Triathlon 360 degree2020-09-25T18:40:56+02:00

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Triathlon 360 degree

Circumnavigating the world in triathlon discipline

I will start my next next record breaking challenge this summer: the longest triathlon, from Munich to Munich via the world. During my challenge will cover the distance of 120-Ironman’s (roughly 40.000 kilometers) – with a minimal CO2 footprint.

Starting in Munich I will cycle to Croatia. From there I will swim 456 kilometers along the coast towards Montengro. Back on the bike I’ll cross Europe and Asia until hitting the Chinese coast where I’ll be jumping onto a sailing boat across the Pacific Ocean to San Franciso. The next stage will be running 5040 kilometers across North America to New York. On board of a sailing boat I’ll then cross the Atlantic ocean to Lisbon and finally cycling back to Munich, where I set off around 10 months before.

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I will start my next next record breaking challenge this summer: the longest triathlon, from Munich to Munich via the world. During my challenge will cover the distance of 120-Ironman’s (roughly 40.000 kilometers) – with a minimal CO2 footprint.

Starting in Munich I will cycle to Croatia. From there I will swim 456 kilometers along the coast towards Montengro. Back on the bike I’ll cross Europe and Asia until hitting the Chinese coast where I’ll be jumping onto a sailing boat across the Pacific Ocean to San Franciso. The next stage will be running 5040 kilometers across North America to New York. On board of a sailing boat I’ll then cross the Atlantic ocean to Lisbon and finally cycling back to Munich, where I set off around 10 months before.

View the official press release (PDF)

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Weekly Diary of Triathlon 360 degree

October 2020


On September 26, 2020, it will finally start:
After the last hectic days of preparation, I’ll be standing on Munich’s Odeonsplatz at noon. It is cold and raining cats and dogs.
Nevertheless about 70-80 supporters have come and a group of cyclists who will accompany me for a while. Also my brother Siddy and our cameraman Markus Weinberg, who will ride along with me until Croatia, are there.
Out of Munich, into the foothills of the Alps, we want to cross the Grossglockner and I have to change the route for the first time. The Grossglockner is closed because of snowfall and Tyrol has been declared a Covid risk area today.
Instead we take the Tazzelwurmstrasse and the Tauernpass. On the Turracherhöhe there is 10 centimeters of fresh snow and only before the Loiblpass, over to Slovenia, it slowly gets a little warmer and we can dry our clothes at a hotel overnight.
We make a short visit to Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana and are already in the evening at the Croatian border.
Through the national park Risnjak we approach the Adria and arrive in Kalobag in the evening of the 6th day, where the change for the swimming course is prepared.



In the morning of day 7 I jump off the quay wall in Kalobag and swim south along the coast line. The water is crystal clear, but wind and current are against me. I only manage 8-10 kilometers per day and already after the 2nd day I have to get out of the water for 2 days to ride out a storm. When I am finally back in the water, I dare to cross the channel, 5 kilometers over to the island of Pag, where I finally find a supermarket in a village. I have eaten too little and a cut on my foot, which does not heal in the salt water.
The next day I drift with a strong tail wind and current, in high waves through the small islands towards the island of Vir. The waves become dangerous and I go ashore.
The next day I have a strong tail wind until noon, which I use to pass Vir and get back to the mainland coast, where there are finally again villages with restaurants and stores. I stay in the water for 9 hours and manage 16 kilometers thanks to the friendly wind. The next day I reach the city of Zadar, where I treat myself to a restaurant and a hotel.
On the 14th day I have to bypass the big industrial port of Zadar, because the ships cannot see me in the waves and are much faster than I can swim. I swim until Sukošan, where I have to take another rest day, because bad weather is predicted for



I spend the 14th day in a small apartment, where I use the rainy day to rest.

The next morning I go into the water with a light tailwind. In two days I want to be in Biograd, where I have an invitation to visit friends I met here last year. Shortly before Biograd I feel offshore current and suddenly I experience a moment of shock when I realize that I am drifting away from the land and I can hardly get against the current. Five kilometers off the coast there would be an island in case of emergency, but I definitely don’t want to go there. After ten minutes full speed ahead I manage to get out of the current and swim close to the shore for the rest of the day.

