Maputo, Mozambique was the venue for the 2011 African Triathlon Championships and it was the first time that a triathlon was held in this beautiful country. The Mozambicans did not know know what these skinny athletes were doing swimming, riding and running around in these funny tight suits 🙂
We stayed at the Southern Sun host hotel which was a really nice place and when inside it was hard to imagine that a busy African city was just outside the door. It was good to meet up with my old friend Richard Murray who has been racing all over the world trying to pick up some ITU points, his most recent victory being at the European Cup in Brasschaat.
The day before the race the weather was amazing, no wind and some nice warm sun – perfect weather for racing. I checked out the race route and thought about how I would race. The bike course was a very hilly and bumpy one, on some bad road surface and there was a mean hill on each lap which we would have to do 8 times in total.
The race was starting unusually early at 7:30 and so we needed to be up at 5:30. This is normal for me but for the other athletes it was crazy early. After waking up I had a look out the window to see that a big wind was up and the sea was going crazy! Richard and I have a theory that if the weather is good the day before the race then race day is definitely not going to be good! Warm up went well and we were ready to go. As we were being called up they were still struggling to keep the buoys in place. As they put the first one in it took off and headed north to Inhambane! That should give you some indication as to how crazy the sea was. They managed to get one buoy to stay still and had to make it an out and back swim that would only be 1200m.
We were off and I had no idea where I was, I was just swinging my arms and looking for other athletes. Only once I had finished the swim did I realise that I was in the front pack. I rocketed through transition with what felt like half an ocean in my stomach, onto my bike and headed to the hill. I was definitely the fattest in the pack because every time we went up the hill I was huffing and puffing like a bufflo running up a hill! But coming down the hill was a different story and I flew past the guys like a bird gone crazy, or maybe it was just my MTB skills kicking in. Abrahm Louw from Namibia was racing like a true champ. He had a gap coming out of the swim and he stayed away the whole bike. Amazing performance from him – well done!
On the last lap of the bike Richard attacked and all of us went with him. I was 3rd out of T2 just behind Richard and Hendrik de Villiers. The gazelles quickly pulled away from me, while I was struggling to get into a rythmn.
I ran as hard as I could and it was good enough for 2nd place in u23 elite. I was really happy with that result. I wanted to win, but it was not what God had planned for me for this race. My time will come. Praise God for my second place.
Now it’s time to knuckle down with World Champs, in September in China, in mind
After the race we went to a pub to enjoy the local beer, 2M. This is the only beer in the whole world that I will drink.
We triathletes just can’t sit still and relax, we always have to do something! So we played some darts. Good fun!
You know you can’t come to Mozambique and not have some seafood. It was so fresh and tasty. But the 2M beer didn’t go so well with it……..:(
There you have- it my trip to Maputo was a lot of fun. God has blessed Africa!!!
Here is a slide show I made of the trip.
10 out of 10 to ATU and TSA for hosting the event. You guys did a great job. Hope to see a World Champs in Africa soon.
Untill I blog again.
Keep on 😉