I arrived on Tuesday in Germany… and suddenly it’s already Thursday! What a whirlwind few days it has been dealing with jetlag, sneaking a tour in, and guiding our Filipino athletes through the whole Challenge Roth pre-race experience. But you know what? I’m enjoying it so far, even more so than last year when I was stressed out about racing.
I landed at 6am in Munich on an Etihad flight. To travel to Roth I would need to take a train from the airport to the main train station, then hop on a train to Nuremberg. From there, I would then take a smaller train to my homestay. To purchase all these single-journey tickets would cause a lot of stress, so instead I purchased the Bayern ticket, which gives one day of unlimited bus and rail access throughout Bavaria. The catch is that you would need to travel after 9am.
I used the lag time between my flight arrival and my land trip to purchase a local sim card for 30 days and 1GB of data. Before I knew it, I was on a bus to a rail station where the Regional Express train from Munich to Nuremberg via Regensburg would make its stop. Because it was a Regional Express, there were many stops in between and that trip took more than an hour. Once I arrived in Nuremberg I took the S2 train down to Roth, where my lovely homestay host Mona picked me up. The total land travel time was around 3 1/2 hours, but at 23 Euro I can’t really complain (versus 100+ Euro to fly from Munich to Nuremberg).
Germany had been in the grips of a three-week heat wave, and Tuesday was soooooo hot. I ran at 3pm in an attempt to fend off jetlag, but that was a mistake. As a result, I was so smashed I couldn’t even make proper conversation with Mona’s parents at the dinner table. I was in bed by 9:30pm.
The early European summer sunrise was a welcome wake-up call at 5:30am. My body clock seemed to have been reset to the proper time zone, and I was raring to go on my planned walking tour through Nuremberg’s Old Town and rally grounds. I had found the package tour on Viator.com and with the numerous good reviews on TripAdvisor, I signed up for the guided tour led by an American and former history teacher.
After an early morning rain storm which heralded cooler temperatures, I took the train from Roth to Nuremberg to join the tour. Some other people had taken a day trip from Munich just for the tour.
We started from Nuremberg central station then went toward the old town, which had remarkably preserved its old fortress walls. While many of the buildings had been reconstructed after Nuremberg was badly bombed in World War II, up until that period Nuremberg had kept its old Gothic sandstone cathedrals and public buildings, as well as medieval wood-frame houses.
The tour also took us through the rally grounds that the Nazis had used in their propaganda videos pre-war. Because Nuremberg was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire, the Nazis had decided to use the city’s imagery to link their Third Reich to the legacy of the Germanic empire of yore.
After the tour, I finally met up with a few of the Filipino athletes participating in Challenge Roth, namely the gents from the Yellow Cab Tri-Clark Team: Jumbo, Abe, Alan, John, Jem, and Mac. We decided to attempt a ride out the next day. But first, some food!
While I hadn’t brought my bike with me on this trip (I planned to tour through Regensburg and Munich after the race, and having my bike would literally be a drag), Mona lent me her race bike and bike shoes so I could go with Tri Clark and show them the highlights of the Challenge Roth bike course, namely Solar Hill, the swim start, and the bike-to-run transition.
The ride was scheduled for the morning so I was at the expo area by 9am, but persistent and strong rain pushed the ride back to after lunch. It had already been about 18 degrees Celsius when I’d left, but the sun was out so I hadn’t taken any warm gear with me. Then the skies darkened with rain. With no place to stay, I found myself seeking shelter in one of the expo tents, shivering as the wind blew.
Any misery is always overcome by good company, which is why the bike ride though cold and wet was still enjoyable! While Jumbo had to attend a meeting with the other Challenge race directors, I took the rest of the boys out on the bike course so they could see what kinds of terrain they would experience on Sunday during Challenge Roth. Of interest were Solar Hill, the swim start, and transition two and I was happy to share my knowledge with them.
With the ride done, we proceeded back to the expo to do some shopping among the amazing discounts each vendor was offering. The Erdinger party was also just beginning to kick off with free-flowing beer and food.
At the expo I also met other MaccaX members who were there for the race. It was good to see Ian, Craig, Stuart, and Mathias again in one location after meeting them in different parts of the world.
My hosts are awesome and prepared a barbecue dinner, so I headed home. Having been cold almost the whole day, it was a comfort to get a warm shower in and sit beside a real wood stove fire!
The weather has been schizophrenic, raining one minute and sunny the next, so I’m praying for a fine day on Sunday where everyone can perform at their best.
To be continued…