Ironman journey: The Ironstar Indoor Triathlon has all you need under one roof

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Sport360°’s Chris Bailey has signed up for the challenge of his life in November – an Ironman. Follow his adventure as he prepares his body for a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and a marathon to finish with the help of I Love Supersport Dubai … check out part 1, part 2, part 3part 4, part 5 and part 6 here if you haven’t already.

If Ironman Arizona is my baby, then I’m getting an early introduction to fatherhood.

The baby’s screaming – that’s my inner self urging the physical vessel to get up and train. Then there’s the need for several feeds a day for a growing body and trying (in vain) not to indulge those cravings with sugary treats. The monthly bills have sky-rocketed and, believe me, the laundry list is never-ending thanks to reeking piles of gym clothes.

Even still – though it defies all logic – the love burns strong.

Three months remain before that little rascal comes of age in the US and it seems to have come around so quickly. Having progressed from vaguely ignorant to hyper-aware of the distance involved, I’m beginning to realise it’s far more of a mental challenge. No matter the amount of hours ticked off on treadmills and the like, it’s going to hurt. A lot. And I’ve just got to deal with it.

Last week it was time for a tiny sampler at the Ironstar Indoor Triathlon, situated at the Max & Aegle fitness club in Meydan. It was the first of two summer triathlons taking place at the gym and while it meant we all escaped the sun, we certainly brought the heat inside.

Tri2 (1)

The concept is simple. You swim lengths for 10 minutes in a pristine 25m pool before hopping on to a stationary bike and pounding the pedals for 30 minutes. That’s polished off by a 20 minute run, at the end of which all the metres and kilometres you’ve racked up are added together. Whoever has gone farthest, wins.

It’s intense. It’s brutal. The sweat turns the gym floor into a lake. Yet it is incredibly satisfying to expend as much energy as possible in such a short space of time, as opposed to the plod-fest that training for an Ironman can feel like at times.

Apart from a snafu on the bike, where my thunder thighs somehow broke the resistance knob and locked it onto a level that even Chris Froome would struggle turning, it was a blast.

It’s awesome receiving support during a traditional triathlon but here, with the organisers, volunteers and assembled well-wishers crowding around the apparatus and roaring you on, it adds more than a few peps to those steps.

I finished 15th out of 38 overall, with the capacity to have leapfrogged a few spots if not for the malfunction. Among a field in which some notoriously good TriDubai athletes came out to play, there will be no complaining from me.


So about those increasing bills … coach Dmitriy twisted my arm – it really didn’t need rotating much – and sourced a second-hand Colnago K-Zero for me to purchase. With a little/a lot of persuasion administered on the other half, I’ve got my very own superbike.

There are a few tiny things I need to get my head around first. Finding training wheels so I don’t burn out the bleeding-edge wheels it came with, for one, while also getting used to the shockingly high seat position that doubles me over onto the shockingly low aerobars.

Practice better make perfect – I quite literally cannot afford another crash.

Fancy getting your first taste of triathlon? I Love Supersport Dubai are running this year’s second IRONSTAR Indoor Triathlon Dubai at Max & Aegle fitness centre, Meydan, on September 14 involving a 10 minute swim, 30 minute bike and 20 minute run. Sign up at – hurry, places are going fast!


Dmitriy Firsov – ILSS coach

Chris is now in his last loading stage, which will take him approximately three months with three weeks of tapering straight after. Understanding where he in the training process, we’ve finished one week of recovery and started the full endurance loading in order to make sure he will be ready by race day.

Loading is supposed to be done regularly – but based on what you’ve done in the previous week. Consequently it’s difficult to say how much training is left to do, but through experience working with other athletes, I can say now that we are on an endurance loading block in order to make sure that Chris will complete the distance in the time frame that we planned.

One of the key points is technical support. That’s why we ordered a new bike and why I wanted to make sure that by the time Chris comes to the Ironman distance, nothing will let him down. It’s lighter, more stiff and with together with the wheel upgrades that Chris has made on the bike, he will be faster – though at the end of the day that mainly depends on the legs!

With the Ironstar Indoor Triathlon that Chris was participating in, you don’t need much to compete – all you need is a tri-suit and running shoes, so beginners can try it without putting so much money into it. It’s a chance for beginners to try a triathlon out for the first time in a controlled environment with little cost. Also, this event can be used for more serious amateurs or experienced athletes to test themselves during the loading period; how it’s going, what can be improved, so on and so forth.

As it’s done indoors, the loading you receive during the event is harder as it’s the environment surrounding you is not changing – you see your competitors side-by-side in the pool, on the stationary bike and treadmill. It’s a constant pinch to the body, seeing everyone around you putting in their maximum effort and pushes you to do more!

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