Pasta-Party to charge the batteries

Friday night's „Pasta-party“ was about pasta and maybe about Kaiserschmarrn (sugared pancake with raisins). But that wasn't all: main sponsor DATEV has caught the triathlon bug and therfore extended the sponsoring contract to 2021, race coordinator Guenter Sessner celebrated his 80th birthday together with the Challenge family and the stars raved about the great atmosphere at Roth and promised a fast race.

He hasn't missed one of the 26 long-distance triathlons at Roth and he wants to reach 30: Udo Schoenberger from Trier.   Photo: Robert Gerner

When asked whether the atmosphere caused her goosebumps, Mirinda Carfrae, Hawaii winner of 2013, answered that is was too hot for goosebumps, but: „The atmosphere here is incredible, it is even better than I had imagined. I hope that leads to great performances and a fast race. I'm a little scared, too, but that's not a bad thing. I have high expectations for myself, but we'll have to wait and see who can stand out in this fantastic field.“

Last year's winner Caroline Steffen is also happy with the top-level field: „I'm grateful, that Felix gives us the opportunity to compete here, away from Kona.“ Yvonne van Vlerken sums it up: „That's pure women power right here.“

Julia Gajer (2nd from left) had a lot of support from the fans at the „Pasta-Party“. Her competition is happy for her. Photo: Robert Gerner

But you can't underestimate the men's field either. Pete Jacobs already knows the atmosphere in Roth, but this year everything is even bigger than when he last started in 2009. „ It would be fantastic to win this 30th edition of the race!“ But also James Cunnama has his eyes on the prize. The winner of 2012 and last year's second placed said: „This race is a great experience, it's even great when you don't have a good day. In 2012 I had a fantastic day, last year not so much, but I hope that I'll have a winning day this year.“

To achieve that he will have to go through a lot of pain, warns last year's winner Dirk Bockel. The strong competition will keep the tempo up and the high temperatures will make it „hard for the athletes to run at all“.

They seemed  pretty optimistic just one and a half days before the heated battle of Sunday: Timo Bracht, Eneko Llanos, Luke McKenzie, Pete Jacobs, James Cunnama and Dirk Bockel (from left to right) with Challenge-announcer Tobias Koedel.   Photo: Robert Gerner

Not the promised fast times make this 30th birthday so special, but the enthusiasm of the athletes and their families. Even Bockel shows respect: I have a lot of admiration for anybody who works full time and competes in races like this. You guys are crazy! To get up at 4 am to train shows a great deal of love for our sport.“ Organiser Felix Walchshöfer underlines, how much he cares about all the athletes: „I want this race to go down in history, in your very personal history and in the history of your families. You have worked very long and very hard. Now the time has come, enjoy it!“

Nine long-distance wins at Roth on one stage: Chris MacCormack (4 wins, left.) and Lothar Leder (5 wins, middle.).


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