Roth / Straubing, August 2010 A triathlon demands everything from the men and women brave enough to compete in it: the stamina, talent, and willpower needed to swim 3.8 kilometres and cycle 180—all before running a full 42.2-kilometre marathon—beggars belief. Yet more and more athletes are seeking to conquer the event, with more and more spectators eager to encourage them—especially at the Roth Challenge in Franconia, an event sponsored by the German radio station Bayern 3 that has attained a cult status in a competition matched only by that of the Iron Man competition in Hawaii.
This year, 2,500 triathletes competing individually and 500 relay squads from over 50 different countries lined up at the start, with more than 120,000 spectators lining the route to cheer them on. DJs, live music, the legendary ‘Finish Line’ party, and a closing firework display added to the fun, creating a party-like atmosphere among spectators that contrasted strangely with the solid determination of competitors in the throes of the gruelling eight-hour ordeal.
The need to provide spectators lining the route with intelligible live commentary and information on the intermediate placing and times of the various teams and athletes, as well as music before, during, and after the competition, meant that the quality of the sound reinforcement was of crucial importance to the success of the event. That is why the organizers chose Nuremberg-based firm Barowski AG to do the job right for the second year running. Providing even coverage for such a vast area was no mean feat, and required a considerable outlay in equipment -- over 100 Electro-Voice and DYNACORD loudspeaker systems for starters.
Providing sound reinforcement for spectators watching the cycling leg at the Solarer Berg called for long throws and a high level of intelligibility, and an Electro-Voice XLD compact line array system proved to be the ideal choice. “We had eleven enclosures facing uphill and three providing nearfield coverage for the spectators downtown,” reports Barowski. To enhance the sonic image in the low frequency range, four XS212 subwoofers were integrated into the sound design. For homogeneous sound to be achieved, it was necessary for the arrays to be flown at a considerable height. “Our simulations revealed that we needed to suspend the arrays at a height of 11 metres, so we did, and the result was, as predicted, very even coverage.”
Careful planning and a great deal of hard work was involved, but in the end it was worth it. “The members of the Bayern 3 band and the head of the team of organizers all thanked us for our good work,” says Barowski. And the contract to provide the sound reinforcement for the Roth Challenge 2011, not surprisingly, is already in the bag…