Two difficult days with headwind follow, on which I only manage seven and three kilometers, but the infrastructure on the coast is finally good and the weather changes. The next days I expect best conditions. It is getting warmer, 18 degrees, and the wind stays constant on north – tail wind.
I make very good progress, but now I have to make some longer crossings of several kilometers from island to island.
I pass the channel in the little town of Tisno and now I have to accelerate to meet my father and Markus Weinberg on Saturday evening. When I go ashore on Zlarin, it is already dawning. I take a path over a hilly headland and come to the bay where Markus and my father are anchored with a sailing yacht.
The next morning I go back to the starting point and another six kilometer crossing follows. Very unpleasant so far from the shore, because in this area I can never be sure if the wind will suddenly change or if there will be a current. Good thing is that there are only a few ships on the way at this time of year.
Despite the wind in the afternoon, I manage to cover almost 12 kilometers again and have now completed the first third of the swim.



Best conditions this week – 18-22° C warm, sun, in the afternoon mistral with light tailwind and little swell. Today I had my first unpleasant encounters with jellyfish swimming in my face. My full beard protects me a little bit, but the touches on my forehead and cheek burn intensely.
My father, Markus and 3 other guests are accompanying me the whole week by sailing yacht or dinghy to shoot for the new documentary about TRIATHLON 360DEGREE.
I still swim along the coast, but it is not straight. Therefore I have to make crossings of several kilometers from headland to headland again and again.
Today, after 200 kilometers, I broke the previous world record of the British Sean Conway for the longest swim distance he ever swam without support along the British coast. At the moment I have not yet completed half of my swim distance.
My wounds, which I got in the first two weeks of swimming, have now healed to a tolerable level. Instead, my mouth and throat have become inflamed by the much salt water. I cannot eat anything spicy anymore. The first wetsuit is completely torn open and had to be replaced.
After Trogir I experience one day of continuous rain and hard wind. I swim 3-4 kilometers and wait on land the next day. After another long crossing I reach Split the next day, where I spend the night and of course have a look at the old town.

November 2020


Markus Weinberg and my father have left. Until Dubrovnic I will be alone again. The day in Trogier begins with pouring rain. I go into the water anyway, but when after 4 kilometers the waves get higher, I can’t think about getting forward anymore.
The next day the weather has calmed down. Before Split I have a 2 kilometer long crossing with lots of boat traffic. It is getting dark very early now and I don’t quite make it to Split. In the morning I swim the last kilometer to the port of Split, but I have to get out of the water because the wind is so strong again that it makes no sense to swim against it.
So I take a hotel room in Split for 2 nights.
On the day when the weather allows it again, I manage 14 kilometers along the coast. I am now in probably the easiest part of the swim course. From Split it goes 70 kilometers south. Always close along the coast, which has hardly any bays and is shielded from the open sea by the islands of Brac and Hvar. Calm water, no wind, 20 degrees and sun. Every few kilometers there is a village with a supermarket and restaurant – perfect conditions.

Meanwhile I really reached the halftime mark with 230 kilometers swum. Meanwhile 2 articles have appeared in the local press, which lead to people waving to me from the shore again and again. Once a kayaker comes looking for me.                                                                                                I pass the last bigger city, Markaska, where I take the 200 meter wide harbour entrance in a sprint. The landscape is fantastic. Crystal clear water and beaches that invite you to spend the night. At a distance of about 50 meters a group of surely 10 dolphins swims past me.

The last 5 days I was in the water for 6-7 hours each. The result is that the already healed chafing and injuries are open again. There are 170 kilometers left and I have the feeling that I am already approaching the final sprint.




