If you are into triathlon you have heard of Challenge Roth and you might have heard that it is a good race and it is unique. I have heard it to but never on earth expected a weekend that fantastic. And I was just a spectator. This message goes out to every long distance triathlete out there: It is THE bucket list race and everyone who has the chance to race it should race it!
Here is why
The decision of my going to Roth was quite spontaneous. After mastering some logistical challenges I found myself on a plane to Munich from which it’s just a 70 minutes ride to Nürnberg. Roth is a tiny tiny village with not many places to stay. This is the reason why we had an apartment in Nürnberg. We, that is my friend Conny, who was so kind of offering me a bed, and her friends, Timmy (my designated driver – involuntarily), Bugi, Flo and Ann the three athletes we supported this weekend. Beside Bugi and Flo my friend Dan from Dubai felt the need to spend a day doing sports as well.
Saturday – Family and Shopping day
Before they raced on Sunday, my Saturday started with the Challenge Women Run. Thanks to Belinda, who was so kind to assist with a slot. We got there a tiny bit late but still in time to see the famous World Champion Jan Frodeno doing some aerobics on stage to get the thousands of women, with their pink shirts on, warmed up. Emma, his wife stood next to me and told me there is only three things he is good at and aerobics is not one of them. Quite cute, hey:)
After about 30 minutes I was back at the venue, taking my credit card for a cruise along the expo
and finally got myself a new hel
met and bumped into Frodo again while having a Frodissimo coffee. Its a damn good coffee I have to admit
Later that day it was time for a kids race. Perfect organisation. A perfect weekend for an active family.
The day found an end with a dinner outdoors and an early night. Alarm set for 3:45.
Sunday – Race day with a special crowd
After having a quick breakie we left the house at 4:30 with 3 athletes. Roth is unique as T1 and T2 are kilometres apart. We were told that there will be a bit of traffic jam on the way to the swim start which was the case. So better leave early enough. While walking to the start the sun came up on the horizon and the canal where the swim was taking place looked so calm. Already hours before the start there was an unbelievable crowed. Quite safe to say that I have never seen such a high number of spectators at a triathlon race. 6:30 a.m. the pros went off. Our athletes started their Roth journey 30-50 minutes later.
The music, the spectators, the weather the location everything was so unreal. Along the river thousands and thousands of people who supported every one of the thousands of athletes and brought them back to shore and onto the bike. The bike course is 2 laps of 90km. Slowly, slowly Conny, Timmy and me walked along the bike course and cheered for everyone passing us. While the age grouper just started their ride the Pros were already starting their second and last lap. This year Daniela Ryf tried to smash the world record. But in this heat? It was overcast but humid like in Asia.
Our little walk brought us to some villages and it felt like every spectator brought a bike. I have never seen so many bikes apart from maybe Amsterdam. After meeting some other friends we finally got to our destination. We were told that “Solarer Hill” is supposed to be great. The reality is that is was beyond great. Its a hill – just a hill – not a climb. The riders climb the hill up supported by an uncountable number of people along the course and music. There is no barrier and the cyclists have to go up one by one and at the last moment the crowd moves. It sounds scary and unsafe – its not. It must be a breathtaking experience going up this hill. Every single rider came with a big smile on their face. Gave me goosebumps.
The run was not easy either I believe. 2 laps and it felt like lots of people were suffering at 37° celsius. Again I don’t believe there is a meter where you run without someone shouting out your name. After 42km the finish line is not just a finish line. It is a run into a stadium filled with thousands of people. The party goes until midnight and ends with a firework and the Pros back on the finish line welcoming the real stars. The athletes being out there for 15hours! Fantastic! Our athletes Bugi, Flo, Dan and Ann were way faster and did amazing. I could not be prouder and feel so honoured to be part of their experience.
The day after with a queue like on a Macys Xmas sale
When the new iPhone is released you see people sleeping out on the street, in front of the shops to get their hands on one of the popular toys. You would not think that people are camping outside of a registration tent to get one of the early birds slots for Challenge Roth 2018. Well, the online registration was sold out in 57seconds this year. I drove home with the “tri couple” where Andi decided to give Roth a chance next year and got one of the popular slots. Possibly I will be there – support only!!
I would not be Austrian if I’d see everything through the “its great goggles”: My little complaint is about the logistic as it is a challenge without a car to get everything organized but the easy solution is to rent a car!!
If you are thinking of a long distance race, consider Challenge Roth!! With all my heart I guarantee you a great race.
see you there (me as support only) – for now