BRASSCHAAT-BELGIUM ITU PREMIUM EUROPEAN CUP 29 May 2011
So, either my luck has changed, or going to Pretoria has given me the edge! Last 2 events ITU events I did in April seem irrelevant now compared to what went down this past weekend in Brasschaat-Belgium…
As last year’s travel was SO extreme, this years travel was just as demanding but also patience testing at its best! For Last years race click here —> http://wp.me/pWVZ1-1R
I arrived Wednesday 25th May in Stuttgart and was soon on the train to Sigmaringen from the airport, a journey that was only 2H30. Soon arriving I realized I didn’t have Elmer’s cell number! “my German Bundesliga team manager and 2nd Father at times” So I did what any South African would do, and I begged for a lift, which went well as the lady was going to the exact place as I was.
All settled in after a day I made my way back to Stuttgart by train the evening of the 26th. This was rather eventful as the train had a mechanical failure and it took a further 2H to get to Stuttgart/Flughawe L .Not only did I get there late, but my accommodation had left and I needed to take a taxi some 10km…… Not cheap, But hey, Got 4Hours sleep from 1am-5am and then caught my 7:05am flight from Stuttgart Airport to Brussels.
Driving from airport to Brasschaat was a breeze and it started to rain cats and dogs as I arrived! This put my mind set a bit backwards but I was soon feeling better after a swim with Claude Eksteen and Dave from Australia.
Soon us RSA guys were all roomed together after a small miscommunication with the receptionist and after a MASSIF buffet dinner costing EUR25 we hit the sack!
Pre-race day swim at the venue soon came and gone and many a cup of cappuccino was a drunken. In the evening I did my usual 30min run with 5x1min build to race pace and found my heart rate quite low J Which is a good sign for me that my body is READY TO RUMBLE!!!!
Race day dawned, and the nerves were around at the breakfast table… with my race day chat to myself to make sure I am PUMPED for the event, Claude Eksteen, Wikus Weber and myself made our way down the Bredebaan towards T2 where we would put our running kit..This event had 2 transition areas, one in the town and the other by the lake some 6km away. This allows the event to be in the town “More spectators” and also more media coverage.
To T2 we rode and the weather FINALLY came out to play! Clouds away, sun out and 22-23 degrees, perfect weather for triathlon race. All warmed up, a few pre-race punches to my face gets me psyched for some pain!
Start Line was on a floating pontoon with some 70+ athletes from over 15countries. The water was 17-18degrees and this allowed a wetsuit swim. Onto the pontoon the race officials called us, ONE, by one until RICHARD MURRAY from REPUBLIC of South Africa was called….. And boy does this get my heart pumping.
Ready on the pontoon with no-one on my left and the group split in two, we were off, and the pontoon was going the other way…. Think we all did a belly-flop into the murky water and were soon slapping and grabbing each other around the giant yellow inflatable thingy’s, o yea bouy’s.
I felt great and my find was focused on my stroke more than how fast I was swinging my arms. Soon we were climbing out of the water, but the pontoon couldn’t handle 20people trying to climb up at once, and this made for a sinking ship effect and everyone was grabbing onto each other to stay afloat , NOT ayoba I really felt at risk and if I had gone under it would have been tickets for me!
But I didn’t, and was soon running like a blind, drunken over coke bottles, due to the dizziness. I dived in, and the sight of the leaders being just a few meters ahead gave me HUGE strength to push harder! THIS WAS MY RACE!
Out the water and I was 40th, but with a group of around 40guys… There were 10-11guys who had flown the coop and on the bike this made things difficult! We were soon smashing out 50km/h+ on the flats for the 1st 5km until we hit the connection point where we would start out loops.
I must admit, being in a bunch of professional road cyclists at these speeds is scary, but put a bunch of triathletes together and you have pure death combination!
Many were weaving from left to right, not holding their line and spitting at each other? Yea, I don’t understand either! Any-who the bunch didn’t work very well together with the 6-8 willing to work up front and this saw us “Bunch now of 50” loose 30sec to 11 guys up front, JUST SAD if you ask me!
Bike Split–> GArmin Connect : http://connect.garmin.com/activity/89074007
The flowing part gets extreme, just pre-warning you!
In and out of transition in 26seconds “also forgetting to put my helmet into the box=15sec time penalty” we were soon smashing the tar at 2:35-2:45/km for the 1st 2km….. Soon after this I didn’t move for 15seconds, whoops as I was waiting in the penalty box. L With my mind reset and the anger of being so stupid, I started my run again and was soon after 400m back into my pace of 3min/km… I was about 15th now and every lap I was catching people… My head down and mind in GO mode, I pushed through the pain and my mind was free from problems, doubts even about my time penalty…. Never once did I think I would win, but never once did I doubt myself!
Moving into the last lap, I was in 4th Place and had just passed Daniel Unger 2007 World Triathlon Champion. In my Mind “You are faster than 3min/km, go 2:50! And I did… closing the gap on the front 3, and soon even passing Vincent Luis (France) to take 1st place…SUB 30min-10km run!
My legs were seconds away from completely seizing up, but I held it together and kept up the pace till the race was done…
3 YEARS have passed, and I have never obtained a great result in Triathlon, but this day was mine, something I will grow on with years to come…….
I find that I have been through hard times; times when all I wanted to do was give up trying! I have found now, that being great, is not just about being the best, it is about thinking the best and having the never say die attitude!
Words really can’t describe what this race has meant to me, my career in triathlon and to my country even!
My Triathlon federation, sponsors, Family and everyone who has helped me in some way to get to this point in life…
GREATER things are to come!
Never give up, there is always a way to beat your best!