The triathlon in its third year transforms the city of Düsseldorf once again.
After many weeks of cold and wet summer, the clouds finally pull away to allow warm sunbeams to caress nervous athletes and enthusiastic bystanders.
A considerable area of the Düsseldorf Port Medienhafen is swarming with sportspeople, old and young, fathers carrying babies, skaters, tourists, couples in love….
It seems as if everyone has left his home to join a huge street festival.
People sitting on stairs, laying on the meadow, queuing for beverages and for the typical German Würstchen mit Senf, admiring the high tec designed bicycles, playing with their dogs while they wait anxious for the different categories of the competition to start.
German people usually don’t like to be photographed by strangers. But today peasants definitely changed their mood and it seems to me many of them are literarily waiting for me. They smile into my lens inviting me wordless to press the trigger.
At the foot of the Rheinturm the music group ‘Manos Rapidos’ play Latin rhythms and shake strolling peasants awake with their drums.
A nervous girl in her black wetsuit is being combed and calmed down by her patient mother. The youngest of the girls is hopping around wishing her sister good luck.
Excited athletes are keeping their muscles warm by jumping on the place. Others are taping aching extremities or tattooing arms and legs temporarily with their start numbers. The air is crackling like mad, charged with emotion.
It’s hard to decide what discipline to watch first. Rapid bikers, light runners or crawling swimmers?
Whatever I decide for, I have to squeeze myself between bulks of anxious spectators cheering and roaring pleasantly encouraging the sportsmen.
Male triathletes show up with their well formed half naked bodies, their bronzed skin shining tender in the sun.
It’s astonishing how the crisping tension during competitions can change the spirit of a city. It can modify its face for a short time.
The urban understatement of Düsseldorf turns suddenly vivid and slightly over paced.
As the sun rays slowly turn weaker so does the sportsmen’s tenseness too.
Most of them have already done their distance and can feel proud of the result.
Happy competitors leave the restricted areas for celebrating with friends and family.
At the end of the day I pedal satisfied home along the Rhine. Colourful kites dancing in the wind catch my complete attention.
By the time I arrive home I have the impression I’ve been far away for several weeks.
My mind is filled with vigorous images.