Faris Al-Sultan - Ironman World Champion ITU Cross Worldchampionship

The ITU Cross WC incorporated into the O-See-Challenge, Zittau was worth a visit.

The wild East, I’ve been several times to the East of Germany but never in the Lausitz region so far.

Many houses an roads are redone, the main square in Zittau wasn’t finished yet but close there is still some reminders of the GDR but basically the taxeuro was working well.

What was kind of funny is that in one of Zittaus best restaurants, bavarian imperialism was at work and the waiters wore “Dirndl” and “Lederhosn”.

Probably sooner than later every German between Flensburg and Berchtesgaden is wearing south bavarian clothing and calls himself “Zenzi” or respectively “Franz”, and Munich will be voted as new capital.

Back to the race what started out as a fun race of the local endurance community developed into the biggest Xterra race in Germany with a solid organisation and a good course.

Unfortunately at first Storck didn’t have a new bike for me so I had to get my old bike fit, in the technical rough descents it sounded as if it shatters to pieces but Storck’s are tough.

Two days before the race Jens Buder from Storck brought me his bike and that was a gamechanger. A hybrid bike with 29 front 27,5 back wheel, 1-11 XX1 SRAM, Magura brakes and an electronic fork, Dt Swiss wheels.

I took it to the course the next day and I was flying not on my behind over the course.

Unfortunately when I came back from my ride in high spirits it started to rain, cats and dogs and on race day the course was soaked and after 500 agegroupers rode over it ploughed.

To cut the story short my swim was solid and for the first 8km uphill technically easy I was racing, as soon as we hit the mud I hit the brakes and kept my bones from breaking, walking all the difficult downhill parts I rode, ok slowly but still, the other days. The run was also more a figureskating competion than a run but I still enjoyed it.

 All in all I avoided being chicked and washed down my frustration with a few Schwarzbier.

© Meike Maurer/Tritime