7 Days after racing as part of the team at The Championships at Samorin I raced in Herning, Denmark at the Challenge Herning ETU and Open race.
We left Slovakia for a few days R&R in Austria and took the night train to Hamburg and onto Herning. Austria was fab, such a great place to unwind. Racing overseas does present some challenges though. There is the unknown of language – we take for granted that not every country is proficient or wanting to speak English, travelling with a bike requires both a lot of navigation and checking up to make sure you don’t get excess baggage, not being local to your destination can cause some issues.
The night train was interesting. We pre booked the bike and arrived to find out that the porters wanted to rack it in the bike car. That was not going to happen. Tri bike was packed securely in a bike bag so we ended up providing the bike with its own bed in our compartment (the poor lady who shared a cabin with us did not know what had hit her, limited English, bike on a bed above her, etc).
We arrived in Herning. It was a terrible day. The weather in the lead up to the race was drizzly. The locals did tell us that it had been beautiful the week before but I am skeptical, it felt colder than Melbourne. It was definitely too cold for a swim in Lake Fuglesang (even with a wettie). So we decided to hire a car and see the sites of Denmark for the next few days.
The day before the race it was time to rack the bike. The challenge with this race was that there were two transition areas, miles apart – luckily we had the hire car. Race briefings were also the day before in an auditorium before transition opened. It was a tight schedule to get everything organized in the small window of time allocated. After the briefing I headed out to Lake Fuglesang (and it was still pouring). A quick check of the bike to make sure all prepped for the race. Decided to recheck the tyres and noticed I had a slow leak in the valve. Rather than risk it I changed my tube. Pumped up the tyre and it popped. Put in my second spare, pumped up the tyre and it popped as well. At this stage the race mechanic provided me with back up tubes and we were ready to rack. Transition completed and home for dinner and an early night.
Race day arrived. European races start much later than in Oz. So it was a nice relaxed morning and headed out to the race. The support crew (Julia and Michelle) borrowed bikes so that they could get around on the day. Weather was fantastic.
The swim start was a rolling start. It was very orderly and much more relaxed than having a wave start. Happy with the time out of the swim and onto the ride. The ride was challenging, very technical and hilly in parts. It was a quick course. Coming off a solid ride the week before I was comfortable with the time I completed this in. Onto the run. The run course was several loops around the town centre. There were a lot of supporters and it was a great run course. I finished with a time close to my goal and a few take outs on racing overseas.
Would I do it again? Yes, it is something that everyone should experience if they can.
Rob Woodward – June 2017