Sorry I am so late updating my blog- I have been enjoying my break too much. It’s really gr8 to be in RSA again. I have missed this beautiful country a lot for the past 7weeks.
After a long training camp in Europe and lots of big races gaining international experience we headed off to Budapest for the biggest race of the year – Triathlon World Champs.
This was the race that I had been working towards the entire year. This was the race that made me get out of bed each morning and go training come rain or shine because you know that your opponents are doing the same thing all over the world.
We departed our training base in Radovljica, Slovenia which had been our home for the past 5 weeks. It was the most amazing place to train, a real triathletes paradise. We left on the Wednesday morning with only a 4 hour bus trip ahead of us – this was not nearly as bad as some of the other epic bus trips that we had endured. It was also a really nice bus and we each had 2 seats to ourselves, a DVD player and aircon.
Here is a photo of the bus:
We arrived in Budapest in the pouring rain. My immediate reaction to the city was one of dislike – being from the farm I don’t like big cities. I don’t really mind racing there, but I will never live in a big city.
We made our way through the historical city to our hotel. Man, oh man, did I feel like a pro when I saw where we were to be staying – it was really fancy. Thank you Triathlon South Africa 🙂
The rain made it hard to go out and train, but we just had to do it.
We didn’t really know it then, but we were in for some wet, cold, dangerous and hard-core racing.
Race briefing was two days before the event and it was still pouring down with rain. It was great to see all the friends that we had been racing against for the last couple of weeks, same old, same old, except that this was the last race of the season and we were all amped to do well.
The day before the race and it was still raining. It was also extremely cold so I needed to prepare well before my race and stay as warm as possible. I was feeling good in the water and on the bike and run. I knew that I was in the best form that I have ever been in and I was excited for my race.
Race day and it was still raining in Budapest. I made my way to the race start and did my cycle warm up. My legs were feeling good and ready to do some damage. I checked my bike into transition and got everything ready for my race. I did the rest of my warm up run and swim. Flip, the water was cold. Only 16 degrees!
Next thing we were lined up and waiting to make our way down to the starting pontoon. On the pontoon my heart rate was through the roof, I was stressing so much, but ready to kick butt.
The starting hooter sounded and around 75 men dove into the freezing cold mess that was to be the swim.
The 1500m swim leg is not so much swimming as it is pure survival as you are being pulled under, kicked and just generally prevented from moving forward. So being able to swim in a pool is not enough – if you can’t hit back then you have a problem.
Up to the first buoy I was still in the front pack, but towards the end of the lap I started to fall of the pace and athletes started to swim past me as though I was floating on my back.
I was having a bad swim day, but I hung in for another lap and made the second pack out the swim.
On the bike I was feeling much better and after the first lap I saw that we were 1.15 down from the front pack.
I said to myself: I have two choices – I can sit in this pack and hope for a top 60 or I can get myself to the front of the pack and close the gap to the first pack and get a top 20. So I obviously went to the front of the pack and started working. A German athlete and I did the work and we caught the front pack by the 3rd lap. Man, was I relieved to catch them. I then sat in the pack for 1 lap just to catch a rest and then moved up to the front again to avoid any crashes.
On the last lap I tried to get away, but only managed to stay away for 40 seconds before the group pulled me back. I wanted to try again, but I was boxed in. I then just sat in the pack and waited for the run.
I got off the bike in the top 20. I quickly realised that I had done a lot of work on the bike and I was really feeling it on the run.
After just 1 lap I was feeling pretty broken, but I was still pushing myself very hard – so hard that I started getting stomach cramps. I saw that my team mate Richard was having a good run – at one stage he was running in second place. So I prayed for him and asked that God give him strength. 10 meters later I asked God for some strength for myself as well!:)
At once my stomach cramps disappeared and I got my rythmn back. I passed 7 athletes on the last lap and ended 32nd.
I was happy with my performance, but not satisfied. I know that I still need to improve a lot.
I am so happy that I can compete in this amazing sport and that I can praise God while doing it.
Thank you to my support crew in RSA and to TSA for investing in us.
I am almost done with my 3 week break and then training starts again. Can’t wait.
Keep on 😉