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Challenge Roth Is Quite the Challenge.

The Real Competition

I’m not bitter… anymore.  At first, I felt a bit cheated, but now I’m OK.

Last week was the opening of internet registration for the Challenge Roth 2016 triathlon.  I’ve talked about this race before.  It’s a doozy:  200,000 spectators.   If you’ve ever watched a triathlon from the sidelines, you know that triathlon is NOT a spectator sport.  But the folks of Roth, Germany and the surrounding villages come out for this race like no other.

But First You Have to Register

The registration process is not too complicated.  They take 1000 registration applications on site the day after the race.  I wasn’t there, so I couldn’t do that.  I had to wait for July 20th 2015 to come around so I could take part in the internet registration.  I think they take 2500 applications at that time.   I’m sure there’s also some behind-the-scenes registration deals going on for corporate sponsors and businesses and palm greasers.  Then there’s another internet registration party in December for any openings that weren’t filled to that point.

The Starting Line Before the Starting Line

So there I was on Monday morning, ready to register for Challenge Roth 2016.  It was 3:55am.  The process was to begin promptly at 4:00am.  Why 4:00am?  Good question.  The people who run the show are located in Roth, Germany.  They decided to open the process at 10:00am CET which is 4:00am EDT.   But I was wide awake and ready.  With one hand on the track pad and one hand on the keyboard I felt like I was in the pole position for this race.

2500 applications seems like a lot, but it really isn’t.  I don’t know what the exact demand is for this race, but the 2015 race sold out in a matter of minutes: three, I think.

As soon as my network connected smartphone clock said 3:58, I was refreshing my browser screen to see if they had opened registration a bit early.  No such luck, so I kept refreshing it until finally, at exactly 4:00am, I got an entry form.  I filled it out as fast as I could:

  1. Name

  2. Birthdate

  3. Country of residence

  4. Email

  5. Email again

  6. Checkbox for who knows what disclaimer I agreed to


ERROR!  I messed up the date.  Why do us Yanks use month-day-year format?  I hate that.  It makes no sense, but that’s what I’m conditioned to do, so that’s what I did.  The Euros use day-month-year which makes much more sense to me.  I should have known that.  So I made the correction and resubmitted.  I didn’t have to wait long for the response.

Sorry. There are no more available spots for the 2016 Challenge Roth…

I’m paraphrasing there, but the meaning is perfectly clear:  I GOT IN just in time.  All I had to do was wait for my confirmation email and then… wait a minute.  For a brief second I was in denial.  I came to my senses and realized that I missed out.

Damn! That Was Fast

I lost this competition to just get to the competition.  The clock said 4:01am.  What the…?  In less than a minute, I went from extreme excitement to total despair.   That’s the emotional equivalent of jumping off a cliff.  At first you have a beautiful view of the world, then you see nothing but dirt (if you’re alive enough to see it).

Keep Looking Ahead

Sure, I was bummed.  I was even upset.  But that didn’t last long, because you have to keep looking ahead.  There’s always another race and there’s always another year.    In fact, there’s still a chance that I could get in to Challenge Roth 2016 in the December internet registration.

And…  I feel the makings of a TriRiot episode here.

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