Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Team "We Are Back" (almost) rules in 19th Stadttriathlon Erding

Sabine finally had to agree that the pockets on my jersey DO come in handy, especially post-race!
It had been a few years since I competed the last time on my bike, but Sunday was the day for a come-back. Together with two new friends, Jan Pape and Henrick Neugebauer, I entered the 19th Erding Stadttriathlon as a member of team "We Are Back." Several months back, Sabine had told me that she would compete with some of her Landscape Architecture colleagues from the City of Munich in this Olympic distance event, and since at the time no more cyclists were needed to fill up one of the 10 City teams we went with Plan B, which had sprung from a chance encounter that Sabine had with Jan a few weeks later. All three of us used to compete but then ... well, you know how it goes.
Sabine and I pre-race ...
With my screwed-up back I was worried about being able to walk after the race, but I wasn't going to let my buddies down—after all, in our first get-together at the beginning of my European sojourn, we had set the bar high for ourselves, thanks at least partly to copious amounts of beer. Well, it didn't really matter how fast we were since we all agreed that this was really—no, REALLY!—just about participating. Altogether, 55 teams (and about 1,500 solitary athletes) entered this event, and of those 55 teams we came in 30th. Jan ran a 45-minute 10 K, Henrick didn't drown (which we all saw as a definite positive), and I turned something like a 1:27 for the somewhat longish (for an Olympic distance) 29 miles. The course was gorgeous. Sabine and I had pre-ridden it on Saturday, and it was just perfect. The first 11 miles or so were almost totally flat, and then the hills started. It was a fairly warm day with just a bit of air movement—maybe 78 degrees and 5 mph. The roads were the smoothest you can imagine (if you ignore the first kilometer, which was in rather poor shape), and all intersections were secured by police or firefighters. Best of all: No WTC to be found anywhere close, so the entry fee was a refreshing 25 Euro!
... and post-race
I don't know why we didn't take a photo of the three of us together before the start, but here are my two compatriots after the event when Sabine and I had already taken off so that we could make it to the social get-together with her colleagues from work. The "beer," by the way, was Erdinger Alkoholfrei, one of those non-alcoholic beers that make you burp a lot and that look good in those fine glasses but that otherwise are just not the real thing.
Henrick (center) and Jan (right) with an unidentified bystander—note the cool BMW shirts for our team (Henrick works for BMW and had them custom-made for us)
This triathlon presented a great way to finish my wonderful vacation in Europe. Yesterday morning I left Munich airport at 7:20 a.m., and I landed in Lubbock on schedule, at 5:40 p.m. Just a few hours, yet worlds removed. Twenty-four hours later I have unpacked my bags, done my laundry, tuned up two bikes, bought groceries, ridden 45 miles with my buddies, met with Rick who is rejuvenating my house, and gone through all of my mail. A week from today I will be in Windham, NY, as the DCO for the one-and-only Mountain Bike World Cup in the US. It's a veritable whirlwind of a life, and I hope you get to do cool stuff this summer and onward and enjoy it as much as I do.

And now, a fine parting shot that I took on Saturday when we previewed the swim course at the "Weiher" near Erding. After writing about all those Speedos I thought you really needed to get the full impact. Sorry, I didn't get any pics from transition where athletes simply stripped down to change. Oh, those Europeans!

A happy family at the lake—I didn't catch the belly scratch


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