On 10th June, right at the last minute, I realised that the first round of the Bundesliga Triathlon Series 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 Bundesliga is the German national elite club competition. It's run along the same lines as the French Grand Prix that I wrote a little bit about here. In 2017 there would 16 men's teams and 14 women's teams taking part. After Kraichgau, rounds two to five were going to take place in Munster (23/07), Tubingen (04/08), Grimma (20/08) and Binz (09/09).
Like the French Grand Prix, the Bundesliga has also experimented over the years with different formats. However, this year all races would be the 750m / 20km / 5km draft-legal style. Four athletes start the race for each team with three scoring, cross country style.
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, after an exciting run battle, was won by Laura Lindemann (Potsdam) from Rachel Klamer (Buschhutten) and Anja Knapp (Team Witten). We stood on the fastest bend of the bike course. The way those big packs got around that corner was definitely impressive.
After a tiny break, the men's race started at 20:15. Richard Murray (Buschhutten) ran up from the 2nd bike group to win. On each passage through the Biergarten he pumped his arms to get the crowd going. Frenchman Felix Duchampt (ROWE Rheinland-Pfalz) was a close second with Ian Manthey (Team Saar) third.
But who cares, as 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 more events next season. I might even try to cover one 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 via Twitter if you think you'd be interested in getting English language coverage of the Bundesliga Triathlon Series or French Grand Prix next year.