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Triathlon around Germany2020-07-21T10:16:27+02:00

On the 22nd of July, I will set of for the first ever Triathlon around Germany – 16-times Ironman distance along the borders of my home country.

I will swim roughly 60 km from Lindau across Lake Constance, switch to the bike to cycle clockwise around Germany until reaching Bavaria where I will switch to my running shoes and finish with 16-times marathon back to Lindau.

As always the trip is without support vehicle and I am carrying all my gear with me. The goal is to do it fast but not as fast as I can. It is primarily a warm-up and equipment test for my upcoming Triathlon 360 degree – The first ever Triathlon around the world.

You can follow my journey on the live tracker and I am happy about everyone who wants to join for a bit. Please be aware that I cannot answer personal messages about my timeplan; but my performance is pretty predictable and you can simply plan ahead and wait for me on the route.

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Diary of my Triathlon around Germany

August 2020

Day 33

First Triathlon around Germany complete.

Back in Lindau after 16-times Ironman distance around the country in 31 days. The warm-up is done… Now it is time for the proper challenge #triathlon360degree. Starting 26th of September in Munich.

A big thanks to all the strangers who joined for a bit and gave me some company over the past 4 weeks!

Day 32

Lake Constance at sight. Nice and hilly day and my proper last running day with 48km. Now sleeping outside Lindenberg and ready for the last 20 km back to my starting point tomorrow.  E.T.A. is 12 am at the Lindau harbourfront.

 

Day 31

I can smell the finish line. In the morning I run into Füssen for breakfast and then decide to not run back to my original route but instead run up to Salober and then along the ridge.  Roughly the same distance but with a nice view and climb on an otherwise rather easy day. In the afternoon its constant up and down with great views of the Alpes and a few lakes. One of them I use for refreshment. Feeling super strong and 42 km done again.  Less than 70km left now for a nice finish on Sunday noon.

Day 30

Long day with 46km of running. In the morning I went up a long valley and was very fast until the afternoon when I went up to a pass at 1.800 meters and the trail was more climbing than running but absolutely beautiful.  A long descend down to Neuschwanstein castle and an evening jump into the Alpsee to reward me for the day of running. I also met up with Bayrischer Rundfunk for an Interview.  Its coming on Bayern 1 tomorrow and BR24 on Monday. Feeling good and eager for the final push back to Lindau.

Day 29

Getting close to the finish line. A rainy start followed by an amazing day across the Karwendel mountain range. I followed beautiful small trails along rivers and across the mountains all day.  I also took the opportunity for a much needed shower in the river. Cold but rewarding.

After 42 km I found a nice sleeping spot with some shelter and a view of Zugspitze.

 

Day 28

I get off in heavy rain and climb up to Rosskopf.  The descend is again very slippery and I am completely wet on the other side. Now I follow a long valley for 30km and in the afternoon the sun comes out. Its a beautiful and wild area far away from any village.  In the evening I turn onto a small path and climb up to Sylvenstein lake. I find a sleeping spot behind a fire Departement.

Day 27

Another climbing stage with 2.000 meters of elevation. In the morning I went up Wendelstein with gorgeous views into the Inn valey and across the mountains. Steepest and longest climb so far with over 1.000 meters of elevation. On the second climb it started to rain heavily making my descend very slippery and slow. Though the view of the clouds above lake Spitzing was definetely worth it. I am now in my former home training territority and know every trail around here. When I still lived full time in Munich this was the best weekend escape. 240 km left for a weekend finish in Lindau.

Day 26

I wake up freezing as my sleeping bag got wet from the morning mist. I start running at 6am to get warm and quickly reach the first summit. Now the mist is gone and its beautiful morning view with the peaks around. I descend for 8 km to a village where I find a bakery. I am starving after missing dinner. Now conditions are perfect and I climb up and down the next pass to Michael who is waiting with cake, Snickers and Cola.  After the break I climb up again to a small mountain pass. The scenery is stunning and reminds me of my weekend playground when I was living full time in Munich. I use the nice weather to shower in the river and wash my clothes. The descend is long with several steep sections causing some pain in my left heel. Otherwise,  I am feeling strong and also the böister us improving. After 44 km and 2.000 meters of elevation I reach Nussdorf next to the Inn river and find a pizza place. 500 meters before the Pizza I had seen a closed open air theater and walk back, perfect for spending the night.

