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RBM's "Gift to You"...

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By Ruth Brennan Morrey (ruthbrennanmorrey.com)

 

Iconic.       Legendary.         Epic.        World’s Best.        Bucket List.        Triathlon Mecca.                                          
 
The above adjectives largely contributed to the intrigue that landed me in the beautiful Bavarian countryside of Roth, Germany for the full distance Challenge Roth race on July 9th, 2017. Historical race photographs well captured the crowd blanketed energy, picturesque villages and countryside, and the scope of the enthusiasm among pro athletes, age groupers and spectators alike. Within this quaint German rural town—a village of 24,000 residents—two hundred thousand dedicated course spectators halted all life responsibilities to invite athletes into their homes and show up on bridges, hills, villages, to rally alongside the athletes. Perhaps more staggering were the 7000 (!) volunteers—young and old—who would line the notoriously fast course to lend a hand to the day’s success. Imagining crowds lined five deep up Solar Hill—Tour de France style—while bashing long green and red noise making balloons together had this athlete’s blood pumping well before the gun would bang.
My mind had been exclusively training on this course for the previous 6 months and had been in my heart for a year in the making. During the 2016 race, from my computer screen, I witnessed exceptional, thorough, non-gender biased live race coverage.  Strict drafting penalties and the manner in which Challenge Family treated its professional athletes would be a new and humbling experience.  It was a clear observation even from across the Atlantic, that Challenge Family took incredible pride in this race. That alone excited me....


 
Training for the race was a joy. Coach Matt Hanson’s prescription of easy ‘Kenyan-style’ shuffle runs to leg-piercing, intimidating bike sessions were well accepted and grew the head confidence for a great training balance. Hard and easy, I loved every element of the build. I heard the roaring Roth crowds during training rides on Minnesota county roads and in my sports bra, low hat, and dark glasses, I saw my world class competitors just ahead of me on the Mayowood running trail. I was motivated to catch these distant competitors until it became obvious that I was chasing a 70-year old brisk walker or a 6 year old kid on training wheels—sometimes a comical end. It didn’t matter, this was my mental race prep—well in advance, visualizing my race as though I was wearing Roth filtered glasses. My bike fitness was superb, my body was strong, and my swim was, thankfully, making gains and improving awareness in technique and confidence.   READ MORE

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