Swissman Mountain Course

I am doing Swissman in Switzerland in June and am looking for some specific mountain courses to simulate all the climbing and descending I will be doing. I am currently doing the Full distance plan but looking for more climbing racing. Maybe I should create a new course?

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Where do you want to train it? I cycle there all the time :stuck_out_tongue:

Some background: I know one of the initiators of the Swissman and used to help out during the event. Twice I was at the station where people switch from cycling to running.

I am not an ultra endurance/extreme triathlon athlete myself, but spend quite some time of the year in the mountains (by foot, on road and gravel bike).

Was your question aimed at the training only or also at the environmental factors (temperature changes etc.)?

thanks for the reply! I live in Chicago and it is flat…I have been doing trainer road workouts just wondering if there are any specific TR workouts catered to a mountain race such as the Alps. AND any other tips/advice for the race would be helpful.

I need to check the route at home. But maybe I am not expert enough to say things about the training.

Other tips:

  • The weather is unpredictable. It may be warm or hot down in the flats, it is usually cold in the mountains. There is often rain, wind and once there was even hail. Some cyclists broke mentally down that day and cound start the next stage. Forecast the day before is often ok, but weather may turn quite fast in the heights.
  • GPS is not always accurate in the mountains. It may be off by 100m. I’d check the main points on the route. Had cyclist taking the highway, because they got lost. :slight_smile:
  • If you want to refill water on the way: There are a lot of wells in Switzerland and nearly each well is marked on the official maps.
  • Are you ok with big height changes? (Pressure in the ears etc., also cold descends) Some people take some time to adjust to height changes.

I‘ll add more if other things comes to mind.

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quite the event you’re planning there, nice. some things to consider:

  • the run up to Grosse Scheidegg is beautiful. If you plan on travelling in advance I suggest you stay in either Thun, Interlaken or Brienz and make this climb with your bike to get acclimatized a couple of days prior to your event. the route from Meiringen to Grosse Scheidegg is closed to cars and it’s really beautiful. you can descend into Grindelwald and back to Interlaken.

  • there are trains everywhere. you can bring your bike but you have to make a reservation during summer months for your bike. The bike costs a half fare ticket or if you bring a bike bag where you take off the front wheel it is considered “baggage” and it’s free. you can buy tickets for the train, busses, trams and ships and reserve space for the bike in the SBB travel app. Daypass for a bike costs 14 CHF (15.4 USD)

  • weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, especially on Gotthardpass. Furkapass is at 2400m above sea level. So that’s about 8000 feet. weather can change quickly and it can get quite cold up there. couple years ago there were still 4m high walls of snow up on top and despite being mid of july it was quite cold.

  • the last descent into the ticino is on cobbles. it’s not steep and usually there is not much traffic because of the tunnel or the new mountain pass next to it.

  • Grimselpass and Furkapass will probably be full of cars and motos

  • there is plenty of drinking water everywhere. I still think fueling this day will be quite the challenge. On gran fondo type events there are usually not many places to fuel up on the ascents of the passes due to heavy traffic.

  • Ticino is beautiful and especially Ascona, where you’ll start the swim is a nice little village. Make sure to visit the Brisago island

  • training: do lots of sweet spot long intervals. These climbs are no joke. They are long and high up. The scenery is beautiful so at least it will be worth it

good luck!

On the left the trail you‘ll probably run up and right the road to Grosse Scheidegg. Can recommend this climb!


great tips! thank you

Something else to consider. There are half fare passes for tourists. I suggest you travel by public transport as the infrastructure is excellent but a bit expensive. Half fare pass is basically a 50% off of public transportation. Well worth it if you plan to visit multiple places

I just realized I‘m stupid. Obviously you’ll start in Ascona with the swim so you‘ll want to stay in this region. I‘d suggest you to fly in to Milano (IT) and take the train towards Locarno (CH). Tenero is right next to it and kind of a sports town. You’ll find plenty of accommodation there. If you can, visit the Brisago Island eat a burger at the restaurant there (make reservations) and visit Valle Verzasca (maybe by bike as an opener) and enjoy your stay in Switzerland

we found a great airbnb in Grindelwald for the family.

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Take the family to ticino first and then go to grindelwald if you can. Or take them with you on the day of your race and send them off to the brisago island and for a gelato in ascona afterwards while you suffer on the cobbles of passo del san gottardo :sweat_smile:



I live in Virginia beach VA. Super flat here. I did Swissman last year. Hopefully you have worked on your downhill skills. The 8-9 mile cobblestone climb took more out of me than I thought it would.
Always have a windshell for the descents.
Familiarize yourself with the earlier section of the bike course if possible (driving it). Easy to miss the Swissman bike course signs riding into the sun. Many people have trouble keeping up their athlete and following the diections.
Most importantly, pace yourself. My legs were toast after the bike and that section from Interlaken to Grindelwald just about finished me off. The last 5 miles ended up being a hike for me

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thanks for this feedback. Did you do mostly sweet spot training on TR to get ready? And what gear did you bring on the bike? I assume my legs will be toast after the bike and that I will be walking some of the run

Super good info on this thread! :muscle:t2: Stoked you’re going to Swissman!

I think sticking to the Low-Volume Full Distance Triathlon plan for your Swissman Event in Switzerland is definitely the right way to go. You’ve already made some great progress, so it’s best to keep following the plan and see it through to the end.

The Full Distance Triathlon plan will have you training the right energy systems that really matter so that you’re able to take on the mountains! So don’t worry, you’re on the right track. :slight_smile:

Here are a few tips to help you get ready for race day:

  1. Keep it Consistent. Sticking to the low-volume plan should make it easier to fit training into your schedule and stay on track.
  2. Work on your Weaknesses. If there are areas of the race that make you nervous or where you don’t feel as confident, try focusing your training efforts there.
  3. Plan Ahead. Like @Norseman2014 mentions! Since you’re traveling a long way for the event, make sure to plan everything out in advance so you don’t get any last-minute surprises.
  4. Get Some Good Rest. Make sure to get plenty of sleep so your body can recover and stay healthy. It’s important!
  5. Test Things Out. Do a long ride to check your bike fit and nutrition strategy before the event. It’ll give you peace of mind knowing everything’s in order.

Lastly, I want to commend you on taking on such en event! Always make sure to have fun and thank your legs. Happy races always go faster!

If it’s not too late, you may want to consider a day trip or two for a few actual hills. You can get in some 10,000’ days just a couple hours from Chicago. Definitely a different type of climbing than what you’ll see on the Swissman course, but you’d still get in some good elevation gains.

Horribly Hilly 200K 2022 - A bike ride in Village of Blue Mounds, Dane County (

Any good recommendations for cold weather cycling jackets?