The week did not go quite as planned.
From Makarska I first head south, close along the coast. Towards evening I reach the small town of Igrane and am greeted by a Facebook follower Emil, who invites me to his restaurant and offers me his vacant apartment for the night.
A few kilometers further south I cross over to the tip of the island Hvar. The crossing is 5 kilometers wide and with a light tail wind no problem. My plan is to swim along the southern side of the island of Hvar until I reach the height of the northern tip of the Pelješac peninsula, and then make the 8 kilometer wide crossing.
In the evening I reach the lighthouse on the eastern tip of Hvar and swim to the village Sućuraj. I can spend the night in the port and the next day I set off towards my starting point for the planned crossing to the Pelješac peninsula.
Since it is still 15 kilometers to the starting point, I would like to cover the distance in 2 days to be rested for the difficult crossing.
After another 12 kilometers in the water I reach the bay Smokvina, my starting point for the crossing.
The morning starts windy for the first time and my window of time until it gets darker in the evening gets narrower. When I can finally swim away, I come into a strong east-west current near the shore, which pulls me towards the open sea. I break off and swim back to shore. Since I have no more food, I have to go back to Sućuraj.
In Sućuraj meanwhile the whole village knows what I am doing. I am invited for dinner and a fisherman lets me stay overnight on his excursion boat in the harbour. In the course of the evening some fishermen come by and show me where the currents are and warn me of suddenly appearing winds.
I realize that I cannot risk the crossing and decide to swim back to the mainland instead.
In the morning some villagers come to the lighthouse to say goodbye to me. I set course for the village of Drvenik, 5 kilometers away.
I will now continue along the coast and then cruise over to the Pelješac peninsula.
Still 2 weeks to Dubrovnic!


When I reach Gradac, a smaller town, nothing is open except a supermarket. The next challenge is the big industrial port of Ploče, which I reach in the afternoon around 15:00. I think about swimming through the bay for a while, but decide against it, because there are also big cargo ships on the way, which don’t see me. So I go ashore to have a look at the situation from a higher point of view and then I walk towards Ploče, which is 3 kilometers away at the end of the bay. At some point a barbed wire comes up, under which I crawl through and enter a military base unnoticed. I notice this at the other end, where the barbed wire fence is equipped with clear signs. This makes it clear that I cannot take the same way back without being in need of an explanation.
Directly after the bay of Ploče begins the delta of the Neretva, which here flows ice-cold into the only knee-deep delta.
Where the river flows in, the current is so strong that I am driven far out into the open water and finally I get into the twilight. I swim to the small village of Blace, where I find an open bar, which unfortunately has no menu. The owner is sitting with friends at the next table having dinner and brings me a sheep’s head as a present. This is a very unusual food.
The next day I swim the direct way over, 5 kilometers to the village of Streser.
The following day I approach the construction site of the Pelješac bridge, which is being built here by China to bypass the passage through Bosnia to the enclave Dubrovnic. But first I have to get out of the water already after 6 kilometers, near Brijesta. During the last days I am constantly cold. Today especially. Here in the bay flow many cold rivers, but I think that the real reason is somewhere else. I haven’t eaten well for days and probably no more warming fat reserves.
At the construction site, which I slowly approach, they won’t let me swim through for the time being. The huge construction site is surrounded by bars, behind which the Chinese workers live. After long discussions, a worker accompanies me through the construction site.
After 2 days I reach Mali Ston, the narrowest part of the peninsula I want to cross here.
On the other side of the peninsula the water is a bit warmer again and I plan to cover 12 kilometers for the day. The first 6 kilometers go well. At noon I go ashore where there is a luxury restaurant where the sailors usually moor.
In the afternoon I set off to cross the bay. After 2 kilometers the wind freshens up so strongly that I have to swim and turn back. Back at the restaurant I am happily welcomed by the two owners Toni and Maja. I am invited for dinner and get an apartment to stay overnight.
The weather forecast for the next days is very bad. To Dubrovnic there are still 38-40 kilometers to go, but now I have to wait here until it gets a bit quieter.



