Challenge Aarhus 2011: Pre Race Report

Click the image to see details of the pack list

After signing up back in December of 2010 triathletes have spent most of the spring of 2011 training for the half iron distance Challenge Aarhus – many of them for the first time. The race was to take place in the city of Aarhus with a swim in the bay, a bike ride to the scenic South of Aarhus, and finally a half marathon through the city of Aarhus, which also happens to be my Danish home city – hence why I had to be part of the inaugural event!

Training has had its ups and down, all of them quite well documented on this blog already. This post is about the pre-race prep where all training is done and all that lies between the triathlete and the finish line is preparing everything that is brought through hours of suffering on race day.

Going to a race is always special to me. I don’t go to many races, so packing for a race doesn’t happen too frequently. The past few days before my leaving for Denmark I got increasingly more excited and nervous about the project. I would wake up at 4-5 in the morning, thinking about Challenge Aarhus and how the race would go. I would lie there thinking race strategy, nutrition plan, etc. Eventually on the day of departure everything was packed with the great help of the triathlon race checklist service and off I went.

As soon as I arrived in Denmark I laid out my stuff on the floor of my Mother’s home North of Aarhus – just to make sure it was all there. Everything was there and checked out perfectly! Now it was all just a matter of waiting and working a couple of days in Denmark before the pre-race prep would take over. Friday I went to the expo to to buy a pair of compression socks. The real fun was about to start on Saturday at race check-in.

On Saturday first order of the day was to attend the race briefing. There had been doubts about the swim due to the bay having been polluted by sewage trouble (something the city of Aarhus apparently allows to happen every few years), and that continued at the race briefing with the sewage trouble being the main source of concern. It was considered an option to skip the swim altogether and do a duathlon instead. However, the swim eventually happened on a shorter course than planned. The reason for shortening the course was cold water. At temperatures below 14 degrees C race management deemed it unsafe to swim further than 1km – a wise decision.

My speed bump came at the bike check-in. Coming into the bike zone I thought the officials were joking when they didn’t approve my helmet for the race. It appeared that it had a crack right at the front. Thanks to the triathlon expo just 100 meters away I managed to get a new helmet and check in 10 mins before the bike zone closed.

Finally spent some time at the pasta party eating a bit with an old colleague from Amsterdam, Henrik Tholstrup, and meeting up with Facebook race buddy Søren Jakobsen – both would eventually finish the next day in very respectable times!

Went back to the base to go to sleep early. I was as ready as I could be. (TO BE CONTINUED)

Challenge Aarhus, Half Ironman Triathlon: I’ll be there!!! :-)

The Challenge organization which also host to triathlon ironman distance and half ironman (70.3) races such as Wanaka, Roth, and Copenhagen is now getting ready to launch a new race: Challenge Aarhus !!

Challenge Aarhus takes place on July 3rd 2011 and is a half ironman distance race consisting of a 1,9km swim, 90km bike and 21,1 run. What makes me so enthusiastic about this particular race is that it takes place in my home town of Aarhus, Denmark, and the route is nothing short of spectacular!

That’s also why I’m very excited to have joined Challenge Aarhus, which will be my very first half ironman distance race – I simply can’t wait! It will be one of the great things of 2011 and I’m looking forward to it like a kid looks forward to Christmas. Just set up the event on Endomondo too and added the race to Athlinks.

The route promises to pass through spectacular sites. With start at Tangkrogen, which is also the starting point of the Marselisborg run and bike races, Challenge Aarhus will pass the Sculpture by the Sea on the swim, the hills of Aarhus on the bike, and then finally will pass through the ARoS Museum of Art as part of the half marathon route. Absolutely amazing!!

I’ll make sure to post more about the route, my training and thoughts on the race as we get closer to race day!!

Social group managers: Your groups are not yours (and Denmark Online Groups: Weekly round-up, week 20)

What often happens when numbers get tracked and publicized is that a few individuals dislike having their numbers made public. In the case of the overview and statistics for Denmark Online Groups the numbers are already public, but still the point doesn’t seem to be entirely clear to some of the Denmark-related group managers.

A network is not the property of the person who has set it up and is kind enough to make a structure available within which the members can join in discussion and networking related to their interests. The person with the initiative to set up such a network is merely an admin – the true owners of the network are the members. The admin should keep the interest of the members in mind. The goal should be to make for the best possible networking experience without any regard for whether that experience happens inside our outside the framework the admin makes available.

Any group manager should keep this in mind!

This weekly round-up of groups specifically related to Denmark, Danes and Danish is a tool that networkers can use to seek out the most valuable forum, whether for business or other purposes.

Maybe that’s why some group managers dislike being put on a list. It compares the quality and value of their network by putting them next to all the people they see as their competitors.

That’s so 10 years ago! Group managers should snap out of it!

Now on to this week’s round-up:

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted at http://bit.ly/dkgroups.

Notable developments include:

  • Danmark Unlimited (Xing-based): is still the largest Denmark-related network online.
  • DABGO – the Danish largest Danish expat network for business grew their Ning-based network with an impressive 42 members. With just 586 members the network probably still needs some growth to really have value for its members.
  • The fastest growing country for the Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DABGO) was Switzerland. Same as with the Ning-based DABGO network as for the individual countries on LinkedIn, they will need to grow further to really be worth much to their members.
  • Most growth was achieved by the “Danmark” group on LinkedIn with an impressive 28 new members.

