The zappy course and zealous crowd in Zittau is sure to delight the XTERRA Tribe on August 17.
Situated close to both the Czech and Polish borders, Zittau is a pretty town circled by a small old train. Although it is not very big you will find everything you need in the area. For those traveling from western Europe, the nearest airport is Prague, only 1h45 south of Zittau.
Organized alongside the O-see Challenge, the oldest cross triathlon in Europe, the bike and run courses here are permanently signed. The transition area is located on the grass next to the lake. Here athletes register and find a large area with food trucks and sofas to eat and relax before the race. There is also a huge stage for the awards ceremony and for the performers of one of the best after-parties on Tour.
The swim is two loops with a sand run in-between. It is an artificial lake that is not very deep so usually the water temperature is warm enough to swim without wetsuits. Given the temperature in Europe this summer, I expect this year will be no different.
There will be three starts, each three minutes apart. The first for elites (men and women), the second for age group men, and the third for age group women. This is one of the few races that has a separate start for women, and it is great to have our own race!
The first and last part of the bike course to get out to the forest is along gravel tracks. Once bikers reach the forest they have one big 27km loop. The loop starts with a long climb up to the top of a mountain. There is a mixture of fire roads and single track with roots that could be slippery if it rains. It gets quite steep towards the top of the climb with a hard rocky section to take riders to the tower at the top.
What follows is the first technical descent of the race before a long flowing section with some nice rooty single track through the forest. Riders need to maintain speed but also make sure to save some energy for the last climb. This is short but very steep, followed by a rocky descent before returning back to the lake.
My suggestion is to take your time when practicing the route and find good lines through the technical sections. This will save you a lot of time and energy on race day!
The run loop was flat and simple until last year. Now it is a little more difficult and a lot more fun. You complete two loops of a cross-country style course. After the first flat section you leave the side of the lake where you will encounter lots of short steep climbs and descents and tight turns. Make sure you don’t go out too fast on the flat sections or you will pay for it later on. And don’t forget to ring the bell after each loop for the spectators! XTERRA Germany is a big festival so there will be lots of people cheering.
For more info please visit www.xterragermany.de
Alexandra Borrelly Lebrun is a coach for Organicoach and a doctor in pharmacy, specialized in sport nutrition