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Adidas Sickline: Reloaded

When the Adidas Sickline still existed, I always wanted to participate. Unfortunately, the race was always in the middle of the exam period. When it was announced that the race would be held again with new organizers and a new name, it was clear to me that I had to participate.

About two weeks after registering, I was informed that the Oetz Trophy would be the Extreme World Championship that year. Originally, it was planned to take place in Voss at the Extremsportveko, but because of Corona, hardly anyone could travel to Norway, so the event was moved to the Oetz Trophy.

One week after the Loferrodeo, we went to the Oetz to paddle the Wellerbrücke all day, every day! The water levels were unfortunately not as good as before the Loferrodeo when it had consistently been between 1.90 and 2.00, but luckily you can still paddle the Wellerbrücke well at lower levels.

We were, however, a little worried that the level for the race would be far below 1.80; you can still run everything without any problems at this kind of level, but for me personally, it’s just more fun with more water. I would have preferred a level between 1.90 and 2.00 for the race.

In the week before the race, though, it rained brutally on Tuesday, so the water level rose to 2.50. Now the organizers and all the participants were, of course, afraid that the race would have to be cancelled because of too much water. Fortunately, the rain was over after one day, so there was a nice level of 1.88 for the qualification on Friday and 1.85 for the final on Saturday.

For the time of the year and the temperatures, we were really lucky with the water level. Next year, the Oetz Trophy will take place in September when the water levels are more stable.

Championskiller – Photo: Kristof Stursa


On Friday, 8/10/2021, we started with the race briefing at 9 am. Well, actually, the day started at 7 am with the last training session; three quick laps down Minus One and Championskiller to get into the flow and to tune into the current water level. Another advantage of this early unit: Afterwards you are really awake and can sit down comfortably with a coffee and your breakfast in the race briefing.

A total of 148 men and 28 women took part in the first Oetz Trophy. The qualification started at 11 am with the men, so we girls had to wait until 2 pm for our first run.

Unfortunately, there were some technical problems with the time transfer to the scoreboard during the first runs. In order to be able to run the qualification runs as planned on Friday, it was decided that all 148 men would have a second qualification run. Originally, it was planned that only the 100 best men would get the chance to improve in a second qualification run.

For us girls, not much changed, as we were all scheduled to do two qualification runs. Shortly after two, we finally started. Due to the long waiting time, we already got a bit nervous.

Fortunately, the nervousness was immediately blown away with the first paddle stroke and I just focused on the line: Tunnel mode, on! This showed that getting up early was worth it: I caught both Minus One and Championskiller really well, I went into the left channel, and just kept going. Here I also noticed directly what I have to do differently for next year: Train the qualifying track in race mode!

During the training, I paddled the part on the slalom course from time to time, but always just to internalize the lines. Each time I thought to myself: Oh, it’s not that long, you can just grit your teeth, no problem. In the race, however, it suddenly felt that it would never end!

Fortunately, by the time we girls started, the technical problems had already been solved, and I knew that with a time of about 70 seconds, I had pretty much qualified for the finals on Saturday. I briefly thought about taking it easy in the second qualifying run. But first, you are so pushed by the atmosphere and the spectators that you are directly in race mode, and secondly, it was also good mental training.

My line in the second run was not quite as nice as in the first, and the time was also slightly slower, but I was still happy with myself. Due to the technical difficulties at the beginning of the race, the race briefing for the final day was postponed from Friday evening to Saturday morning at 8 am.

Qualifying – Photo: Jakub Sedivy
Qualifying – Photo: Jakub Sedivy


On Saturday morning, the first briefing started at 8 am. Due to the fact that not everything went as planned on the previous day, the final runs for Saturday were also adjusted.

Originally, it was planned that the best 50 men and the best 15 women would be allowed to start on Saturday. There should have been three final runs each. The first one would have been based on time.

In the women’s event, the number of starters would have been reduced from 15 to 10. The second heat would have been a head-to-head race. Here, the fastest would have started against the slowest from the first final run, and the winner would have entered the final.

The final heat would then have been another timed heat, with the fastest of the five remaining women winning. (The same would have happened for the men). However, in order to avoid errors in the time transmission, the head-to-head heat in the women’s and men’s races was cancelled. In addition, the best 100 (instead of 50) in the men’s categories were allowed to enter the semi-finals.

After the race information, the times from the qualification were finally available. Of course, some were disappointed, especially since the early briefing deprived them of the loser’s party. For me, however, there was good news, as the assumption of the previous day was confirmed, and I had actually won the qualification in the women’s category.

After the briefing, there were two quick training laps on the racecourse. Fortunately, the water level changed only minimally compared to the day before. So our fears that we would not have enough water for the race did not come true.

At 11 am, the race started with the men’s semi-final. The starting order was determined by the times in the qualification. Place 100 from the qualification was allowed to open the semi-final. At about 2 pm was the last run for the men and then finally the semifinals for the women started. Here, too, the starting order was based on the times of the preliminary heats.

Since I had won the qualification, I had to start last. The long wait for the heat didn’t help my nervousness. I realized that I simply don’t have enough racing experience yet. Fortunately, the pressure and nervousness faded into the background when I slid off the start ramp.

I was honestly not that happy with my semi-final run. The line through the TNT wasn’t ideal and after the Champion Killer, I went around the stone on the right, which is a bit slower than the left line. I remember just thinking to myself as I paddled across the finish line: Please let it be enough for the top 5, I want to show again that I’ve got it.

One minute later, Lena arrived and said: “Laura, you had the most beautiful line of all, and I think you were also the fastest. I couldn’t believe it at first, but half an hour after the semi-final, the results were in and sure enough, I had won the semi-final!

Photo: Katja Jemec
TNT – Photo: Milos Jakobi

The final started at 4 pm with the 30 fastest men. The times from the semifinals were used for the starting order. After that, it was the girls’ turn again.

At this point, I would like to thank everyone who helped me to shorten the waiting time, distracted me, calmed me down, and kept me warm. Without you, I would probably have gone crazy. I was last on the start ramp again, took a deep breath, tried to block out the race, and just concentrated on a normal wave bridge lap.

Special thanks to Michi Sommerauer, who taught me exactly that after the semi-final: Don’t try to race full throttle, just ride nice and fast. That’s exactly what I did.

In the TNT I was a bit far to the right, which was a very nice lineup for Minus One and Championskiller. After Championskiller I shot out towards the left channel, and I was already overjoyed with my line. And then came another moment of shock: I got stuck on the wall with my left paddle blade and only had my paddle with one hand. Luckily, I managed to grab it again and continue paddling. And then you do get rewarded when you start last. You are spared the long anxiety. Shortly after I crossed the finish line, I heard my time over the loudspeakers and learned that I had really won.

Photo: Katja Jemec
Photo: Katja Jemec

Afterwards, there was just enough time to be congratulated and hugged by everyone, to drink a quick beer, and then the award ceremony started. Congratulations to Maike Möst for second place and Martina Wegmann for third place!

I haven’t found a suitable place for the giant cowbell yet. The really great thing was that there was the same prize money for men and women at the Oetz Trophy. Many thanks to the race organizers: You did a great job and I will definitely participate next time!

In the evening, there was the Athlete Dinner (which should have taken place on Friday evening) for all finalists at the Ötzer Wirt. Afterwards, of course, there was some celebrating, in accordance with all the Corona rules.

Photo: Katja Jemec
Photo: Kritof Strusa

I had a great time before and during the race in Ötzal, and I’m looking forward to this year’s race.

See you there!