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Hi all, I’m going to do my first full Ironman distance at Taitung, Taiwan this April (Challenge  Family).  Just wondering whether anyone has any experience to share for this particular race.  Also what is the road surface like. If it’s not smooth, I’m contemplating to use 25 or even 28

looking forward to hear any helpful tips so I can finish 

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Hi David. No experience of the race but just to say welcome to Transitions, we're glad you're here and hope you stick around :D

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Hey mate welcome aboard. 

I just edited the topic heading for you to hopefully get a few responses. 

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Not this race, but did an Olympic distance in Taitung. Road surface was better than Australia but the killer is the wind. On an out and back course, one direction is going to be tough.

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I did the full there in 2014, and I would do it again if get the chance. It was a good race and well organised. I didn't stay in the HQ hotel, but if it's within your budget that's where the action is pre and post race.

The swim is in what looks like a giant rectangular pool – about 1 km long and about 50 meters across, with a lane line down the middle. The year I did it the water was murky and warm, although people who have been there since have said it was crystal clear – I guess it depends on the day. The course is four laps of the "pool". It was well marked and seemed to be well measured. They said the water temperature was a hair under the max for wetsuits, but I don't think they would have dared running a no wetsuit swim. There was a diverse set of swimming skills on display – some wore lifejackets or swam with noodles. It was nice not to be the slowest guy in the water.

From the website, it looks like they moved the transition area. When I did it, the TA was right next to the "pool". It looks like they moved it a little away where there's more room – probably an improvement. No changing tent in 2014, you did everything at the bike rack like you would at a shorter tri (or some independent IMs).

The bike course looks like it's the same – it's flat to gently rolling with an excellent surface. It's just two out and backs along the coast. Fast and simple. Aid stations were fine. They weren't big into draft busting though, and I did see some packs. It was well marshalled and there was no problem with traffic. I didn't do a recon before the race, but it didn't matter – the route was pretty obvious. I don't recall wind being a particular problem, but it wasn't calm.

The run is completely different now, and that's a good thing. When I did it, the main part of the run was a loop that went through town, with a couple of dodgy (in all respects) road crossings. Now, it looks like they're maximising the use of park trails. I'm not sure about the long out and back – it might be on a road, but if it's the road I'm thinking of, there's less traffic and it's more controllable. It looks like it's been significantly improved. Aid stations were fine on the run too – all as advertised, but if you're planning ahead you should pay attention to what they say about what's where. Not every aid station was stocked the same. There were a couple of places where the course wasn't well marked and I was uncertain about where to go, but those segments aren't on the course anymore. I'd suggest doing a recon of the run course ahead of time. It might not be obvious where it goes until the day, but at least you'll be familiar with the area.

The finishing area was well laid out and there was a lot going on. But it was all temporary for race day, so you won't see it until the end. Other days, everything was at the hotel, including a pretty decent expo. If you like basic Chinese food, you'll like the post race refreshments, otherwise make other plans. There's the usual western fast food outlets – pre-race I ate a lot at McDonalds, and saved the culinary exploration for afterwards. The only odd thing about the finish was the massage. It wasn't really a massage, it was some guy who was demoing some kind of super duper wet wool wrap that was supposed cure whatever ails you. You can get a really good massage in Taiwan if you go to one of the blind masseuses – it's a tradition there and the guy I had gave me one of the best workovers I've ever had. They weren't at the finish, unfortunately. BTW, you will see a lot of other "massage" places around town – you can work that out for yourself :-).

I took a taxi from the finish line back to the TA to pick up my bike, and then went to my motel. I had the names of places I wanted to go written down in Chinese, but explaining what I wanted to do took some effort. If I did it again, I would have asked someone at the motel, where they spoke reasonably good English, to write down complete instructions. Do not expect taxi drivers to speak any English at all. They're very helpful once they figure out what you want, though.

PM me if you have any questions. Good luck!

Edited by steve
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Wow, Taitung? Never would have believed they could run one there. Been there a few times as there is quite good surf in the area and hot springs up the hills in the hinterland. 

As Steve says English can be a bit of a problem in the regional areas of Taiwan but young people usually speak some as they all learn it in school but unless they move to the city and use it, it's not that good. 

Generally the roads in Taiwan are pretty good, again until you get into the remote areas and mountain tops. I can't add much having never done the race, or even seen it. I can tell you the food and the beer are good!

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Ditto on the beer!

One hack worth trying with someone who learned English at one point, but hasn't used it much is to write it down. Students can spend years learning to read English, but almost no time practicing speaking it.

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