The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Challenge Roth Registration

Spoiler Alert: Guylaine and I will be climbing this hill next year
Challenge Roth is one of the most epic and iconic triathlons in the world. It has been a bucket list event for a while now. Before you even start thinking about booking your flights to Germany, you have to win the registration race! (hint: it sells out in 46 seconds).

The registration was set to go live on Monday July 15 at precisely 10 AM CEST (Central European Summer Time) aka 4 AM local time. We had our alarm set for 3:49 AM. Both computers were pre-loaded with the registration URL and ready to go. Our eyes just barely adjusting to the light of the computer screen we hit "refresh" to just make sure things were good. A change. 3 new links were added: German registration, International registration and Relay registration. Thinking it had opened early, we eagerly each clicked the "International registration" only to find a new page, that explained the registration would open at precisely 10AM CEST. In the middle of the page, was a big green refresh button. We still had a few minutes. But of course, we still each hit that big refresh multiple times.

With 4 minutes to go, something was up. Instead of the instant refresh, it was taking 10, 20, 30, seconds for the page to reload. Uh-oh... I cracked open a few extra tabs on my browser, and began a systematic [CTRL]+[TAB], [F5] cycle. After what seemed like an eternity, magically the form appeared.

[Pause for some context...]
How the registration process for Roth works (now anyways) is this:
Step 1 - At 10AM CEST, apply online for a registration voucher.
Step 2 - If you are successful in Step 1 - you will get an email with a registration code, where you have one week to confirm your entry and make your payment.
Step 3 - Any remaining unclaimed spots go up for a final sell-off process in December.

For step 1 - the Application process, it was published that you just needed to enter your Name, Nationality, Date of Birth and email address.

Knowing we had to enter email address; and it being the norm that you have to enter it twice for confirmation, we had preemptively copied our email addresses to the clipboard. Instead of tapping out all 16-20 characters, a simple [CTRL]+[V] would shave precious seconds.

[And now back to our magically appearing form...]
True enough 6 fields: First Name, Family Name, Nationality (drop down box) - [tap C thrice to get Canada], Date of Birth --- those European tricksters dd.mm.yyyy (note the delimiting dots), Finally email x 2 [Paste][Tab][Paste], Submit....

"Congratulations, you have successfully pre-registered" (I honestly can't remember what it said, but something to that effect). "WhooHoo, I'm in I squealed" [And sure enough, an email arrived instantly with confirmation, and details on what to expect next]. Guylaine, caught up in the urgency, forgot about the [CTRL+V] email trick, but submitted her form only a couple of seconds later...

"Sorry, we have allocated all the registration spots" (Again, I can't remember exactly what it said).

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO..... " The horror. She didn't get in. [Try it again]. We both tried it over-and-over again... same message. And to add insult to injury an extra line in the message appeared. "Please do not attempt to submit the same information multiple times" - crap they're onto us.

We kept up in desperation, using different email accounts, but alas, at 4:05 a check of Challenge Roth Facebook feed showed that the race was in fact sold out, and the comment feed was filling up with disheartening sob stories of failure.

The unspoken deal was that we would only go if both of us got in. I tried to look on the bright side, at least one spot (mine) would come up for public consumption in the final sell-off in December.... or should I commit to the race, and we try our luck for one more spot in December... Oh the agony. We went back to bed, bummed. I don't think either of us got any more sleep.

[Monday July 15, 9:14 AM EST, a new dawn, a miracle email... ]

Dear Guylaine,

Congratulations! You can race DATEV Challenge Roth 2020

We have great news for you – as we are able to offer you a much sought-after spot for DATEV Challenge Roth 2020! During today's online registration, we have received a few duplicate applications that were not used. That’s why we can provide one spot to you.

{Unique URL with Access Code here}

Talk about a swing in emotion! See you in Germany, 2020.