I'm a big fan of Elite Draft-Legal racing. WTS, French Grand Prix and Bundesliga. My boys are into it too. Last year I also raced the draft-legal sprint event at the World Age Group Championships in Rotterdam. I loved the tactical racing with a team element. It also pushed me to work on skills like cornering and pack riding.
The Bundesliga is the German national elite club competition. Like the French Grand Prix they've experimented with various race formats but this year there'll be 16 men's teams and 14 women's teams taking part in five sprint distance races. Four athletes start the race for each team with three scoring, cross country style.
Events will take place in Kraichgau (02/06), Dusseldorf (01/07), Munster (22/07), Tubingen (05/08) and Binz (08/09). We'll again be going to watch the first round in Kraichgau. We'll camp Saturday night and catch a bit of 70.3 Kraichgau before driving back to Munich.
Last June, right at the last minute, I realised that the first round was taking place just an hour from Strasbourg in Kraichgau. I knew the boys would be interested in watching the fast, spectator friendly racing; featuring a few WTS stars.
The swim was one lap with the first buoy after about 250m. We got a great view from the top of a small hill. The bike was on a non-technical 5km loop. It didn't go through transition every lap but passed close by. The run was an out and back over four laps along the lake.
The women's race started at 19:00 and in a near-sprint was won by Laura Lindemann (Potsdam) from Rachel Klamer (Buschhutten) and Anja Knapp (Team Witten). We stood on the fastest bend on the bike course. The way those packs cornered was definitely impressive.
The men started at 20:15. Richard Murray (Buschhutten) ran up from the 2nd pack to win; encouraging the crowd on each passage through the Biergarten. Frenchman Felix Duchampt (ROWE Rheinland-Pfalz) was a close second with Ian Manthey (Team Saar) third.
But just like in the French Grand Prix, these events are all about the team competition. Team Witten won the women's event followed by Buschhutten and Potsdam. For the men the order was Buschhutten, ROWE Rheinland-Pfalz then Team Saar.
The athletes from English speaking countries taking part for various teams were Debby Lynch (NZL), Anel Radford (RSA), Emy Legault (CAN), Elisabeth Boutin (CAN), Seth Rider (USA), Jack Willis (GBR) and Liam Lloyd (GBR).
Check out the videos below for apearances later in the season from Andrea Hewitt, Tamsyn Moana-Veale, Emma Jeffcoat, Charlotte McShane, Gillian Backhouse, Drew Box, Emma Jackson, Sian Rainsley and Henri Schoeman.
Only the final event in Binz had a live stream but highlights videos are put up pretty quickly. Here is a playlist of the season with events in order.
The second division of the Bundesliga is organised into north and south conferences. One team from each conference gets promoted to division one at the end of the season. Consequently, two teams from division one get relegated to the second division every year.
I'm hoping to get to a French Grand Prix event in 2018 to cover it irunfar style. I'd try and do pre- and post-race athlete audio interviews, a course preview, chats with team staff, a look at some bikes and, of course, live tweeting. Let me know if you'd be interested.