We rate every event on our website by difficulty from 1 to 10. But what does this number actually say and how does it come about?
The main factor of the difficulty level is the profile of the bike course. Or to be more precise the elevation gain of the bike course in relation to its distance. That means that the difficulty level is always relative to the distance. So a sprint distance race with a very hilly bike course will have a much higher difficulty level than a long distance race with a flat bike course. This main part of the Difficulty level is calculated with a top secret formula 😉
A second and much smaller factor is the swim difficulty that we rate manually. We rate the swim difficulty higher if the swim is in the open sea, with usually higher waves, with current, in very cold waters or with other factors that make the swim more challenging.
However, for quite obvious reasons we cannot consider one of the most important factors regarding the difficulty of a race: the weather. Even a race with the lowest difficulty level can be a real beast under bad weather conditions. Let´s take the Austria Triathlon Podersdorf for example. The swim is in a flat lake followed by an absolutely flat bike course. But there can be heavy winds, creating high waves in the lake an making the bike course through the widely unprotected flatlands of the Seewinkel pretty challenging. I´ve seen this event happening under cold weather conditions with rain and heavy winds as well as in boiling hot temperature and everything in between.
So always bear in mind that also an event with a low Difficulty Level can be reasonably tough under bad weather conditions.