An exclusive race with new bike course 2017
Posted on: Sonntag 4th Dezember 2016
Regensburg, December 3rd 2016 – The premiere of Challenge Regensburg 2016 was a huge success. Numerous national and international Pros and hundreds of age group athletes enjoyed the race and the unique finish line at the iconic cathedral square. After evaluating numerous letters and a large-scale athletes’ survey, the organizer is working to make the race even more attractive. We talked to race director Tom Tajsich and asked for an insight into the innovations and the current state of the organization work.
Hello Mr. Tajsich,
you want to establish Challenge Regensburg as an exclusive race and set a “benchmark in terms of quality”. That sounds great, but what does that mean in detail?
In Germany and its surrounding countries, there are quite a lot of long distance races. Many of these races have similar problems, e.g. The much discussed drafting problem, busy aid stations, too many athletes on the course and quality deficiencies due to a rising cost pressure. When an athlete signs up for a race with 2,000 or more starters he has to know that these problems will most likely occur.
We do not want to get in line with those races. We want to organize an exclusive race.
In order to create a race that clearly stands out from existing events, you basically need three things:
- Innovative power.
- Listening to the wishes of the athletes.
- Having the courage to go different ways.
Of course you will never be able to satisfy all athletes at once. One type of athletes hunts personal bests, the other wants a race as hard as possible. One wants the above-mentioned mass event, the other prefers the more exclusive style as we want to offer it to our athletes.
You’re talking about innovative concepts and the courage to go new ways – what are your plans?
Our big innovation for 2017 is the Challenge For Two. We did not invent the format, the idea was brought to us by an athlete, but in my opinion the project is an innovation. And for me, it is a further step to give the Challenge Regensburg its own special character.
Athletes can experience the flair of a long distance at Challenge For Two without racing the full distance. Their „half distance“ has nothing to do with a half distance in its normal sense. Team spirit and an experience together are the additional components. And you have to think about strategies to manage the breaks while the team partner is racing his half of the discipline. That makes it particularly exciting for me. Just these days, I have seen a formate similar to that: the new biathlon discipline single mixed relay. And yes, of course you need the courage to go new ways, because you always polarize with such ideas.
But in order to ensure a smooth race, we have limited the number of teams to 300. With our special offer of 395 euro starting fee by 31 December, I can well imagine that the team slots are soon to be sold out.
Also, in total, we limit the number of athletes to 1,000 (600 single, 300 Challenge For Two teams and 100 relays) for 2017. This does not make it easy to finance the event, but we have very good partners, who allow us to take this step towards quality assurance. For athletes this means: Checking in without crowds, enjoy a familiar, perfectly organized race and above all, no need to be afraid of drafting problems.
Probably the biggest innovation besides the Challenge For Two is the new bike course which will be three instead of two laps in 2017. Initially one might immediately think of big drafting pulks now. How does this change fit into your quality concept?
After the premiere this year, we got a lot of athletes feedback on our bike course. We’ve spent a lot of time on discussions with experts and Pro athletes to find out how and whether it makes sense to change our quite hard course to a very fast track. 2017 we decided to follow the wishes of many of the athletes and offer the possibly fastest bike course of the world.
So far we had a long and exhausting climb of 500 meters over twelve kilometers on the course, which had to be passed twice. The lactate grown there was almost impossible buffer, especially on the second loop. Now we have a perfectly smooth, rolling course with a total of 600 meter in altitude.
Of course, a flat course is more risky for drafting problems. But we are sure: with the participant limit and a very well monitored track, in close coordination with the referees, we have created the base for a fair race. We want to prove that both is possible: a fast track and a fair race! This is also exclusive for me!
Three loops are also more appealing to spectators. Has that been another reason for the change?
As amazing as our old route was, for the most part, attractive passages were difficult or impossible for spectators to reach. However, every athlete wants a lot of spectators alongside the course. Especially when it gets tough, cheerings can simply give motivation. The new bike course will be built around the already very successful party spots in Mintraching and Aufhausen and new ones will also be added.
A real highlight will await the participants near Aufhausen at the “project party hill Petzkofen”. Here, where the athletes will pass three times, we’ll shuttle spectators directly from the swim start. The hill with a perfect slope is easily accessible. I do not want to go too far out on a limb, but I can see real “solar mountain” potential for the next years. The sports club Aufhausen has already shown huge commitment in 2016 and has put up a great party!
The route has also both tried and tested scenic spots as well as some new wonderful passages to offer. The variety between cheering mood in the small villages and the idyll alongside the Danube has always been great. Personal best hunters will of course be able to enjoy that only limitedly ☺
Which exclusive measures can the athletes look forward to additionally?
Our marathon route through the UNESCO World Heritage Town Regensburg and the finish line at the iconic Cathedral Square are unique to me anyway. It does not get any more exclusive (laughs). This was confirmed by our athletes in the huge athletes survey. But we’re planning some amazing details!
Exclusivity begins on the day of arrival and ends with departure. The registration office in the historical ducal hall and the friendliness of the staff have set standards this year. Also the catering around the event was exclusive and well take that one step further next year: We’ll offer a typical Bavarian white sausage breakfast at the awards ceremony.
Anyone who does not want to race crowded courses and wants to experience a special race, I’d advise to race Challenge Regensburg!