With less than three weeks before the Challenge Roth race starts, early in the morning on a calm spectator lined canal, I have suddenly become surprisingly excited. I’ve raced in Roth four times consecutively from 2007 – 2010, finishing 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, and 4th. So it’s not new to me, I know the town, the race venue, the course, the atmosphere, the vibe, the finish line, the experience, the expo, the events outside of the race, the locals, the race organizers, the carbo, the after party, I know it all! And that is why I’m excited, as those memories get closer to the surface as I get closer to getting back to Challenge Roth!
And now, as those memories start to flood in they are boosted by what I’ve heard about the additions to this year’s event. As it is a special year being the 30th year of triathlon in Roth, and the fireworks at the end of the race will be the biggest ever, as will the finish line arena and grandstand, and the spectator party points along the course, and just everything will be bigger and better than ever before, and before it was already the biggest I’ve ever seen at a triathlon!
I’m excited to catch up with Bob Babbit and “Breakfast with Bob” in Roth. One of the most knowledgeable, charismatic, interesting and funny characters in the sport of triathlon, Bob asks all the right questions and has all the back stories for the last 35 years of triathlon. For the first time there will also be an English live race channel hosted by none other than the legendary Belinda Granger, who has more experience of winning these crazy races and of talking than anyone I know, and will be incredibly entertaining and informative for those watching online.
These are just a few of the bigger details happening at Challenge Roth. A lot of this information and excitement has come from listening to a podcast by Irontalk where they interviewed Felix, the now head of the Challenge Family – although he will tell you his mum still is the boss 😉 – and listening to Felix it’s obvious his passion for the sport is bigger than ever. I’ve known Felix for several years, since my first race in Roth, and it’s always a pleasure catching up with him and talking about triathlon, travelling, life, whatever. He is a cool guy and only wants what’s best for our sport, and is getting that job done in a great way. Another reason I’m looking forward to Roth is to experience the hospitality of Felix, the rest of his crew, all the locals, and all the Germans in general. Germany is home to some of my best travelling memories and I can’t wait to experience it with Jaimie this year.
My peers, my competitors, my rivals – They are strong this year and I can’t wait to be on the start line with such a class of athlete and go head to head with them for about 8hrs of racing! Several top 10 Hawaii finishers are on the start list and it’s going to be a great race to be part of. And no less it’s great hanging out with these guys and girls pre and post race in such a great party atmosphere. Challenge Roth is one of the few races where I have no trouble staying awake until the last finishers. It is an awesome party with a great vibe.
On top of all of this, I will get to show my beautiful wife all of the things I’ve mentioned, all the things I’ve experienced before and are a part of my life, will become a part of her life as she competes in her first ever full distance triathlon. I am so happy that Challenge Roth will be her first experience of this tough distance, as there is no better race experience than in Roth. Even just the little town of Roth is such a special place it will be hard to keep Jaimie focused on the event… but with all the distractions maybe they will keep her relaxed, as it’s too hard not to enjoy the show that Challenge put on.
So the show is getting close, and I’m getting excited and happy to be heading back there this year, and I’ve already decided I’ll be back there in 2015 too! To everyone racing there, I hope the sun shines on us all day and we all have a great race. See you in Roth!