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We are five from Latvia in the Nordic Walking World Championship that takes place in Roding, Germany. Should have been six of us but Baiba unfortunately has to stay at home because of injury. Gaida, Benita and Imants have started their voyage on Wednesday 12th June by car. Me and Ilze have flied to Frankfurt on Thursday afternoon then took the hired car to get to Roding.

We fly Bombardier not Boeing which we had most of the time. It’s sort of less space inside but the jet looks just out of the plant and flies energetically 🙂 The clouds below us are at least in three layers.

We arrive in Frankfurt about 6pm. Opel Corsa already waits for us at level U1 row 113 place 63 (who has invented such a huge airports?). We drive out of the sub-terrain parkplace to highway A3. The navigation application tells to drive straight on for some 300 or so kilometers.

It gets dark when we near the Roding. Nevertheless we find our accommodation – with a help of Imants who comes out on the road to guide us.

We are staying in a guest house of a farm close to MichelsNeukirchen. We have two story apartment with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, saloon and a terrace. Close to the guest house is a cowshed with 67 cows inside. Still we don’t smell and don’t hear them. The hostess have baked a very tasty chocolate cake for us.

On the picture is LoRa team at the opening ceremony of the championship (photo from Imants Locmelis). Other photos of our travel are here Photos Photos (photo by Ilze and Juris)

Old Roding

It rains during the night but on Friday morning the rain has gone. We drive to the starting place and go to inspect the route. It has about 200 meters of asphalt at the start (goes through the championships tent during this part), then follows the path covered with breakstones (should be careful there), then the route follows the woody road with some ups and downs. In some places the road is covered by breakstone again. As we disclose later the organizers have worked hard to make the route usable after the recent rainfalls. We inspect the small (2.2km) lap and part of the large (6.2km) one. Here we meet some of the competitors. Some of them are trying out the poles already.

We move back to the starting place. There in the premises of Roding Fitness center we get our bibs and participant packages. Here we meet our Italian friends Daniela and Giorgio as well.

Next we drive to the Old Roding and park near the river. The water still is high (the latest steps near the river and the trees are still in water), one can see around the signs from the recent flooding. Looks like the parking place flooded completely, we can see sandbags on it’s highest end.

The Old Roding is not large – a couple of narrow hilly streets, a handful of old houses and churches and we are out of it. We found the courtyard of the town hall where today the opening ceremony will be held. Then we get some meal and drive to our rural paradise to recreate for the evening.

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Opening ceremony

We arrive at the courtyard of the Town Hall shortly before the 6pm. Here are alrady our italian friends and other familiar and unfamiliar nordic walkers. The opening ceremony is delayed a little because the representative of INWA (International Nordic Walking Association) is awaited for. After short introduction the standards of the 10 participating nations are brought in. The 10th is Algeria which is a sort of surprise because it was not in a participants list few days ago. A local ensemble sings the German anthem then follows the speech of Roding burgomaster and some other officials. Michael Epp (one of the worlds leading nordic walkers) says few words as well. Then some presents are being presented and some championship t-shirts are being thrown into the public.

Soon enough the ceremony is closed and everybody shifts to the nearby City Hotel Roding to the pasta party.  Here we sit by large tables and eat very tasty pasta from very large plates 🙂 Have some smalltalk with Daniela and Giorgio – stories from events in Switzerland and Austria etc. Giorgio is skeptical about introduction of Euro in Latvia 🙁

Later we go back to our farm to prepare mentally and emotionally to the tomorrow’s race.

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The race

We have breakfast at 6am and leave before 8am. Race starts at 9am but some of our competitors are already there – warming up according to their preferences. Organizers read the race rules (in German and English). The participants take their place in start corridors according to the results they estimated when registering. Imants starts from the first corridor, me and Ilze – a minute after from the second corridor, Gaida and Benita – a minute after us from the third corridor.

Me and Ilze are trying to walk fast to get out of the crowd. The problem is that the competitors move fast as well. The first, small (2.2km) lap we move in rather tight group and have to take care to not walk onto someones poles (and to watch that somebody does not walk on ours). The first lap ends by returning back into starting place. Then off we go to the second lap (6.25km long). Gradually we catch up with the slowest end of the first corridor walkers. The weather warms up. It’s great that the route goes mainly by the shady forest road so we have some protection from the hot sunbeams.

All the time I hear behind me the competitors and see ahead of me somebody whom I could catch if I would try hard. So it turns out I have to try hard all the time :-) At the end of the first long lap I break the iron tip of one of my poles. So I have to dab the ground with the plastic thimble for the half of the distance  :-(

We are quite happy about our results. Ilze has 5th position in women overall competition, Gaida is 19th, Benita 33th. I have 28th position in men overall competition, Imants is 33th. Ilze and Gaida has silver in their age group, Imants – bronze in his. I have 5th position in the largest group with 30 participants, Benita – 9th in her group.

We take a look at the results table to learn our finish times and then drive home to get ready for the awarding ceremony. Click here for the official results.

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You may watch the video from the German news site here.

Awarding ceremony

The awarding ceremony takes place in the huge championships tent. It starts with a lengthy (end somehow boring for us) donation process of the collected charity sums to some school and hospital in Kenia. Then follows the awarding in men and women overall competition. The gold medal goes to Michael Epp and to Silvia Rose – both from Germany. Then follows awarding by age groups. Here Latvia has 3 prizes – which is the third result after Germany (no surprise) and Austria (still no surprise). For some reason Ilze has been awarded Spanish citizenship as well 🙂

Drinking wine and beer on our terrace  in the evening. Hostess brings some local alcohol (50%) which has to be tasted as well.

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Sunday morning we say farewell to Gaida, Benita and Imants – they drive to Berlin. Me and Ilze have to fly home at 7pm from Munich. We decide to see the castel of Falkenstein and Old Regensburg on a way.

Falkenstein is located five or so kilometers from Roding (the navigation application finds seven Falkensteins in Germany to select from, ours is one near Cham). Falkenstein is a small town with a castle up in a hill. We leave the car downtown and walk up (not very easy after the yesterday’s entertainments). We inspect the castle, walk up in the tower for the sights, then walk a half-hour by the nearby paths full of large rocks and old trees.

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We have been in Regensburg earlier. This time we discover that the beautiful old bridge is under construction. The water level in Danube is high, the trees by the river still stand in water. We stroll the Old Regensburg, take a look inside the Cathedral and then cross the old bridge to the opposite side of Danube. Here we have a very tasty and aesthetic tomato soup. Then we leave Regensburg for Munich. We arrive in Riga after 10pm.

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