Triathlon Challenge Spotlights the Importance of Testing in the Sports Industry


The testing of materials has a direct impact on our daily lives, yet we rarely think about how. Sporting goods are an excellent example of this – from shoes and protective equipment to bicycle components and climbing gear.

To spotlight this important topic in the materials testing industry, ZwickRoell in North America is challenging everyone to join it’s Strava Club and participate in it’s first-ever virtual Triathlon Challenge, October 26 to November 20. Club members will be running, hiking, walking, rowing, swimming, biking and cycling 3,323 miles across Canada, the United States, and Mexico to stay healthy and stay connected. Each discipline has a captain who will cheer on the team to reach the finish line. And during this month of fun we will also look at the wide range of tests and testing equipment used to ensure top performance and safety in the sports industry.

We talked with the three captains of the upcoming challenge to learn more about their love of the sport and how materials testing impacts their daily lives.

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Florian Liebert, Managing Director – Cycling Captain

When did you start cycling?

I got serious about cycling last May. I wanted to get fit and increase my energy level, both of which impact my work and personal life. I currently cycle four times a week, for a weekly average of 150 to 200 km.

What motivates you to keep riding?

When I get home from work, I see my bicycle in the garage and my competitive nature kicks in. I belong to a cycling club and we challenge each other to ride farther and faster – to push our limits. I’m also fascinated by the technology of modern bicycles: carbon fiber frames, lightweight but strong wheels, high-performance gears. I like to push the bicycle to its limits too.  

What do you like about our company-sponsored Strava challenges?

I like interacting with our customers who have joined the club. They invest their personal time in similar interests and these challenges help us stay connected and motivate one another.

What kind of testing is important to ensure safety when you are on your bike?

Each and every component of the bicycle must be tested for safety, for example, impact resistance tests test the strength of carbon fiber wheels. But the testing of the protective equipment I wear is also important, such as impact tests on helmets.  

What is your goal for the Triathlon Challenge cycling team?

I want this challenge to help us get ready for the spring when we can hopefully meet in person and ride together. I also want us to motivate one another and experience successes together – personal bests in distance and time.


Melanie Hoffman, Application Engineer – Running Captain

When did you start running and how do you stay motivated to lace up your shoes after a long day at work?

I started running about 12 years ago during college. I wanted to have a healthier lifestyle. I think I didn’t even make it one mile the first time I ran. At some point it turned it into a habit. Running helps me stay active and feel good – it clears my head. I find I can solve problems and come up with solutions when I’m out on a run.  

What do you like about our company-sponsored Strava challenges?

I like seeing everyone improve over the course of the challenge. It’s important for people to find time for their heath too. Seeing other people’s accomplishments in the group motivates me.  

What gear is most important to you as a runner and how is it tested?

Without a doubt, shoes. Running shoes only last so long and they must hold up to prevent injury. They need to be comfortable too. Cyclic impact tests on heel and sole are crucial for testing durability.  

What is your goal for the Triathlon Challenge running team?

I hope this challenge is a positive experience for all the runners and walkers who join. I want it to motivate people to go outside or get on the treadmill and push themselves for a longer distance and better time. Most importantly, I hope participants will find time to regularly exercise and improve their overall health.

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Bernd Schneider, Sr. Engineering Specialist – Rowing Captain

When did you start rowing and why?

I started rowing in January 2019 for health reasons. I was suffering from back pain and I wanted to do strength training in my own home. I like to row because it is an escape – it keeps my inner yin and yang balanced and helps me process all of the thoughts swirling around in my mind. My personal goal is to row 10 km/day in 60 minutes.

What do you like about our company-sponsored Strava challenges?

I’m not a particularly competitive person by nature, but rowing is my motivator to stay active. I like the group dynamic of our corporate challenges. These challenges help me set new goals and targets and I enjoy seeing what others are doing. 

What tests are important to ensure your machine is safe?

There are many kinds of rowing machines on the market, but they all work based on the same principle. I have a water rower in a wood frame. Wood joint testing and rope strength testing are two very important tests for my machine.

What is your goal for the Triathlon Challenge rowing team?

I hope those who row get a little bit faster and stronger each day. My focus is to reach our goal of 565 miles by November 20th.

Anyone can join the Triathlon Challenge. Simply join our Strava Club and start recording your activities for the challenge on October 26. You can join any and all of the disciplines. And we will be virtually visiting some of the most beautiful places in North America like Iztaccíhuatl Mountain in Mexico, the St. Lawrence River in Canada, and the Pacific Coast Route in the US!