Head over to http://bit.ly/dkgroups for more details and do click the links in the sheet to visit the individual groups!

Your ideas, comments and criticism are welcome. You can find me on twitter here http://twitter.com/thusgaard, you can start a discussion in the Danmark group, or you can comment here on the page.

If you’re in North-Western Europe (or anywhere else with good weather): Enjoy the weather!

Denmark Online Groups: Weekly round-up, week 19

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted at http://bit.ly/dkgroups. For frequent readers of this weekly publishing, you may notice a change in format. Groups have been re-grouped to focus on readers’ areas of interest. You should now find it easier to find a group the fits your specific interests.
Now on to the report.

Notable developments include:

  • Danmark Unlimited (Xing-based): is still #1
  • DABGO – the Danish largest Danish expat network – outgrew Danmark Unlimited by 10 new members and is still #2.
  • It was a good week for Danish online groups. The looser of the week was DABGO North America, which lost only 3 members.
  • The fastest growing country for the Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DABGO) was Belgium for the 2nd week in a row, which gained 4 members.
  • Most growth was achieved by the “Danmark” group on LinkedIn with an impressive 28 new members.
  • Highest percentage growth was achieved by the “Danmark” sub-group “Expats in Denmark” which increased by 60%.

Head over to http://bit.ly/dkgroups for more details.

During week 18 we saw the following activity in the Danmark group and subgroups:

  • Discussion on bringing up multilingual children continued on “Expats in Denmark“;
  • A few people got removed from the network for spamming the group and the members – keeping it clean;
  • Busy week on the jobs page at the main Danmark group: 14 new, legitimate posts – good luck in finding your jobs here!

Your ideas, comments and criticism are welcome. You can find me on twitter here http://twitter.com/thusgaard, you can start a discussion in the Danmark group, or you can comment here on the page.

Have an excellent week!

Denmark Online Groups: Weekly round-up, week 18

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted at http://bit.ly/dkgroups.

Notable developments include:

  • Danmark Unlimited (Xing-based): is still #1 and outgrew the closest competitor DABGO by 4 new members.
  • The looser of the week was the Facebook group “Denmark”, which lost another 7 members.
  • The fastest growing country for the Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DABGO) was Belgium, which gained 8 members.
  • Most growth was achieved by the “Danmark Unlimited” group on Xing with an impressive 22 new members.
  • Highest percentage growth was achieved by the “DABGO” sub-group “West DK” which increased by 250% – granted from an extremely low base.

Head over to http://bit.ly/dkgroups for more details.

As for the “Danmark” group which you’ll find at http://bit.ly/dklink:

  • 11 new jobs in the past week.
  • News: 3000 New Danes were welcomed to Denmark by the members of Parliament.
  • News: The Little Mermaid is now a hot hit in Shanghai.
  • News: Danish restaurant Noma became the best in the World.
  • Travel guide: Aarhus travel guide posted to the Aarhus subgroup.
  • A Bulgarian expat was kind enough to share a few tips for Denmark expats. Now also on the Aarhus and Expats in Denmark subgroups.
  • Finally a single spammer, Angie Botero, was banned from the group.

Have a great week.

Denmark Online Groups: Weekly round-up, week 17

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted at http://bit.ly/dkgroups.

Notable developments include:

  • Danmark Unlimited (Xing-based): is still #1 and outgrew the closest competitor DABGO by 30 new members.
  • The looser of the week was the Facebook group “Denmark”, which lost 9 members.
  • The fastest growing country for the Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DABGO) was Great Britain, which gained 7 members.
  • Most growth was achieved by the “Danmark Unlimited” group on Xing with an impressive 48 new members.
  • Highest percentage growth was achieved by the “Danmark” sub-group “Expats in Denmark” which increased by 16,13%.

Head over to http://bit.ly/dkgroups for more details.

Denmark Groups status and growth, week 16 update

The most recent update to the online groups featuring content about Denmark, Danes or Danish has been posted at http://bit.ly/dkgroups.

Notable developments include:

  • Danmark Unlimited (Xing-based): is still #1 and outgrew the closest competitor DABGO by 3 new members and 0,04%.
  • The looser of the week was one of the Facebook-based Denmark groups.
  • The fastest growing country for the Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DABGO) was…. Denmark!?
  • Most growth was achieved by the “Danmark” and “Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland” groups on LinkedIn with 28 each.
  • Highest percentage growth was achieved by the DABGO group “DABGO Belgium”.

Head over to http://bit.ly/dkgroups for more details.

Denmark Online Groups Rankings

I recently started tracking the development and size of Denmark related forums and groups online. At this point the largest groups are “Danmark Unlimited” on Xing and “Dabgo” based on LinkedIn and Ning with about 6-6.500 members each.

My own group “Danmark“, while by far outnumbered by the two groups mentioned above, grows consistently. With good activity and services for group members “Danmark” should be able to make the gap to “Danmark Unlimited” and “Dabgo” even smaller.

To make this list as complete as possible, do suggest groups that you know of, which are related to Denmark. Place your suggestion as a comment to this post.

Also remember to come back to http://bit.ly/dkgroups for an update on groups focusing on Denmark, Danes or Danish.