2012 Oberpfalzer Seenland Quadrathlon, German Championships

Russell Breyer is a newcomer to quadrathlon, (albeit a third season triathlete and occasional paddler), what better way to try a new sport than to load up the car and hoik the family right across to Eastern Bavaria for a top level race? The risk, of course, was of coming last by miles. But what the heck.

My German is next to non-existant, so signing up and getting help with general orientation placed me in the hands of Stefan Teichert, the race director. Fortunately, nothing was too much trouble for Stefan, and it was lovely, when we arrived beside the lake, to have him come bounding over, to check we were all OK, a service he repeated throughout the weekend.

The setting was stunning – a clear watered lake, ringed with forests, dotted with islands. The organisation of the event (there were sprint, standard and middle distance triathlons running alongside the quad) was, well, German. Everything worked with precise efficiency, with spot-on timing, no fuss or muck-ups. Stefan was the epitomie of relaxed bonhomie, and raced in the quad himself, despite his key role in proceedings.

Race day was fine and mild with mostly clear skies and a light breeze (while you lot were getting rain-lashed at the Adventure Challenge!). The swim took us on a single lap around an island. Being out of sight of the finish point for much of the swim made calculating progress a little hard, but otherwise it was lovely. The cycle leg took us on sweeping roads through brooding Bavarian forest. The distance was a little shorter than a standard 40km, at 35km, but I have no problem with that!

The 8km kayak leg involved five laps around the island. This was my first ever kayak race so I was a little disadvantaged by my poor technique and uncompetitive craft (my trusty Pyranha Fusion. You could drive a truck over it, but it is hardly a lean, mean, racing machine). But I stayed in touch, more or less, and learnt a great deal.

The 10km run was a delight, two laps through the shoreside forest, on level, lightly gravelled track. It could have been designed with all my preferences in  mind, and I had a flier.

Now, experienced quadrathletes will have a far greater sense of the european quadrathlon scene than I do, but it struck me that it consists of the same 30 or 40 folk racing each other half a dozen times a year at various points in central europe. Am I right? Anyway, they were a very friendly bunch, and I had a great time. The presentation ceremony was interminable, as it covered all the races, including relays, and I understood not a word, except the bit where they called me up to collect a gong for 3rd placed Male over 50, a fair return for 3hrs 45 mins of effort.

I’d recommend this event to anyone, if you can manage the 9 hour drive from Calais. Well, I now have the quad bug, so you will see me at Brigg, and various other points on the compass (at least, you will if you cast a backward glance as you are racing!) PS, I am now on the lookout for a second hand racing kayak suitable for a 6ft lump with so-so paddling skills, if anyone has such a thing going unused.

Congratulations Russel, and excellent first Quadrathlon and a great report, Thanks! We look forward to seeing you at the Brigg Bomber, and hope you become a regular on the British Quadraththlon Circuit.