On the 20th June 2010 I would do my debut race for ALZ-sigmaringen at Schomberg 10:10am. I had planned to come to Germany after African triathlon championships, but some work was needed on my swim before I would head out into my European season.
My FIRST race for TEAM ALZ-sigmaringen, and it would be a cold one indeed! The race was comprised of a 1.4km lake swim, a 43km hard cycle and a scenic 10km run around the lake. I was quite uncertain of how I would feature being it my first race in this league and thus I didn’t really expect to do well. I heard that the swim would be one lap out and back, the cycle route had enough climbing to make any tour de France rider cry, and the run…….. Come to think of it, I had no idea!
Speaking to a local athlete, in part English /broken Afrikaans I understood that the bicycle route was full of hills that were steep followed by a short but fast downhill section. I was starting to think that weather of…. breaching on raining, 7degree weather and 16degree water temperature didn’t sound all to appealing. But , us as triathletes do STUPID things sometimes!
The swim start was on time and I didn’t go to race briefing, as I don’t spraken die deutch “speak German”. The swim field was spread out as there were no allocated spots, and everyone seemed to have their own route to the two boi’s that lay some 700m in front. I started all the way on the right, which was a silly option as the athletes there were on a Sunday cruise which wasn’t what I was intending to do!
Soon I realized I needed to swim left to the faster moving swimmers, one thing I didn’t realize was that I needed to find a spot in the swim pack when I got there….
FINDING a spot to fit into was like trying to change lanes in peak traffic going into the centre of Johannesburg on the N1. So what did I do? I acted just like a taxi with no breaks and beat my way into a spot that wasn’t really there in the first place ha-ha.
Soon I got into a nice rhythm and started moving my way up in the pack. At the first boi, as I could see the leaders about 25meters in front of me….. WHAT ONLY 25meters??? Swheet. On the way back we were taking for ever to reach land but soon managed to hit sloshy ground as it had rained 100mm/10cm the last day
SWIM TIME 18min05sec.
The run into transition was like “running in pudding” as there was some decent mud around! I was soon in transition, doing the ritual before heading onto the bike.
The bike begun on a 10%gradient hill, which meant being in the correct gear before hand and putting feet into cycling shoes FIRST time, otherwise you would go backwards!
The bike route was 3 laps= 43km with 3 DECENT climbs in.
Bike time = 1h02min 08sec
The hill was 2km long 17-19% gradient and climbed 150m over that distance, so it was GRANNY gear stuff, I needed a 25, which I didn’t have The cycle went well and I saw myself in a breakaway bunch of 6 athletes. We worked well together with Sebastian being by far the most dominant cyclist in our group. The cycle was hard, and ended on a fast downhill into transition. Our group flew into transition where I decided to take my time. In transition I took forever leaving 4th out, as I had forgotten to remove my GARMIN watch before getting to transition, needless to say this took some time.
MY strongest part of the race came around, the run. Onto the run and I had some time to catch up as I was about 20” adrift. I finally got my GARMIN 405 forerunner on my wrist and my BSG cap on my head, and now it was catch up time . Soon I had caught 3rd place and then 2nd place was next on my menu. I soon caught 1st place, and put him behind the South African “temporary tattoos” I had placed on my Calves. Rhythm, pace and focus soon set in, and my PUMAS took me along a lovely winding route which had gravel, tar and MUD! Yay.
RUN time = 31min 13 sec
The run was great and I was feeling smooth, now was onto the finish where a proud Elmer Knighting “ALZ owner” was standing.
I HAVE WON MY FIRST European triathlon! And the feeling of a proud South African came over me