My First Race for the “German Triathlon Bundesliga"

Now even my triathlon season has officially started. I flew over to Germany last Saturday morning – escaping revision a bit for the weekend (still had plenty of revision with me though…) to race in the first of four German Triathlon Bundesliga races in Buschhuetten. I am racing for the TV 1848 Erlangen team this year – one of the few teams consisting exclusively of German girls. The first race is usually even more fun than the rest with it being a team sprint (four girls start by doing a 4x200m swim relay, and then at least three have to stay together at all times on the bike and run – and the third one’s time across the finish line counts as the team time).

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Our team this weekend consisted of Anne Haug, Marlene Gomez-Islinger, Sarah Neukam and me (Marlene and Sarah are both also on the Bavarian squad, and Anne Haug… well I don’t think I need to introduce). When we arrived in Buschhuetten it was a miserable day (rain and wind… exactly what most people think it’s like in England all the time) so the thought of going out for a little jog wasn’t really the most appealing :P but at least the forecast for the next day looked at that time slightly brighter.

But once we had transition all set up it then started raining… just as we were about to start our warm up. Luckily they were all showers though and we managed to keep kind of dry and warm. And then off we went! The swim was just a 200m sprint – I’m really not used to racing that distance (or to have a rest after swimming before going on to do the bike!). But we actually did reasonably well and while Buschhuetten, the local team and winner of last year’s season, and Witten were off the front, we were in the chase with a few other teams – but we didn’t really see anything of them unless we turned around! The four of us kept changing over at the front working as hard as we could and I have to say, I don’t think I have ever cycled that hard in a race before! Maybe it was because I knew I was the second fastest runner of us four and so won’t be on my limit on the run, or just because I was really enjoying it at the time ;). We managed to catch Witten and then slowed down a little – and none of the other teams were willing to do any real work.

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So after 26k we headed into transition about a minute behind Buschhuetten. Sarah is a bit injured at the moment, so the plan has always been for her to drop out after the bike. The rest of us headed on the run. Marlene had been worried for quite a while about not being fast enough and her slowing us down – but she would have had nothing to worry about! I went off the front – trying to push the pace and let her “draft” off me, while Anne Haug kept pushing her to make it that little bit easier – and slowly but surely we went past all the other teams (apart from Buschuetten… but we did get closer!) and my god we were all really pleased when we crossed that finish line.

What a great experience it had been being allowed to race not just alongside, but in a team with Anne Haug, who then also drove me back to Frankfurt airport. And she really is an inspiring woman – and manages to stay very much down to earth and not arrogant at all at the same time!

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But I think Marlene and Sarah also need a special mention again – I loved every minute of racing with them and I don’t think I could have had any better three teammates. Special thanks also to TV 1848 Erlangen, in particular Heinz Rueger, for setting up such a fantastic team.

And then back to Oxford it went (thanks to my parents for driving me over in the middle of the night) and back to revision… until next weekend where I’ll be starting my first individual race in Bratislava.

© Sophia Saller 2016. All rights reserved. Impressum