Rockin’ Roth – RACE DAY for Ben Wickham!
It has been an epic journey to get there… and now Ben Wickham can report back on his race at the 2017 Challenge Roth! “Roth is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I get it now, and I’ll be back.”
We’ve been following his Rockin’ Roth journey, and now you can see how it all ended.
I’m not really sure where to start with this one. Maybe at the end.
I crossed the finish line in Roth ten hours and 26 minutes after the cannon boomed in the canal. Significantly slower than I hoped for, but given how things went down, I’m not complaining.
The swim was less ‘drafty’ than I expected. Too near the back to start with, by the time I saw clear water we were hitting the back of the women’s wave and overhauling them too fast to find a set of feet to sit on. Still, happy with 1:05.
The bike was going great until my chain exploded 30km in. I’m guessing I screwed up the pin when I put it on. Cue a 20min roadside wait for a neutral service bike to get a chain breaker. Again, 5:40 is decent enough given that. From the second lap of the bike the heat really kicked in, and stayed with us for the marathon. By 20km into the run I was losing feeling in my fingers, feeling sick and struggling to see straight or take food on. I hung on for what felt like the longest run of my life. A 3:30 split for the marathon frankly amazed me when I saw the clock.
But none of this does justice to this amazing race. From the feel good expo, to hanging out with Jan Frodeno leading up the day, and the whole circus around the town of Roth. The start is simply epic, and swimming under a crowd of cheering fans on the bridge is as inspiring as it looks. The bike course is beautiful. The many parties going on in the cute Bavarian towns were so much fun. The climb up Solar Hill will live with me forever.
At all points the friendliest volunteers got me through this day, and although I was struggling to focus, the atmosphere on the run course is better than anything I’ve seen before. The design also means that not only did I see Daniela Ryf pound past me on her way to the win, but also Great Britain’s own Jane Hansom on her way to a PB and 6th overall. That, and the wonderful Chrissie Wellington smiling through her relay run leg, and cheering everyone, on when we needed it the most.
We spent hours last night at the finish line party, a three hour festival of cheesy music, dancing, glow sticks and fireworks, cheering every last participant in, and finishing up a suitably epic day, in suitably epic style.
Roth is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I get it now, and I’ll be back.
I’d advise you to do the same.
Roth 2018 entries open Monday at 9am on at challenge-roth.com and close minutes later.
You can keep up to date with Ben via his social media:
Strava Ben Wickham https://www.strava.com/athletes/313539?hl=en-GB
IG @bmwickham https://www.instagram.com/bmwickham/
Twitter @benjiwickham https://twitter.com/benjiwickham