I had a really good time in Mauritius racing the ITU African Cup a couple of weeks ago. It was my first ITU race that I got on to the podium. It was a hard and hot race but I loved every moment of it. Here is my report of my whole trip- it was an interesting one.
I left Cape Town on the Friday at 4:20 in the morning. The first part of my trip took me to Joburg and after that it was still another four hour flight to Mauritius. This made for a total of about 6 hours of flying the day before my race which was not ideal. I was hoping to spend this time sleeping, but alas this was not to be! Next to me, on the flight to Joburg, was an old lady who had most probably just got a new set of false teeth as she spent the entire flight rattling them around her mouth. It sounded like an old typing machine that desperately needed a service. There went my sleep on that flight!
When I arrived in Joburg I collected my bike and went to the international section to check it in for the next flight. It looked like the great Serengeti migration! There were herds and herds of people leaving the country. I eventually managed to get to get my bike checked in and made my flight just in time. Again I was hoping to get a bit of sleep in, but the plane was like a nursery school- boisterous kids everywhere! To tope it all off the plane had some mechanical problems and was delayed for a further two hours.
Well I survived the play school and landed safely in Mauritius albeit without any sleep. I met the driver at the airport and started trying to communicate with him, but he spoke little to no English. Just one more drive and then the great day of travelling would be over. I followed the driver to his minibus and it really looked unroadworthy. I started to pray – and I didn’t stop because the guy drove like a mad man! I was tempted to put my helmet on, but I worried that that might encourage him to just drive faster.
After a long day of travelling I arrived at my destination and was extremely relieved that I was there in one piece. It was so nice to kick my feet up and relax a bit. I met up with my buddy, Richard Murray, who was also staying at the same place. Unfortunately his bike did not arrive on the plane with him and then only ended up arriving the morning after the race. Very bad luck, bru.
Now about the race: On race morning I went down for a swim in the sea to wake up my body as I had done nothing the day before. As soon as I got into the water I realised that there was a big current pulling me. This was going to make for an interesting swim. Our race was only starting at 15h00 so there was some time for me to rest after my crazy day of travelling.
It was a pretty hot day, middle of December on a tropical island. I was ready for it though. I had a good start and was first around the first buoy with David Hauss of France. I swam next to him to the second buoy, but as I went around the buoy my foot got caught in the ropes securing the buoy to the sea floor. I was now really struggling to free my foot and that’s where I lost them. From there on it was a lonely swim all the way to the end. I got out the water in 4th place
All ready to go man it was hot out there. I had a good started and was 1st with David Hous around the 1st boy and swam next to him all the way to the second boy as we turnd around the the second boy my foot got cught around the rope of the boy and was stragling to get my foot lose and that’s wear I tolst them around the boy. From there it was a lonley swim all the way to the end.. I made my way quickly to my bike and I knew that I was going to have to put my head down and cycle like a beast if I wanted to get any coveted ITU points. After the 1st lap of the bike I caught the 3rd guy who had dropped off the wheels of the two in front. I worked extremely hard on the hot, hilly and windy bike course and went into T2 in second place. I race out of transition with broken legs and I knew that it was going to be a long, hard 10km, but I said to myself that no-one was going to take that 3rd place away from me. On the last lap it looked as though I was going to hold onto my 3rd place and get some ITU points. Just as I was nearing the end of the race I was absolutely exhausted and a lady walked right in front of me. Well I almost sprawled on the ground, but just managed to stay on my feet. I made it to the finish line within the time cut off for points and stood on the podium with some pretty good triathletes. Couldn’t have asked for more!