Posted on: July 8th, 2012 by admin

Quelle Challenge – Quelle Equipe Bodylab


13-07-08 – 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26 mile run.

Overall Time ; 10:58:00



Quelle Challenge Roth was the original Ironman Germany until a few years ago when it broke away from the Ironman ‘corporation’. The race has a fantastic reputation, great rolling and fast course, thousands of spectators particularly on two climbs and really well organised. It’s also the largest ‘Ironman’ distance event in the world (I think) with 2800 individuals and 600 relay teams starting in waves of 250.


Getting there

Roth is a small town about 30 miles from Nuremburg. We flew into Nuremburg, there are plenty of flights available. I would strongly recommend that you hire transport from the airport as we found logistics around the race a bit of a nightmare.




We left booking hotels a little late, however, having been to the area, I believe that if you stay in or close to Roth, you’ll find the town a little small regarding choice of places to eat etc. We Stayed in Southern Nuremburg, a 20 minute drive away. But Nuremburg is a city worth visiting and there is a massive choice of restaurants, shops etc. Looking back, we had the best of both worlds.



The build up

Team Bodylab consisted of Myself, Pete Hayward and Richard Stabler, with support coming from Gaelle and Gill (Pete’s Mum). The three of us arrived on Thursday and spent that day building up bikes before going for a short run and a quick ride to check out the bikes were working.



Friday Morning, we set out for Roth, the swim course was open until 9:30a.m. We made our way to the expo in Roth. Only to find the swim course was on the road out of Roth. Our main criticism of the whole race was the logistics, there was no signage and maps weren’t clear, we found the canal, 4 kms away, unfortunately it wasn’t the right canal!! We returned to the expo, to find the swim was further away, around 10km away!! It was way past 10 a.m by the time we found it, so after having a walk around the area, we headed to Rothsee Lake, the original swim venue and for anyone going to do this race, a great place to relax and swim prior to race day.



The Rest of Friday we spent at the expo and registration – nice goody bag and a great range of stands at the expo, far better than at the Ironman events.



Saturday is bike racking and briefing day, we went to the French briefing at noon rather than hang around until 6 for the English version. Bike racking was over at the canal, if I remember rightly, you had to take your t2 bag with you, but not your dry bag or t1 bag. No major problems, as long as you could find it!!

The reason for telling you this is to illustrate the need for transport and planning out trips, should you go to this event.



The Course

The swim is in a very wide canal, the water is clean and pretty warm. The course heads up stream to a bridge before turning back down, passing the start, another bridge and the turning back up to the finish, just below the start.



The Bike

The bike is a two lap affair, with a little extra on the end taking you to t2, approximately 1.5 km from Roth.

The Bike course is fast, the second half of the loop takes you over a decent climb at Greding, with a long false top and towards the end of the loop in Hippolstein, another hill – Solarberg. This is probably the equivalent of Archway Hill, but with a sea of maybe 10/20,000 spectators screaming in your ear and standing literally inches away from you – it’s just like climbing Alpe D’Huez!!



The run

A lovely run, a kind of out and back, following a canal, before looping around a village and heading back down to the canal to another village, a similar loop and then returning past t2 and down into Roth for the Finish. The surface is mainly gravel track, with some road running around the villages.



The race

A 4am rise saw the three of us in good spirit and very relaxed – just like one of our bike rides.

We flew down to the Roth in the van, but then came a cropper in a massive traffic jam. Again logistics for the race could have been better organised by the organisers / police. The weather had turned from 32 degrees and sun on Friday to 18-ish and pouring down, it really felt cold and wet, it was to stay this way for the day.



Richard was in the first wave at 6:20, whilst Pete and I would part an hour or so later. Eventually we resorted to driving down the other side of the road (we’re English!!) and got Richard to transition 25 minutes before the start.



For me, I started at 7:10. My race plan was to sit at the back and on the outside of the canal, away from the race. I had watched clips on ‘you tube’ and so knew I would get a quieter swim here, all be it, longer and slower then swimming in the mass, but having completed maybe 12 swim sessions this year, I didn’t want to waste energy and struggle towards the end of the swim. My strategy worked, I had a lovely dip in the water! 1:06, hardly out of breath.



T1 was going to be a slow affair, I planned for this, I wanted to be comfortable and relaxed going into the bike. 7 minutes something…



The bike, I got on the bike and found hamstrings were very tight and cold, so I spun along to get going. The climb at Greding (after 40km) was great, not as hard as I expected and I passed a lot of people. But at the top, it drags on, and we were met by a head wind which made getting going again, a little tough. It was about here, my back started to ache. Very soon, I was unable to stay down on the tri bars and people seemed to flood past me on the flat sections. I started to think about pulling out and several times tried to get off the bike and stretch out the back and hamstrings, to little avail.

I guess I was pretty low at this stage, I decided to relax, sit up right and focused on maintaining an even pace.



One of the great things is that on the two climbs, commentators call out your name/ nationality, obviously the spectators hear this and cry out your name and literally dragging you up the hill, fantastic. When a girl said to me on the second loop ‘go Chris, You can do it’ I thought yes, easy, and I just carried on to the end of the bike. My legs felt great, hardly tired, just the back was tight. 5:58, Av speed 19mph.



After all the trouble on bike, I was resolved to an aching back and being bent double for 26 miles. Again, as planned, I sat in t2, ate half a sandwich, walked out and over the next few hundred meters started to run, NO PAIN!! I ran along the canal, counting down the Km’s, when I got to feed stations, I walked picked up banana and coke and ran again. When I went up hills, I listened to my heart, when I felt it was starting to work, I slowed down even walked on two occasions but only for 20 m. It was all in my race plan. At 19km, I was kicking myself that I hadn’t checked the time I started running, so I made a note of the time. After a km, I worked out I was doing something over 5minutes per kilo. This was great, I really focused on each KM, an hour later I had ran 11.5km, except for a little tightness in the quads, I was feeling great. At 29km and at the bottom of the longest hill, the heavens opened, I was drenched, it didn’t stop raining for the rest of the race. I kept watching the km times and worked out how much longer I had to keep running for. It went so quickly, I felt like my heart beat never went over 140, and I had bags of energy, my only concern was if my quads cramped. 1km from the end was a sharp little hill, I had seen this earlier and planned to walk it, just to look after the quads…However Gaelle and Richard were there, Gaelle started running with me shouting in my ear, so I had to run. I didn’t really notice the finish, I just waved my England flag and that was it!! A pint of beer for all finishers – excellent. Run 3:44




A great race, although the weather was atrocious the crowds were amazing and this will be my memory of the race. Off course, I have to mention the fantastic team bodylab effort – Richard 9:50 and Pete 10:30 – Two great performances and two great comrades to have alongside you.

Special thanks to Gaelle and Gill and everyone who sent me messages of support, every single message came to my mind as my back throbbed.



Finally, If you are doing an Ironman soon or plan to do one in the future, get your mind right, be relaxed, don’t get tense or stressed. There is a big ‘fear’ factor, get strength from it, plan your race and stick to the plan. I was under trained for this race, I set no time goals and never pushed myself, I just went with the flow and enjoyed it. Get through your first few and then think about times, but enjoy it.