From 10 days of NO-training to boarding a flight to Johannesburg ,then to Maputo-Mozambique , things didn’t look promising ! This was my short 28hour journey to the All African Triathlon Champs which would actually turn out to be one of the BEST races i have had to date!
Coming into this race in Maputo I realized that things would be hard going after some time off, BUT I knew if I didn’t do well….. The rest of the year would be a catch-up year with regards to ITU points! Mentally, I thaught “ do what you can, ATLEAST I have gotten over my bronchitis”..
Our event “Elite & U23” took place VERY early at 7:30 am with quite gusty winds pushing the bouys out of place, making it an out and back swim.. This then ment that we would only be swimming about 1200m instead of 1500m, BUT hey I’m not going to complain.
The race got under way, being a wetsuit in choppy waters I would need to change my stroke.. For a novice swimmer, one would benefit from shortening their stroke in choppy water conditions. This allows for a faster arm cadence and more moving forwards instead of smashing against the waves/chop.. I find my stroke is long and smooth now, but this in choppy water has little effect as the water is constantly moving underneath me..
So, the swim looked dangerous and short , the bike was a 8lap 5km route with a nice cheeky hill in it , and the run was a COMPLETE surprise to me J It even felt like we were racing Ironman, as it was dark when we left to get to the race venue..
All warmed up with my 15min bike, 10min run and short swim and telling myself I am a beast and can do anything, we got out the water and were soon shocked that the water was SO choppy it had moved the 1st bouy about 300m away from where it was Placed.. The officials then decided, a 2 lap 600m swim would be enough, as it was the only bouy staying put!
WE were called down to the beach and and it never gets old when they call my name out , and I was ranked 6th J
BANG!!!!! And we were off into Maputo’s choppy waters , breathing more to the left due to the choppy right hand swell making us choke on salt water .
We were all close together at the turn around, but some guys did some “dunk and dive” by the bouy …… “no swim Caps” normally allows for this.
Coming out of the water, and I knew I was a bit behind, BUT I kept me cool and didn’t panic. Out the water we came and I was close up on The Blignaut and Hendrik de Villiers and needed to keep someone in-front of me for the 2nd lap. Out onto lap 2, I caught Theo’s feet in the chop and managed to get some slip in before the bouy again.
Coming back to the shore and I lost a few seconds with 100-200m left. My mind thaught “ This swim can make of break my year…. HTFU and focus”
Out the water and I needed to make up a few meters on the way to transition. Ripping my TYR hurricane down half way into transition and cap and goggles of 1st, I got my wetsuit off quickly with help to baby oil on my calves and ankles….. AND the quick stand and kick motion to kick the $650 wetsuit off.
Onto the bike and I MADE IT!!! I was just behind Theo-Wikus-Hendrik-Rudolf-Erhard and a few more athletes from around Africa. The bike route was going to be long and tedious as everyone was in the front bunch which ment slow and tactical riding “ NOT my faverouite” I like hard and fast.
The bike had a few small break aways and funny moments with a lead bike stalling infront of the bunch on a downhill “ I think he didn’t realize how fast we can descend ” about 2.5km from transition I threw a small attack to get ahead in the bunch through transition ..
This really worked in my favour and I managed to get out 1st with Hendrik de Villiers on my heels.. “O , yea also managed to get my helmet into the box… Which I usually get a 15 sec time penalty for”
Out onto the 4 lap 2.5km run route and I was smashing out 2:45-2:50min/km so 21-22km/h. Hendrik stayed on my feet for the 1st 600meters but then he tapped off a bit and I started to get a small lead on the group.
I planned for a 3:10min/km average and got a 3:08/km so I’m very pleased with my running speed at the moment! I managed to hold off Hendrik towards the finish and took the 1st place and the Honour of being the All African Triathlon Champion for 2011 “ so Best in Africa”
For me this has hit one of my medium term goals of becoming the best in RSA for triathlon, and I will continue to move forward in triathlon..
After being out for 10 days, I was REALLY not sure what to expect from my body. Funny enough, I think my body knew what was needed, and I guess rest was on the menu..
Lessons learnt, 400 ITU points gained, a Lovely time spent in Maputo with the friendly locals and a goal achieved! What more can I ask for?
Keep living the dream, I know I will 2!
BIG thanks to Mamma and Pappa for travelling to come and watch me race, thanks for all the support! You guys Rock