“Now I really did it!”
Interview with hotelier and triathlete Denny Elsensohn-Noé
Many of Lech’s guests know Denny Elsensohn-Noé as a busy hotel director at the traditional hotel Tannbergerhof. What many did not know about him though: he also is a passionate cyclist and triathlete. In his interview with La Loupe Elsensohn-Noé, who is originally from Germany, talks about the Arlberg as a paradise for road cyclists and the balancing act between job and sports.
"The sport provides me with a kind of balance and it lets me really tune out."
L.L./ The hotel business and sports – two things that are rather time-consuming. How do you manage to combine the two? And how do you prepare for a competition despite your job?
D.E./ Sometimes it really is quite hard. Of course, my work is the priority and sports more of a hobby. In winter there hardly is any time for it, the best I can do is go swimming once a week. After the winter season is over I focus more on sports again though, when time permits I like to cycle from noon until 4 pm. Of course, it can be a tricky to juggle it all but sports for me creates the perfect balance and it’s a way to really tune out.
"RCTC simply is about working out together and having fun while doing it."
L.L./ How come you picked this sport?
D.E./ Markus, a very good friend of mine and my Götti (note: godfather) inspired me to cycle when I was a little boy. I used to be very much into mountain biking but in Lech that didn’t really do it for me. Which is why I switched to road cycling about 5 years ago. And then Markus gave me the idea of participating in a triathlon in Saalfelden. Back then I completely underestimated what it means to swim for an entire kilometre, I hadn’t trained for it and had to quit after 500 metres. After that I started training intensively and now the triathlon is my hobby.
"Guests can race with road cycling pros."
"In winter we still do most of our business but summer is becoming increasingly important."
L.L./ You are a founding member of RCTC-Vorarlberg Road Cycling/Triathlon Club. What’s the idea behind this?
D.E./ First and foremost the RCTC is a club for all those interested in the sport and most of the people are friends of mine who also like to cycle and do triathlons. Vorarlberg’s triathlon association has already asked us to found our own association but unfortunately we don’t have the time right now.
D.E./ RCTC quite simply is about working out together and having fun while doing it. We’ll see what the future brings.
L.L./ At your hotel Tannberghof you support Rad Team Vorarlberg. The young pro bikers have already held their training camps at your hotel several times. What makes the Arlberg region perfect for training?
D.E./ It’s all about the altitude, of course. Triathletes say that altitude training only starts at 1,700 metres above sea level. I think we have an amazing region for road cycling and for training for a triathlon. And, of course, we are great supporters and patrons of Rad Team Vorarlberg – and we already have a first victory under our belt.
D.E./ In order to foster road cycling on Arlberg guests also get to cycle with the pro cyclists. That’s a great promotion, of course.
"There certainly are some projects that are planned for Lech Zürs."
L.L./ Aside from that hobby-cyclists can book bike-packages at hotel Tannberghof. What is it that cyclists can look forward to here?
D.E./ We are currently planning a camp, the date will probably be around the time of Arlberg Giro or the bike race “Rund um Vorarlberg”. It will take a week and during the course of the week we’ll do one or two rides with the pros. We’ll also make sure there is a team vehicle and provisions. The race will then be the final event of the week.
L.L./ The summer season is becoming increasingly important for mountainous regions. Do you feel like Lech Zürs is on the right track here?
D.E./ I’ve noticed that in the past years we’ve started moving in the right direction. We still do most of our business in winter, but the summer season is becoming increasingly important. Guests enjoy the increasingly large choice of leisure time activities and the whole topic of cycling will certainly continue to increase in popularity.
L.L./ What concrete ideas do you have with regards to cycling in the Lech Zürs region?
D.E./ Not only road cycling is becoming more and more interesting, e-bikes are becoming increasingly popular. Which means that the sport is becoming more interesting for people who would not have dared to venture into the mountains on a bike before. Generally speaking, more and more people have a lifestyle where sport is an integal part and that’s where we come in.
L.L./ You have been cycling for a long time. What moments are your favourites to look back on?
D.E./ The moments I particularly cherish are those where I’m up on some pass and I think: “Now I really did it!” Be it Silvretta, Hahntennjoch, or Hochtannbergpass – it’s beautiful everywhere. And road cycling has made me realise just how astonishingly beautiful the area is. And, of course, I have personal goals, too, and I like to take breaks to take pictures. I only got to know the Arlberg through cycling and meanwhile I know it better than my wife (laughs).
"Cycling showed me just how astonishingly beautiful the area is."
L.L./ At the moment you manage the balancing act between the hotel business and cycling. What are your future plans?
D.E./ I see my future in the hotel business and aside from that what we’ll see what else the future brings. Of course, I am also looking forward to seeing the next developments in cycling. There certainly are some projects being planned in Lech Zürs.