Austria Extreme Triathlon

Careful, don’t fall on the cow next to you!

Extreme triathlon

Completed: June 22, 2024
Biggest challenge: crossing the icy paths
Catchphrase: “Careful, don’t fall on the cow next to you!”

Extreme madness – another name for the extreme triathlon race under the Dachstein massif in Austria, which me and my guide Mark Peterka successfully completed as the first blind team in history! It took us 17 hours, 20 minutes, and 20 seconds, and at the end of this article, you’ll find out how we did compared to our competitors!

Only 130 racers had the honor of diving into the Mur River at 4.30 AM and swimming 3.8 km upstream in water with a temperature of 16 degrees. Kudos to whoever invented neoprene socks!

When we finally resurfaced, we immediately hopped on a tandem bike. 186 km long cycling track was awaiting us – towards the north of Styria with a total elevation gain of 4,000 meters. It included three demanding climbs, a high mountain pass called Sölk Pass, which is located at 1,790 meters above sea level, and sharp descents. Fortunately, there was almost no traffic except for the cows standing on the idyllic green fields around. The last climb was the hardest (as my guide Marek pointed out – I was lucky I didn’t see the magnitude of it), and I was quietly pondering if we should give up.

Fortunately, there wasn’t much time to think, with the 44 km long run with an elevation gain of 2,000 m ahead of us. The pleasant weather and Marek’s occasional description of the beautiful mountain scenery definitely helped fight the brutal fatigue we were experiencing at that point. To get to the finish line, we had to fit into a very narrow path surrounded by ice, and we were just hoping not to fall into the ravine below. 

In total, we climbed 5,860 meters and crossed the finish line in 21st place out of 35 healthy competitors who finished the race within the limit. I became the first disabled finisher of the Austria Extreme Triathlon! Thanks to Marek and Paul for taking such great care of me. See you on another extreme adventure!

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