THE CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - T1 -

SET IN A spec­tac­u­lar train­ing cen­tre that is lit­er­ally in the heart of Europe (Samorin, Slo­vakia, sits about 10 km from the ge­o­graphic cen­tre of the con­ti­nent), Chal­lenge Samorin served as the in­au­gu­ral “Cham­pi­onship” event for the Chal­lenge se­ries and will once again host the race in 2019.

The race takes place at the X-bionic Sphere, a train­ing junkie’s dream va­ca­tion spot. The X-bionic Sphere be­gan as an eques­trian venue (it hosted the Olympic tri­als in 2015) that in­cludes four dif­fer­ent show rings, a horse race track, two in­door sta­di­ums and enough sta­bles to host 700 horses.

After the Equesto­sphere was fin­ished a few years ago, the next fa­cil­ity added to the mix was the “Aqua Sphere” which in­cludes beau­ti­ful, com­pe­ti­tion-ready in­door (25 m) and out­door (50 m) pools and a spec­tac­u­lar four-star ho­tel that fea­tures a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent restau­rants. The ho­tel also in­cludes a fully equipped gym, weight room and lux­u­ri­ous spa fa­cil­i­ties. Re­cently fin­ished track and soc­cer sta­di­ums, cy­cling fa­cil­i­ties and gyms bring the num­ber of Olympic sports of­fered at the X-bionic Sphere to 27.

The race

The wet­suit-le­gal 1.9 km swim (wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are typ­i­cally be­tween 16 and 18 C) is in the wide Danube River. Ath­letes run from the river to the tran­si­tion set up in one of the show rings at the X-bionic Sphere be­fore head­ing off on the flat, fast 90 km bike. With a 20 m draft zone, ath­letes can be as­sured that they’ll be do­ing their own race. The day fin­ishes up with a flat 21 km run course over road and com­pact sand sur­faces, mak­ing it both fast and easy on the body.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion

If you stay at the X-bionic Sphere for the race you won’t have to go any­where once you get to the race site. The mod­ern and spa­cious rooms are ex­tremely com­fort­able. There’s a choice of four dif­fer­ent restau­rants and two dif­fer­ent bars, which cover all your nu­tri­tion needs. (Since the fa­cil­ity serves as a base for train­ing camps and sports teams on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, they are more than pre­pared for any ath­lete’s nu­tri­tion needs.) There are other ho­tel op­tions avail­able in both Samorin and Bratislava, but if you can you want to stay right on site.

Travel

There are two op­tions for fly­ing to Samorin. Bratislava, the cap­i­tal of Slo­vakia, is 20 min­utes from the X-bionic Sphere, while the in­ter­na­tional air­port in Vi­enna, Aus­tria is just 85 km away.

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