 

Day 25

Waking up tired after fighting to stay dry all night as water was coming down the hill and formed a small pond where I was sleeping.  After 10 km there is a construction on the hiking path with no way around and I have to detour a few km. Now it starts raining heavily and my shoes and socks will stay wet for the rest of the day causing a blister und my left foot.  In the afternoon the weather improves and I climb up to a pass and push down the other side to make it to a Restaurant. Unfortunately the trail is very steep and rocky so I am hiking up and am even slower on the downhill. When it gets dark I am still far from the Restaurant and also couldnt find a sheltered sleeping spot. I sleep behind a tree in the end hoping it wont rain.

Day 24

I leave my camping spot early and follow a nice trail that goes up and down with great views of the mountains. At noon I reach Königssee and stop for lunch with the German Bob national Team around World Champion Johannes Lochner. The guys join for a bit afterwards, some of them can run up to 40km/h, the complete opposite of my strength.  Now I climb up to Grünstein on a sterp hiking trail and then descend into Ramsau. Again it starts to rain heavily and I decide to stop a bit short of target when I find a wooden shed with a roof. The risk of sleeping wet is simply too high and I can push for a few more kilometers tomorrow.

Day 23

I wake up very tired after the night with mosquitoes. My sleeping bag is also slightly wet from condensation water, definetely the worst spot so far. Shortly after starting I get company by triathlete Cindy who runs most of the morning with me. After 28 km i take a long lunch break and then continue the final bit to Bad Reichenhall. In the evening it rains heavily and I get concerned about my sleeping spot. Luckily,  I find a wooden hut after 43km next to a small river. Some proper luxury.

Day 22

Another long day along the Austrian border with 43 km. I struggled a bit with my left foot when setting off but it got better in the afternoon. I followed the Salzach river all day with some nice but not changing scenery.  In the evening there were thousands  of mosquitoes and I didnt even want to stop to get food out of my backpack. I looked for half an hour to find a sleeping spot with a bit less mosquitoes but still barely slept as they were all over me the entire night.

Approaching the Alpes now and looking forward to a change from the river monotony.

 

 

Day 21

Another 50km along the Inn river with great company today.

Triathlete Karl already joined me yesterday evening for a bit and had promised some great food in his Restaurant 26km from my sleeping spot. So I had a target for the morning.

I had some issues with my left food on this section but not too bad. After a tasty, big lunch and some rest we set out together with Karl and some of his friends when it wasnt that hot anymore. After 50 km I found a pizzaplace  and a nice worden hut next to it where I slept for the night.

Day 20

Picking up speed along the Inn river with  another day with over 50 km. After 15 hilly days I reached Passau and from there on followed the river. 200km flat km until Berchtesgaden and the Alpes. A few runners and triathletes joined today, giving me some Company and motivation on the flat trail along the river. Oh, and there was food, plenty of it. Feeling strong and loooking forward to keep up the pace over the next flat days.

Day 19

Further increasing the distance with 51 km today but a serious lack of food.
Beautiful morning with a 7km run up to Dreisessel. From there I followed on hilly terrain along the Austrian border and are now in the outskirts of Passau. As my body is adapting to the running I felt strong all day and motivated to increase the distance. However, food intake has become unsustainable as I am on a serious calories deficit.  I had dry bread with water for breakfast, a cake, coke and Pizza for lunch and a few cookies in the afternoon.  When I reached a restaurant in the evening the kitchen was already closed. Absolutely starving in my sleeping bag on a cosy spot in the forrest.
Very happy Weekend is over and supermarkets open again. With my ultralightweight approach I cant carry more than half a day of food.

Day 18

I set off at 7 am after a night under beautiful stars.  The path continues directly along the chechz border with some nice views. I pass Lusen, one if the highest mountains in the area and then descend into the village of Mauth. Unfortunedly, supermarket,  bakery and so on are alteady closed and i struggle to find food. I continue running in the afternoon but now get very hungry. Before sunset I decide to detour into s small village where i still find and open Restaurant. After dinner I sleep a few hundreds meters furter in the forrest. 45 km today , slowly picling up speed.

