IRONMAN Maastricht

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

by Luis Alvarez

Maastricht is an ancient city, with a very interesting history, culture and relevance, in fact, the Treaty on European Union was signed here in 1992 to integrate Europe and create the single European currency, the “Euro”.

The Treaty was signed at the Government Office of Limburg, located at the heart of Maas River Island, it is important to mention it, because during the IRONMAN we did swim around this island and under St. Servatius Bridge.

After this cultural brief, let’s begin with the logistics:

The closest international airport is Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, it is a huge international hub, in my  case, there is a direct flight from México to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is an incredible multi-cultural city and a great and perfect excuse to stay and spend the weekend prior to, and after, the IRONMAN. The easiest way to arrive to Maastrich is to rent a car, it is just 110 miles from Amsterdam, you also can go on public transportation.

There are a lot of small hotels and bed & breakfasts located just two minutes walking from the transition area and finish line, this was one of the things that I liked the most, not like other IRONMAN where I have been participating lately.

Once you are in this zone in Maastrich, it is a disadvantage to bring a car, there are just a few parking lots and they are expensive.

Now the Good

As I already mentioned, restaurants, carbo dinner and all activities are close to each other, by the way, the finish line was just in front of my hotel.

Tip 1:  Hotel De La Bourse - Highly recommended, small, not very new but clean with a very good cuisine and drinks,  it is a perfect place to seat outside and enjoy day and night life. 

The swim was spectacular and different experience to swim around the government building where the TEU was signed and passed under St. Servatius Bridge across the Maas River, there were a lot of spectators at this location.

Another thing you will really enjoy is that a large portion of the swim is “downhill" with the current of the river. 

The bike, during the route, we passed through several picturesque villages.  I think with a larger spectators will be epic.

The run leg was very friendly with three loops, there were a lot of spectators cheering us when we passed through downtown.  The finish line situated in the middle of the main square (Platz) was “SPECTACULAR” in my point of view, this was the icing on the cake.

In Europe, it is not very common to have special needs bags neither during the run nor the bike course. Lucky for me, on this occasion they were very well organized for this, race morning they pack special needs in a bag with the number and they put in a truck, I didn’t think it could work, however, it worked perfectly. 

The Bad 

The only thing I didn’t like during the bike route is that, even we passed this beautiful picturesque villages, the streets were cobbled, therefore, in some portions we had to ride on the sidewalk, where  just one bike could pass through.

Tip 2:  Secure everything on your bike, because your things can be loosed with the vibration. 

Even though the Netherlands is the only country in the world located under sea level and is completely flat, I admired  the organizers because they found the way to take us a circle through three very challenging hills (Tip 3:  This is the perfect moment to take your dose of PerfectAmino), one of them up to 12 degrees tilt. I think Maastricht with a large number of viewers, could be as epic as Solar Hill in Roth.

Personally, I didn’t like the isotonic drink they gave us during the course. I am a huge fan of Gatorade, this is what works for me!   It is perfect for me to take my PerfectAmino with.

IM Maastricht, was announced very late this year, that is why, we were just few participants, less than 700.

The Ugly

I really can’t say anything ugly about IM Maastricht.

I highly recommend it.