I am stuck. The weather is so bad that swimming is out of the question.
My hosts Toni and Maja are only here on weekends and are on their way to Split.
Now I’m alone in the bay and on the 2nd day I start walking back to Ston, 8 km in each direction, to stock up in the nearest supermarket for the next days.
After 2 days I can finally move on. The wind is still strong, but comes from diagonally behind.
I swim around the next headland and cross a 7 km wide bay. At the end of the day I have managed 11 kilometers. It is high time to finish the swim. It is noticeably windier now and the Bora often blows from the north, bringing currents and cold.
The weather forecast looks bad again. I know that I have to go somewhere on land again the next days. I had planned to take the shorter way along the offshore islands, where everything is closed now, and now I decide to take the slightly longer way along the mainland coast.
The next day goes well at first. In the afternoon the wind picks up and after 8 kilometers I turn off at a beach to wait for better weather.
Now I sit here for 2 days. The Bora is blowing with 20 knots of wind, but for tomorrow and the day after better weather is in sight. There are still 22 kilometers to Dubrovnic. I will swim around Dubrovnic to the old town and then go ashore in the old port. It’s a stupid feeling to have to wait again so close to the finish line, but the last weeks have taught me that it doesn’t make sense to swim in too strong a wind and end up stuck on some rock.



Arrival in Dubrovnic

November 25, 2020: After 54 days and 456 kilometres in the water my short, successful swimming career ends here. I am happy to have managed this, but I will not do it again.
I am happy to finally get on my bike again.


After arriving in Dubrovnic there is a small party in the evening and already the next morning the bikes are assembled. The goal is to start around noon and to roll up the 90 kilometers to Kotor in Montenegro. For the departure, a few riders from the Croatian Triathon Association will be there for the first kilometers, the Croatian Television and Markus Weinberg, who will accompany me this week. Around 3:00 p.m. we finally get going and immediately we start climbing steeply uphill on a very narrow road with lots of traffic but a great view of Dubrovnic and the sea.
Since we started late, we reach Kotor in Montenegro only around 21:00 and head for a hotel. What we did not know: In Montenegro there is a curfew from 18:00 h because of Covid and the restaurants are closed. Nevertheless, the receptionist of the hotel manages to have pizza delivered. We were lucky.

The next morning starts with a highlight, the ascent over 24 serpentines with a magnificent view, up to the mountain Lovćen at 1600 meters above sea level. The last 100 meters to the summit we have to walk and experience an incredible view up there. From here you can see 80% of Montenegro, look over to Albania, Croatia and Macedonia. We start the long descent on a small gravel road to Cetinje, the old capital of Montenegro and continue straight on until we reach darkness and find a hotel for the night in a small town. I am happy to be on the bike again. On the first day I still had some pain from the changeover, but slowly I’m getting in shape again.
On the 3rd day on the bike we reach Lake Scutari in the national park of the same name and wind our way along a narrow road, which is always up and down, just above the lake. We reach the Albanian border in the evening and continue on to the city of Shkodra.

The next day starts with a small pass at 800 meters. Few cars, mostly old Mercedes and BMW, which often honk to greet. In the evening we come back into the darkness and have some trouble finding a hotel for the night.

The next day starts again with a climb on a road where we have to zigzag around the potholes. In the evening we cross the border to Northern Macedonia and drive directly into the city of Debar.

I really enjoy cycling again. The stages are with 120-130 kilometers rather short, but that is due to the bad roads and short days.



