed by another steep incline – though not quite as bad as the first – which drops gradually back to Stourhead House and the start of the next lap.
With over 300m of climbing over the run route, it’s one to hold something back for on the bike, and probably favours an efficient walk up the most severe inclines over lung-busting bring-up-your-gels efforts. Bear in mind that you’ll have to wait until the end of each lap to replenish yourself at the aid station too.
The finish line near the house will be a welcome relief on the final lap, brining an end to this challenging race – after which, we suspect Team Felt Triathlon Plus will be feeling anything but Immortal.
With a unique swim, fast bike and leg-wobbling run, the Immortal certainly looks set to be one of the most exciting additions to this year’s triathlon events calendar.