Sorry that i am only now posting last weeks race report. It’s been kind of crazy what with an extremely long bus trip back and going straight into some hectic training.
Last weekend was the first ever Sprint World Championships as well as the Team World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland and I am proud to say that I was a part of it.
We departed Radovlijca, Slovenia for the 3rd weekend in a row to go race in another European triathlon. By this time I was travelling fit and a 10 hour bus trip felt like nothing. We arrived in Lausanne at about lunch time, we checked into the hotel and then crashed on the beds for a while before going off to race venue for a swim to loosen up our muscles. The water was amazingly clean and very refreshing.
After our swim we made our way to the Olympic museum which was where race briefing was to be held. As I entered the auditorium it dawned on me that I was in the place that I have dreamt about for so long and that this was the start of an amazing journey that will one day, hopefully, take me all the way to the top.
At race briefing Daniel Unger, the 2007 World Champion, sat in front of me, on my right was Tim Don and on my left was Greg Bennet. I started stressing a bit when I saw all my triathlon heroes around me and knowing that I was going to be racing against them the next day was pretty daunting to say the least!
It hit me then that I am now one of the big boys.
Race day was going to be an opportunity to see how I would fare against the best in the world and I was up for the challenge. The mens race was to start at 10h15 and it was going to be very important that I was properly warmed up because the race was going to be so fast.
I started with my warm up about an hour and a half before race start and after a run, swim and cycle I felt like I was ready.
10min before the race start was the athlete presentation where they line you up and announce your name and country. You then run out onto the pontoon and wait for the starting horn. While all this is going on they play the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song. This really makes me stress. Then when everyone is lined up on the pontoon they play an extremely loud heart beat and you think “Oh my goodness- this is it!”
I started on the far right of the pontoon which is a bit out of the way of all the hitting, kicking and grabbing. It means that you swim a bit further, but you stay out of most of the mess and have a bit of clear water ahead of you. I had a good start, just a bit of hitting and then I was clear. Around the first buoy and I was hardly touched. This has never happened to me before and I worried that I was behind the pack, but actually I was in the top 15!
I exited the water in about 15th position and when on the bike I realised that there were only 4 athletes ahead of my pack. I made sure that I was always near the front of the bike pack to stay out of trouble.
There was an extremely nasty climb in each lap – it was about 800m long and 10% gradient – this we did 4 times. On the second lap another pack joined mine and the group swelled to about 40 athletes.
The course was very twisty and technical and it was crazy with so many triathletes cycling at top speeds, but I really enjoyed the entire bike leg.
On the final bike lap everyone was fighting to get to the front so that they could get into transition first. I managed to get myself into about 10th place just before the dismount and next thing I knew I was running with the best in the world. I really tired to stick with those guys, but slowly I started dropping back. I ended up not having a very good run and I finished 41st.
I was happy with my result as I had had a fantastic swim and bike, but then I was told that I had missed ITU points by only 2 seconds. Boy, was I bleak!
After I had forgiven myself I realised that my goal for the year had been to make front pack and then stay there on the bike. This is exactly had I had done. So I think that I can tick that box.
Next year my goal will be points, points and more points.
The next day was an extremely exciting race: World Team Championships.
This is how it works: a team is made up of 4 athletes from each country, 2 girls and 2 guys. Each member of the team completes a super sprint triathlon: 260m swim, 6km bike and a 1.3km run before handing over to the next team member.
We entered the race just to get experience and to have some fun. Andrea Steyn was starting, I was second, then Carlyn Fischer and Wikus Weber was finishing.
Andrea gave us a good start with her fantastic running ability and then I was off. I ran to the pontoon and dived into the mess. I swam like a fish and came out of the water in about 10th spot. We were a small group on the bike and during the first lap I worked too hard and when we hit the hill for the second time my legs just gave up on me. I dropped from the pack and lost about 20 seconds. As I made my way through transition I told myself “Now I’ve got to run like never before!” I ran so hard that I really and truly thought that I was going to die. I was catching the USA athlete and I sprinted past him in the hope of breaking him and I did. I handed over to Carlyn and Wikus finished off the relay. We ended in 14th place.
Well done team!
Now it’s back to training. Only 2 weeks left before World Champs.
Keep on 🙂
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