December 2020


The morning begins cold. It is snowing and we have to cross a pass through the The morning begins cold. It is snowing and we have to cross a pass through the Mavrovo National Park and start the descent to Tetovo. A long valley leads us to the capital Skopje, where we drive directly to the Corona test center. We get the assurance to get the result within 20 hours.
The next morning we set off for Bulgaria. It is much colder than in Albania and towards evening we climb up to thousand meters where the border is. The temperature has dropped to -9°. We find a small store where we can warm up and drink tea and at some point my test results finally arrive and we can cross over to Bulgaria. There is a long descent on an icy road in biting cold and we have to pass 3 police controls. We arrive in the darkness in the city of Kyustendil, where everything is closed.
Markus leaves me the next morning. He turns here to fly back to Dresden from Sofia. My way leads me at -10°, on icy roads to Samokov, where I stay overnight. It is so cold that I drive with down jacket and everything I have. The next day starts with a small ascent and a long descent into the valley, which takes me to Plovdiv. It is depressing when everything is grey and foggy, intensified by the Bulgarian architecture. Grey, colorless buildings in socialist style. Even the landscape is monotonous. The side roads are in a miserable condition and the bigger ones are quite dangerous for cyclists because they have no hard shoulder. Reminds me very much of Russia.
After a stopover in Hamadil I finally reach the Turkish border. Here there are two crossings. The smaller one would be the right one for cyclists, but it would mean 40 kilometers of detour. I choose the big one near Edirne, which is a highway crossing. The Bulgarians let me pass, but on the Turkish side they have a problem with me riding my bike on the highway. I play stubbornly and after half an hour of discussion the problem is no more and I can pass.
I continue the 15 kilometers to the city of Edirne on the highway, which I have practically all to myself, because in Turkey there is a curfew on weekends – except for tourists and business travelers.
The streets are empty except for the dogs that chase me in every village. They try to bite my calves and I escape each time with a sprint. The few people I meet are very, very friendly. When I go out to get something to eat, I am not allowed to go in anywhere of course, I usually get a coffee as well.
I cycle a good 70 kilometers on dirt roads and at night I pass through a bigger city without any traffic. I still have 80 kilometers left to Istanbul, where I will arrive tomorrow afternoon.



On Monday, the weekend shut-down is over and I look for a way through the traffic chaos into Istanbul. I choose the highway, which widens from 2 to 4, to 6 and finally to 10 lanes, because all side roads are hopelessly congested.
Finally in the city, I meet Simon, a bike traveler who has driven here from Germany and from here on is stuck for the time being.
I enjoye the city with all its mosques, the Bosporus and the wonderful food. But I also use the time to visit different consulates. The question is how it will go on for me from here. The southern route is impossible at the moment because all countries east of Turkey have closed their borders to tourists. The only option left is the northern route via Romania to Russia and then directly to Vladivostok. So I try to get in contact with the Russian consulate. I try it by phone and by mail, but get no answer. The first attempt to call in person was canceled, but the next day I could finally get in, but was dispatched quite shortly with a negative decision.
I knew this could happen when I left Munich,  but being stuck here is still frustrating. I get my bike back in shape and decide to stay here for now and use the time to go around Turkey. I will go south along the Mediterranean coast to the Syrian border. Then along the Iranian border through the mountains, where it should be quite cold to the Georgian border. In order to stay well trained, I will not take the direct route, but will take every pass in the area if possible.
Early in the morning, still in the dark, I cross the Bosporus by ferry. Simon and his girlfriend accompany me for a while. Today I drive 130 kilometers and I am still in Istanbul. I don’t see a piece of undeveloped land.



I use the weekend curfew to drive out of Istanbul without traffic chaos.
It is not fun. 100 kilometers through dirty industrial and residential areas.
I drive around the Sea of Marmara, along the coast. Sometimes I make a detour over the surrounding hills and always stay on small roads. It rains all the time and the wind is sometimes so violent that I have trouble keeping on the bike. The roads, even the paved ones, are so muddy that I have to wash my bike every day. Nasty November weather.
I meet again Karo us Simon, who have not gone around the Sea of Marmara, but have taken the ferry. We camp one night together.
On Wednesday I cross a pass and change to another weather zone down to the Aegean Sea. The landscape is suddenly Mediterranean. There are olive trees, beach and sea. I choose a route on small roads through the mountains, because the coastal road is heavily traveled. I drive around Izmir and look for a more remote coastal strip.
I have not yet made any progress in further travel planning. First I’m stuck here and will probably have to stay here for some time.



On small mountain roads I ride in perfect conditions in the hinterland around Izmir.
In the meantime it has become warmer and I cover 120 – 160 kilometers a day. Is not very much, but is also the wrong direction.
Christmas I camp in an olive grove near Bodrum. Turkey is a Muslim country where Christmas is not celebrated, of course. So Christmas is a bit different for me as well.
I drive around Bodrum, where I meet another triathlete. I had sent him a package 4 weeks ago, which is still stuck in Turkish customs. Bodrum itself is too touristy for me, but south of it it gets really nice. Small dream roads, always directly along the sea.
Next to the road, through an olive grove down to the sea, I find a lonely beach where I make a fire and spend the night.
Now I am stuck again. Continuous rain. And my situation is not very motivating either.
The new Corona mutation makes it even more difficult to travel and as long as that doesn’t change. I am in in good hands here. There will soon be another 4-day lockdown here, which will ensure empty streets on which I may move as a tourist.


