There is a misconception that you can drive as fast as you like on a German Autobahn. You can’t. I found this out during a previous German trip when a policeman handed me a speeding ticket after I’d raced along a road from Cologne to Stuttgart. I had wondered why I was the only car, on this section, driving fast!
My driving has improved since then. During this trip, after I’d completed a left turn, a man wound down his car window to shout “Schweinhund” at me. He also waved his fist. I’m sure that must be German for “Nice manouver. Well done you.”
A car is essential for Roth as the nearest affordable accommodation to town was 40K away in Nuremberg. I’d visited the city before in 2006 during the World Cup. I had a three game ticket to follow the USA and one of the games was held in the city: USA versus Ghana. I can’t remember anything about the place but I hoped a visit back might remind me. It didn’t! I still don’t remember anything about it. The beer must have been good there…
- Get a good navigator. I had three people in the car who each had a shot at navigating. They gave me the wrong directions to the hotel, They gave me the wrong directions to transition, they gave me the wrong directions to the swim start, they even gave me the wrong directions to Roth. As Roth is the one place everyone else was going to too, just follow the other cars, not your passengers!
- On race day work out where to park in Roth as it is very difficult to drive from the swim start to Roth due to road closures. We got lucky finding a space but it took us two hours to do what should have been a twenty minute trip.
- Go to Solar hill. It’s only a 25 minute walk from the swim start. The atmosphere is amazing. And once your athlete has climbed the hill on lap one, you can head to Roth for the run.
- Get petrol before race day! We nearly ran out whilst driving around. There were lots of petrol stations but not many open on a Sunday. Thankfully we got one but make sure you have a full tank in advance.
- It’s a long day. I was up at 0415 and didn’t get back to bed until 0030. There’s lots of standing around and walking. I managed nearly 15 miles of walking in the day.
- Cross the finish line with your athlete. Challenge allow non-athletes into the finisher chute. Take the opportunity to take in the acclaim of the crowd without actually having to do the race! Like John Terry at the 2012 Champions league final when he appeared on the pitch in full strip despite not having played the match.
- The internet reception for mobiles doesn’t work very well on the course or in Roth. Too many phones in one place made it very difficult to get a connection. Make sure you print out maps in advance.
- Bring Euros. There was lots of opportunity to buy food and drink on the course but finding a cash machine or an ATM was next to impossible.
- The tracker is good for working out what time your athlete should be in places. Use that to plan when to spot them but see point 7. Don’t rely on it always being available.
- When you get home. Your athlete will try to claim a lift back to their house because “their legs are tired!” Tell them to GTF and drive you instead! You deserve it!