Yesterday in a beautiful sunny Blouberg I ran myself onto the 2013 ITU Africa Cup podium, behind World Ranked #5, Richard Murray and Current Junior World Champion, Wian Sullwald.
With a strong international field it could have been anyone’s game since it was a sprint distance event. It is really cool to have ITU races in South Africa with a lot of international athletes taking part. It makes racing a lot more fast and exciting without having to travel abroad.
With an 11H30 start, temperatures reached over 30 degrees and water temperature below 16 degrees with some wind.
The swim was horrible for me. The cold was just so bad it made my face, feet and hands hurt! My mouth froze into one position because my muscles were not responding. Nevertheless my brand new Huub Archimedis wetsuit did a very good job and I still got out of the water first with a comfortable margin to get through T1 and on my brand new bike.
I was hoping to see how I could “race” with my new bike compared to my old bike, but I made a mistake of not tightening my saddle enough. It was moving up and down, so I lost power and I couldn’t get into a comfortable position. I decided to wait for the chasing pack of about 13 athletes and not do anything sudden to avoid losing my saddle… however the bike rolls 100 times better!
Coming into T2 I made sure I was near the front and was 6th into transition. Richard Murray and a German athlete had a flyer through T2, followed by Wian Sullwald, Wikus Webber, an Austrian athlete then myself. I worked to just catch up to the chasing athletes and take it relaxed up the hill. At the top they slowed down and Richard was near so I took a gutsy move and surged to close in on him. I passed the German but soon felt the after effects of a sudden attack that was a little too early and Wian caught me at 3km. I hooked onto him and with just over 1km he started picking up the pace. I hung on until about 300m then he opened a gap and I didn’t have the leg speed yet to catch up.
I am very happy with my performance. It is the first time I have had a good training block since January, recovering from a knee injury. I look forward to my next event which will be the ITU Africa Cup incorporating South African Triathlon Champs in East London next month.
Results can be found on http://www.triathlon.org/results/result/2013_cape_town_itu_sprint_triathlon_african_cup/8892
A special thanks to my support from FINIS, Huub Design, Classic Eyes, Cytomax, Future Life, and Puma. Also a big thanks to my family and girlfriend for their support and to my two coaches, Alisdair Hatfield and Joe Schoeman.