Day 17

An early start at 6.00 am for the last 50 km on the bike. These were challenging though with two long climbs and over 1.000 meters of elevation. Arrived at 9.30 am at the bike Shop Radsport Leitl in Zwiesel where I had sent my running gear. Very nice and helpful reception by the Team and a few journalists. It took some time to change everything and I also joined the bike Shop for lunch before setting off in my running shoes.
A rather slow start as my muscles were adapting from cycling to running. I felt much better after the first 15 km but then had quiet a few hiking sections on the way up and down to Großer Rachel at 1.400 meters to avoid an injury on the rocky trail with dense vegetation. Found a beautiful sleeping spot between the trees when it got dark. Up at an marathon per day speed tomorrow.

Day 16

A challenging start with steep climbs through the Vogtland.  Around 10 am I reach Bavaria, the final state of my journey around Germany.  A TV crew us waiting at the state border and follows for a while. I continue through the hills and its getting very hot. I push hard as I wanted to meet a friend for dinner. In the evening there is more climbing and I finish in the dark after 230 km with 3.500 meters of elevation at a Pizzeria and nice dinner with Gerhard, a race Organisator from Bavaria. I ride out of town and sleep behind a small hut. 50 km left on the bike.

Day 15

King stage through the Erzgebirge. After the flat past days I was ready for a change and had some beautiful and steep climbs. Got some great company in the morning and afternoon and made a little stop in Bad Schandau for a TV Interview in MDR. Now already in Bavaria pushing towards the last change into my running shoes.

Day 14

Start in Frankfurt/Oder flat through Brandenburg with good conditions. In the beautiful old town of Görlitz I take a longer break and then continue to the border triangle Germany / Poland / Czech Republic. From Zittau it finally gets hilly again and I am now driving west accompanied by a cyclist who invites me to stay overnight.

Day 13

High speed day along the polish border. Flat roads and a tailwind all day were pushing me forward despite quiet a lot of cobblestone sections in the morning that were properly testing my bike.
Nature here was nice as its very sparsely populated. I stopped in Frankfurt/Oder after over 300km and am now approaching Saxonia and the Erzgebirge. Looking forward to some climbing.

Day 12

Beautiful and long day across Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. I set off in Kiel early morning and followed close to the coast of the baltic sea with some nice views and great company by several riders during the day. Very few people around here with long empty roads and nature, my favorite stage so far. Just having Pizza  before looking for a bivy spot and an early Start tomorrow along the Polish borders.

Day 11

Long day around Schleswig-Holstein. I took the ferry across the Elbe early morning and then cycled north towards Denmark with great company on small empty roads. Passed the halfway mark of cycling around in Flensburg at noon with strong tailwind all morning. In the evening two cyclists from Kiel joined and I followed the dinner invitation after 260 km.
Setting of from Kiel now to ride along the Baltic sea towards the polish border today .

Day 10

Super flat day with less than 200 meters of climbing through Friesland. Mostly nice and empty roads, some good company but definetely a severe lack of hills for a climbing like me. Just having dinner and then i will look for a nice sleeping spot next to the Elbe as i missed the last ferry to Glückstadt. Will take it early morning tomorrow and make my loop around Schleswig-Holstein with lunch in Flensburg and probably dinner in Kiel.

July 2020

Day 9

Long day in the saddle with 275km completely flat along the dutch border with great Company all.
Patrick was joining for the first half and another group joined at noon.
I pushed further into the night with a motivating invitation for a barbecue and beer in Wietmarchen.
This Triathlon is turning into a beer tasting journey with great local beers the last three nights.
I have now reached Niedersachsen and will cross the Elbe into Schleswig-Holstein tonight.

Day 8

The first real mountain steppe through the Eifel. To the start it goes along the Saar and I am not alone for long. After a few kilometres Ralf is waiting for me and accompanies me all day long until Aachen. From Trier it gets wavy along the Luxembourg border through beautiful nature. A hardly populated area and we actually don’t pass a supermarket for 140 kilometres. The climbs are not long but continuous and with wide views to Luxembourg and later Belgium. Today the conditions are ideal with little wind and great weather. For the last kilometers the boys from Ryzon, a photographer and two other companions join us and we roll together through the national park. Shortly before Aachen there is a small stop in the beer garden and today we also have a place to stay overnight. 250 kilometres with 3300 metres of altitude difference, the last ones for the next few days, because from now on motorway bridges are the mountain classifications.

