MW Competition Entry Image
Cycling the German Bundesliga
Raising money for Rotary Charity Fundraisers

The Idea

It’s the half-time break on the seventh day of play for the 2012/13 2nd German Bundesliga (football league). My favourite team Eintracht Braunschweig is playing against MSV Duisburg. Braunschweig were promoted to 2nd Bundesliga just a year earlier, so everybody was somewhat surprised they were currently the championship leader.

We were talking about a trip to an away game of Braunschweig. In my euphoria I said to my friends:

“If Braunschweig are actually promoted to 1st German Bundesliga, I will cycle to EVERY away game next season. Except to Hannover and Wolfsburg (the two neighbouring cities), as I will run there!”

I didn´t think I would have to honour my promise, but they did it! Braunschweig were promoted and now I had to keep my word and cycle through Germany! It was a crazy idea and everybody told me it would be impossible. But there was more than half a year to prepare for the challenge. And the closer the promotion of Eintracht Braunschweig approached last season the more concrete plans I developed to realize this challenge.

The Challenge

For the challenge this year I will have cycled 2,330km and run 110km. So far I have cycled to Dortmund and Hamburg in August, a total of 490Km. On the 21st September I will be cycling 390km to Mönchengladbach.

Stage 1- Dortmund

Stage 2- Hamburg

The overall distance will be nearly double the average kilometres I would cycle yearly, but still doable! However, it will be quite an experience cycling through the German winter, which can be very severe. Ice, snow and temperatures below -15 °C are possible. Usually I put my bike away for winter after the last warm days in October. This year though I will cycle the whole winter, not only for one hour, but whole days. Two of the longest stages will be to Bayern Munich and Augsburg in December.

The Training

With 27 years’ experience of triathlon, over 150 triathlon competitions including 8 IRONMAN distances (the last in August 2013 in Bolton, UK) and over 60 marathons and ultra-marathons up to 100 km running this sporting activity should be manageable. But for all that, every 200 km cycling day has still to be passed and negotiated.

Personal Challenges

Your family, your friends and your job are all involved in this “one year event”. Whilst the cycling comes with its own challenges, a lot of smaller and bigger problems have to be managed during this time, i.e. who cares for the children when I am on the road and my wife has to work. I will also need a lot of time off work. I am lucky to have family, friends and a job who are providing the necessary support.

The Charity

In Germany fundraising by taking on sporting challenges is not very common, but during my preparations for Ironman UK I contacted the Rotary Charity Fundraisers. Through Rotary Charity Fundraisers I am supporting the Family Centre of St. Bernward in my hometown of Salzgitter (next to Braunschweig). 

The Family Centre works in social hotspots of Salzgitter, an area characterised by migrants and a  high percentage of children from disadvantaged families. Through counselling and support the Family Preservation Program helps to resolve conflicts and improve parenting skills. They provide families with hands-on support to help build a stable and sustainable future.

My 6 year old son has attended their kindergarten and during this time I realized how highly dedicated the staff are to providing the children with a valuable education. At times when official funding is being withdrawn it is more and more necessary to support this work!

A Final Message

Never give up, it doesn´t matter how crazy your dream is just give all your energy to realize it. You can do it if you really want!

 

 

The Challenge
After 28 years Braunschweig are back in the German Bundesliga. I promised that if they were promoted I would cycle to every away game. Now I have to keep my word and cycle 5820km over 17 weekends.
The Charity
Using Rotary Charity Fundraisers I am supporting the Family Centre of St. Bernward. Through counseling and support, the Family Preservation Program helps to resolve conflicts and improve parenting skills. They provide families with hands-on support for their immediate needs and plans for a stable and sustainable future.
The Training
As a triathlete in training for IRONMAN I already do 10 to 15 hours training a week which should be enough to manage this challenge. However it will be quite a special experience cycling through the German winter, which can be very severe. One of the longest stages will be to Bayern München in December. Being a triathlete I won´t cycle all stages, but will run 70km and 40 km to the two neighbouring cities of Hannover and Wolfsburg. Cycling would be too easy!