January 2021


This week I am driving south along the coast. First around the Bodrom peninsula, then over the Datca peninsula. A constant up and down with many metres of altitude. It is 20° warm and the water temperature is also good enough for swimming. Wonderful area with many lonely dream beaches.
I spend New Year’s Eve in a hotel. I thought there might be a beer somewhere, but everything is closed from 9pm.
In Fethiye I meet Simon and Caro again, who have taken a more direct route from Istanbul. Simon accompanies me up the 1970 metre high Babadag. The climb from sea level over 19-20 kilometres, with several 20 % ramps, is harder than anything you can find in the Alps. The reward is a magnificent view of the sea and the snow-covered Taurus mountains inland. Alpine conditions and dream beaches 10 kilometres away.
I camp on the beach for 2 more days and use the much free time for short trips into the surrounding area.


February 2021

WEEK 15-19

It finally goes on!

The last 4 weeks I was stuck in southern Turkey, I used for small training sessions in the area and at the same time looking for possibilities how it could go on for me.
Now a door has finally opened. The German Triathlon Union DTU, the German-Russian Forum and the Russian Olympic Committee have used their network to make an entry to Russia possible after all. As it looks, a visa will be ready for me next Friday at the Russian Consulate in Istanbul.
I will be on my way to Istanbul tomorrow.



On Monday, I finally move on. I leave Gözek, where I have had a great time the last few weeks thanks to Ravi’s hospitality, for Istanbul. I take the direct route over the mountains, which leads over several passes between 800 and 1200 metres.
The first night I am very lucky. It is already dark when I arrive at a restaurant where there is a wooden hut where I am allowed to spend the night.
Tuesday I get the update that my visa for Russia is not waiting in Istanbul after all, but has to be picked up in a Schengen country. The nearest Schengen country would be Greece, but I would have to go into quarantine there on entry. Also, the border between Greece and Turkey is closed and I would have to go via Bulgaria, where an additional test would be required.
I’ll take a diversion on Wednesday via Uzak, where there is a DHL agency, and send a passport and power of attorney from there to Switzerland so that my father can pick up the visa at the Russian Embassy in Bern. Hopefully this will work and the passport will be back in my hands in time before I get to the Russian border.



It’s Sunday. The day begins with the heaviest snowfall in Istanbul in 25 years. The reports are all over the news. It’s just below zero degrees, cold north wind and lots of slush. Extremely poor cycling conditions and then decide to go anyway, because Monday the lockdown is over and I would then have to go through the traffic chaos again. Since everything is wet immediately and the wind is blowing so hard that I can hardly see anything, it is bitterly cold. I only manage 70 kilometers and want to continue the next day on smaller roads. All of a sudden there is a real snowstorm and chaos breaks out on the roads. The cars skid and break down. The snow removal doesn’t keep up, because one is not used to such things here. I get as far as Kirklareli, the last bigger town before the Bulgarian border, where I take another Coronatest, which I need for the entry into Romania.
The border is at 1300 meters. I drive down to Bulgaria and have to step on the gas because I will meet Markus Weinberg in Constanta and of course also because of the limited validity of the Coronatest.
The next day it snows again. I make speed, drive in the evening still by Warna and to 40 kilometers before the Romanian border. I set up my tent in the snow in a forest. Unfortunately I have no winter equipment with me and the cold comes from below through the mat. I freeze myself through the night. In the morning it is minus 9 degrees.
In Constanta I meet Markus, who arrives a bit late. We spend the night in Constanta and the next day we continue with the boring roads. Agriculture or heavy industry from communist times.
In the evening we find an abandoned cowshed where we can spend the night, but it also still smells quite fresh.
The next day we drive to Galati, just before the Moldavian border.


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