A big thanks to Russel Breyer for his detailed race report and his shorter version below! 🙂 Short version:
Helen R: world class.
Helen D: awesome.
Russel B: held his own with the other old boys.
All: did British Quadrathlon proud!
This is the 7 hours on the Harwich ferry version
A seven hour drive from Calais or Harwich might seem like a long way to go for a sprint quadrathlon. But if you want the World Cup points, you’ll do it. And if you love this small, friendly sport, well, why not?
Bergsee Ratscher is a small lake, about 1500 metres across both ways, and more or less surrounded by the forested hills of the vast Thuringa Wald. (Germany constantly surprises with it’s delightful, unheralded landscapes).
Along one side of the lake runs a large campsite, with spacious grassy slopes giving every camper a view of the lake. The race was based here. The nearest town, Schleusingen, a couple of kilometres away, is an appealing place with a large castle and pretty houses. The international quadrathlon crowd was out in force, with over 60 racing, plus relay teams. So nice to see the familiar faces.
The swim was a one lap triangle, then off on the bike (briefly, does anyone know why German races tend to be bike, paddle, whilst ours are more often paddle, bike?).
The bike route started by going along the dam wall, then two laps of a tight loop, and back along the wall. The roads are perfectly smooth and the whole course is undulating, so you are either working hard to go up, or enjoying the fast downs. I had overcooked the hill training during the week, being unable to resist the temptations of the High Tatras in Slovakia, so had a shocker on the bike. The wind was getting up too, at this point.
The kayak leg was 4 laps of a triangular course, one turn being round a cute little island in the middle of the lake. Fine, but this meant a turn roughly every 400 metres and with 60 plus boats on the course, plus a stiffening breeze, some caution was required. Helen D and myself both found ourselves going wide to keep out of trouble. As our Ipswich CC race coach is fond of saying, ‘you can’t paddle fast if you are upside down’. But I made up some time anyway, so no complaints.
Then the run…a slightly odd course, twice round a V shaped loop, each lap taking us out and back along the dam wall, then out and back on a parallel path below the wall (on the side without the water in, obvs). Nearly all flat, mercifully, and it made the run seem strangely short, so I got a move on and made up a few more places.
And that was it. The presentations, which included World Cup prizes, were almost longer than the race, and seemed mostly to involve Helen R smiling gamely from a podium whilst various people showered her with more trophies and prizes than she could reasonably be expected to hold on her own. Her second world class performance of the day!