Monday, April 14, 2008

radrenn training fahrt ["not TNWC"]

from our intrepid german reporter
dear mostly reverend--
Here's an account of the training race I did. On Sunday, I woke up early for a training race that I was going to do here in Hamburg. They're called RTF's (Radrenn Training Fahrt) While riding there with my friend, I asked him how many people might show up. Now, I was expecting it to be like a typical training race, and I had a ballpark figure in my head of around 100. And he replied. ''Well, with the nice weather, maybe a thousand.'' ''Holy Shit,'' I said, ''Is that normal?'' ''Yeah, it's still early in the season, there's usually more in the summer.'' A thousand people. No, a thousand bike racers on open streets, some of whom take these RTF's very seriously. They take crazy risks: running red lights, dodging tractors on narrow roads, and every thing else dangerous, all for the sake of their own pride. They can't let their buddy beat them, right? To do these RTF's, you're supposed to pay 4 euro, and then you get a number. Well, I didn't pay the entry fee, but I have two legitimate reasons. 1. I didn't have 4 euro 2. I didn't feel like paying for a race in which there was no actual finish line. That's right, race numbers, but no finish line. I was a little confused but I just put it in the ''funny things to remember'' part of my brain and started riding my bike. So, since the ride/race was on open roads, I just started riding conveniently on the same course as this event was about take place. When, I looked back at a group of a 1000 bike riders behind me, you can understand my bewilderment. So, I did what any bike rider would do when they are about to get caught, I started riding fast with them. The ride was split into three distances, 60, 110 and 150 kilometers. There were less than confusing signs on the road showing the direction for all of them, and you could choose whatever distance you like. Everyone in my group opted for the 150, none of us wanted to be the pussy that didn't do the extra 40 kilometers. So, we rode fast and it was fun, and after 50k or so, I saw a red sign with the letter K and 200 meters. In my raced out, brainwashed mind, I instantly assumed it was some sort of sprint and reached instantly for the drops. But to my surprise, we turned into a fire station and an awesome spread of everything lovely. Bread, fruit, granola bars, cake, juice, water... All free and delicious for us. Before ride was over, we had made two more stops like this one, and I had had four rosinen brötchen with nutella. Awesome. I really enjoyed my first RTF, it's a little less stressful than doing UCI races in Belgium. Hopefully, I'll be able to do some more of them later on. -Andy

1 comment:

Steve Fuller said...

I'd like to see these around here. 10K or so. Stops for food every 2K or so. I think we could get a good turnout for those.