Can you please tell me, why someone would do an IRONMAN? Why would you run a marathon, after you already swam 3,8 km in the ocean and cycled 180km without using the slipstream of someone in front of you? I cannot tell you the answer, because I never did this. But my friend Moritz Bleymehl just started this adventure roughly 2 years ago. But first things first.

When I was a teenager I competed in a lot of road bike races. Therefore I travelled a lot through Germany. Also to the south-west where I’ve met Moritz. We were both an on a similar level and raced hard to win against the other. But like it is mostly in cycling, we also became friends aside the race. I just searched my hard drive and found some great old pictures of us racing. You’re more than welcome to laugh your ass off!

In 2004 he kicked my ass in a point race in Homburg. He won and I finished on place 3.

Two years later in Kirchheim-Bolanden he got away with a group of four riders. My teammate Alex Schmitt and me closed the gap, but none of us won. I ended up on place three, Moritz on place four and Alex on place six.

However, this story of us racing against each other ended roughly in the age of 19-20, when we both stopped competing in cycling races and focused on studying and working.

I hate to say this, but facebook connects people. I discovered that Moritz finished second in his age group at the Ironman Mallorca and trains hard to compete at the IRONMAN World Championship this October on Hawaii. So we met a few weeks ago in Frankfurt to go on a ride and talk about this crazy IRONMAN idea.

Moritz told me that the idea to do a triathlon was born during a night with beer and friends. Exactly how it should be started! Beside beeing a med student he started to train all the disciplines of a triathlon. Beeing a good cyclists isn’t enough to get through this long distance competition. Moritz joined a swimming club to learn the right technique. He said: „In the beginning they beat the crap out of me, but after a while I became faster and could keep up with them.“ With all this training he signed up for the IRONMAN Mallorca 2015 and out of nothing he finished second in his age group. Believe it or not, with this result he qualified for the world championship on Hawaii in 2016.

But just because you qualified for the world championship doesn’t mean that you’re a professional traithlet. Actually he is still a med student. So he decided to take a break with a holiday semester to train one year as best as he can for Hawaii. Without a manager he contacted a few companies and found five sponsors, who are willing to support him with their products and a bit of money to make it to Hawaii.

But how is a triathlon in comparission to what we both did in the past?

In a cycling race you need to follow your competitors or you need to loose them. You can attack, get in the slipstream, go to your limits for a while. Things which don’t work like this in a triathlon. Moritz told me that it’s a weird feeling. Never beeing at your limits. Always keep your power at a constant level, which lasts for more than 10 hours. In a cycling race you get to your maximum, heart rate over 200, taste the puke in your mouth. He said: „In the marathon I just get tired. I feel empty. I need to convince my body not to lay down and sleep. That’s the fight with myself.“

Right now I’m doing 100% the opposite thing. Fixed gear racing. Short races, maybe 30km in 45minutes. Full gas, sprinting after each corner, nearly all the time at your maximum level. To give Moritz a feeling of what I am doing, we swoped bikes for a bit. To be fair, my bike is a bit too small for him.

But speaking about the bike. Right now Moritz is riding a space shuttle. Of course this machine is carbon fibre and has electronic shifters. Having an extra tank for drinks at the handle bar is unbelievable for a cyclists like me. He is an amateur, but his bike is on a pro level. „That’s totally norml for people, who start at an Ironman. They all invest more money in their material than an amateur cyclists would do.“Well, in a cycling race you also might crash more often and damage your material, because you ride in groups.

Right now Moritz seams pretty happy to get this chance. Racing on top level. Competing at the IRONMAN world championship on Hawaii. But what’s next? Right now he is just an amateur, who paused his med studies for a year. After that he probably gets back to University to finish this other challenge of life.  Or is there a chance to become a pro triathlet?

Whatever will happen in the future. Moritz, I wish you all the best for the world championship! Stay focused, think about how awesome it is to be there and kick some asses!!!

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