During the last two weeks before the African Championships in Le Morne – Mauritius, the ‘unknown injury’ in my legs (which doctors think might be related to my back and pinching nerves) was much better and I decided that I would compete in the race. I struggled again on the Tuesday & Wednesday leading up to the event but it didn’t affect me, I think, because I didn’t feel it over the weekend and during the race.
So with a positive attitude, myself and most of the RSA team, we took to the skies and landed on the beautiful island on Thursday afternoon. We checked into a very nice 4 star hotel which is like a village on the beach, and made our way to the buffet dinner where we were spoiled with the taste of amazing food every night!
Friday was pre-race warm up day for me, starting with a nice swim in the pool followed by breakfast. I then cycled about 30min along the coast with beautiful scenery the whole way. Later I slipped my shoes on and went for a run to stretch the legs out, and goodness it was hot! I then spoiled myself with a good lunch and relaxed the rest of the day.
Saturday was race day and woke up at 6 to eat and get ready for the 7am bus trip to the venue. The race venue was an amazing place to race at, just the heat was quite bad!
At 9.15 our race got underway and I had a relatively slow start to everyone else but after 400m I was in the front controlling things like I usually do. A group of 4 managed to get a 50second gap out onto the bike consisting of myself, Erhard Wolfaard (RSA), Ospaly (CZE) and a Moroccan athlete. We worked well together but I was struggling on the brutal climb we did 6 times. The last time going up I lost the wheel of Erhard and Ospaly and was caught by Felgate (ZIM) and the Moroccan. Felgate being very tactical attacked just before T2 but I managed to bridge the gap coming into transition.
I slipped my shoes on and ran off for the 10km run. I started a little slower because I wasn’t feeling strong at all and as soon as I picked up the pace my body packed up and I found myself just making it to the finish. I had too many DNF before and came along way to race so I wasn’t going to give up. Soon during the run I started getting cold shivers and very lame and no feeling in my arms. I can’t tell you exactly what happened but with a very demanding bike course and heat it all took its toll on me in the run. I may have suffered from some heat stroke. I recovered after a couple hours and enjoyed my stay until we left the next day. I was 6th across the line and 5th elite. I also missed out on very valuable ITU points because I wasn’t within 5% of the winners’ time.
I am disappointed but it’s also just another card of experience I gained and that’s something no one can give you. A big congrats to Richard Murray (RSA) for his second African title and Erhard in silver!
A special thanks to ATU for a great event, TSA and Lindsey Parry for their help and support as well as Finis and Team FutureLife.