 

Day 7

Great day on the bike. Got a lot of company with several people joining for some streches of my route. Nice climbing through Pfälzer Wald in the morning and then some strong headwinds in the afternoon through the Saarland. Now approaching Trier early morning.

Day 6

Finally back on the bike. After a good breakfast I start at 8 o’clock always along the Swiss border. On mostly small paths it goes hilly until Basel and then flat through the Rhine valley. At noon it gets very hot and I take an ice cream break. I enjoy every moment and notice how my body slowly recovers from the swimming injuries. After 254 km I treat myself to a pizza and look for a place to sleep. I am looking forward to the next days on the bike.

Day 5

I start at 7 in the rain and make good progress.  The wind forecast indicates strong headwind from noon on and I accelerate. The first 9 kilometres go well, always along the lonely and spectacular south shore.  Here there is a deep break-off edge and I usually don’t see the reason.  At noon the wind and the waves come and I hardly make any progress. The last kilometres to Bodman are extremely hard with partly current and strong wind.  In Bodman I get out of the water and change to the bike. My father and some cyclists wait and accompany me on the first 35 kilometres to get warm. I am happy to be with my paradise discipline now and my body can recover a little.  It was a very good test for the big triathlon in September and I will make some adjustments. But the most important thing: If you can swim 70 kilometers, you can swim 460 kilometers, it just takes a bit longer.

Day 4

I start before 7 o’clock to escape the wind and swim the first seven kilometres without any problems.  In Habnau I am just about to go ashore when a stand up paddler comes towards me. A reader of the Triathlon Magazine, and he has sweet pieces with him. Shortly after that another cyclist appears with coffee and pretzels, the break gets a little longer. 4 kilometers later I reach Meersburg and circumnavigate the port. Afterwards a tail wind comes up and I make fast progress. Meanwhile I have several open wounds from sunburn and an old bicycle injury. Will definitely change something here for the big triathlon around the world. In the evening the lake gets calmer and I cross near Mainau to escape the strong headwind tomorrow.  It’s now almost 20 kilometres and only 15 to Bodman. I am looking forward to the bike.

Day 3

After a bad night in the park I walk around the big ferry terminal in Friedrichshafen and go into the water at the quay wall.  Suddenly 2 waiters come and ask if I can get you two chairs from the lake. Drunk people apparently threw them over the railing last night. As a reward I get invited for coffee and croissants and start a little later.  The first 5 kilometres are going well until suddenly strong wind from the front and waves appear.  The raft keeps pulling me backwards and I hardly make any progress. After a break I swim on in the afternoon, but only very slowly. After 10 kilometres I reach a beautiful island and spend the night there. I would have been able to swim a little further, but then I couldn’t find a place to sleep in the city.
I have now learned that headwind on the water is much heavier than on the bike and I will start earlier tomorrow.

Day 2

Perfect conditions in the morning without waves and wind. I make very good progress and after 7 kilometres I take my first break. The only difficulty was the crossing of a big marina. Only after several minutes there was a bigger gap to swim across quickly. After the break the water became very shallow. I swim far out, but still I keep hitting the ground with my hands. Despite 50 sunscreen my neck is now totally burnt. The last kilometers to Friedrichshafen are stretching and I run out of food. After 15 kilometres I reach the city and get out of the water in front of the big harbour. I have to go around it because of the many liner ships. Directly at the harbour I find a supermarket and buy my food for the next day. With wetsuit and raft I draw some curious looks. I treat myself to a pizza and look for a park where I bivouac for the night.

Day 1:

I start at 1:00 pm from the Lindau Island. A few local media and someone kayak came to accompany me the first few kilometers.  There is a light headwind and current but I make good progress. My raft lies well in the water and only slows me down minimally. After 4 kilometers I swim ashore at a small swimming spot and eat something. In the water I eat a bar every 20 minutes but that is not enough and a big challenge when swimming.  After a short thunderstorm the lake becomes calm and windless. Perfect conditions and a beautiful sunset on the remaining kilometers.  In the twilight after 10 kilometers I am searching the shore for a place to sleep when a SUP suddenly appears next to me and invites me home.
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