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Challenge Kraichgau

Race report of the Challenge Kraichgau 2014 - from the back of the pack

I'm back.The Challenge weekend is over and I'm a happy finisher again. Yeah!

But I start in the beginning - maybe on Friday, when I did the package pickup for the race. This year is a strange year for this 10-year-old race - it is a Challenge-Family race (as it was the last couple of years) and has been moved into the Ironman group for next year. What this means, for example, is that we got backpacks with both kinds of labels - M-dot and Challenge-Heart. A lot of M-Dot-labeled equipment was already around. Yet, everything looked like last year. So on Friday the first thing I did was checking all relevaant race information, I had printed out the booklet and read it over some cup of tea after breakfast.

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For the check-in was open in the afternoon, I went there around 3pm, and it was not overcrowded - I had plenty of time to get my materials, stroll over the race exhibit, get a new pair of vastly reduced running shoes, participate in a raffle, scan the Ironman tent for interesting merchandise, meet our neighbor who is one of the the relay runners for the Krunämä Ralli - the mascot of the 725 year celebration of my home village Kronau.

Then I went home, spreading out my loot on the living room floor, and starting to pack. At races with bags, it's always tougher to plan everything, for the run bag is gone before the race and there's no way to add or remove anything from it, at least not when the race has two transition zones like Kraichgau has.

On Saturday was the bike check in. Plus the red-run-bag check-in. In the hope to have everything on board, I drove to Ubstadt-Weiher, where the swim takes place. I went pretty early, Martin accompanied me. I had two tasks to do: delivering baked goods for the bake sale at the Bad Schoenborn DLRG (life guard association) and to check in.So first we got rid of the cookies, especially they were freshly baked and had some sugar glaze on top and we didn't want this to get runny in a  hot parked car. This time, different than the other two times, I made cookies instead of cake (American Chocolate Chip with walnuts) and differently this time someone was still around when I brought them. Usually I had just put my cake into the deserted tent into the fridge. 

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Then we strolled through the exhibit again, and from there found our car and drove off to Ubstadt-Weiher. They had mown a whole field for the parking - and entering was a really dusty affair. It wasn't as hot but the dust cloud reminded me of our tour through Death Valley (and maybe I should check, if there's still sand hidden in the fuel door after the car wash I gave the car today - like it was after we had imported the car to Germany). I racked my bike, got rid of the run bag, I had changed my bike so it was according to DTU rules (beakes looking down not frontward). Why i did not use my Bee Bike (Isaac TT): I have been fighting with backbone issues for some time I almost wouldn't have started at all. Cycling was almost impossible and at least painful. So I changed my cross bike around on which I sit a bit more upright. It's not as fast, but raceable.

 Martin was planning to cycle in one of our club's relay, but "his" swimmer already had picked up everything. So in the evening we went back to Ubstadt-Weiher, to meet with him, with a guest from Cologne who was planning on the olympic distance event and with another club member who did the race like me. Before that we did pasta dinner at home - we had so many things going on recently - from sports-related to drives to Wiesbaden to take care of my late dad's affair, to dealing with a weird time table at school which doesn't really give me time for too much else despite of me only working a few weekly hours, to visiting docs because of my really annoying slipped disk plus sacroiliac joint trouble.  With all those things going on I have sent the kids to make their own dinner much too often, recently, so I didn't want this time. I like family dinners with everyone present.

So we arrived at the Hardtsee-Restaurant at our friends' table - chatted a bit, drank a bit (non-alc) reviewed the happenings of Saturday's Frauenlauf (women's run) where my group had gone to,  and also watched a bit Bundesliga (national league) which is a word usually found in the realm of soccer but the Challenge-organizers had set up a sprint distance triathlon with  top notch athletes' teams starting. And: You can't hear them when they run - it's all silent.

Then, off to home and off to bed.

2 B continued