Photo by äquinoktium
The XTERRA Germany Championship host city of Zittau in Goerlitz County was hit the hardest in last weekend’s massive flooding in Europe that killed at least 10 people in Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, according to a CNN wire report. As a result, the championship race scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14, has been canceled. Dave Nicholas, the managing director of the XTERRA World Tour, is in Zittau and brings us this account.
It is a beautiful, sunny day here in East Germany. The hills are green and you can see both Czech and Poland from the race site. Except there will be no race.
The scene in Zittau and Olbersdorf is not pretty. Mother nature can be pretty mean. Saturday and Sunday it rained heavily in central Europe. You may have read the report from the Czech championship on how it rained all day. Just East of there the rain was heavier and they produced the biggest floods in 200 years.
Our hotel had 30″ of water in the lobby. Streets were cracked and sections of road simply sunk. A few homes were knocked off their foundations but hundreds were flooded. By Monday the water had receded to where you wondered how it could have happened. By Tuesday the people were back fixing things, sidewalks were filled with ruined furniture. Damaged cars were being towed away. Huge mounds of mud were scraped and taken away.
So XTERRA went on the back burner. The lake was completely overflowed and filled with runoff. Bacteria counts were off the chart. So make a duathlon? The forest trails had huge gouges and erosion lines left by cascading water. XTERRA Pro Seth Wealing from Boulder, CO rode the trails Wednesday and said they were passable; but the forest officials were looking at the forecast for the weekend and it showed more rain.
Combine the suffering and recovery going on in the towns with the rest of the conditions and it really was the only decision the village of Olbersdorf could make. Yes it is tough on XTERRA, but honestly, a whole lot tougher on the folks of Zittau and Olbersdorf.
XTERRA races continue this weekend all over the U.S. See XTERRA.com for the latest.