The first ever South African Cross Triathlon Championships were held last weekend in Bloemfontein in bitterly cold and miserable weather.
But nothing would keep the athletes from racing this awesome new triathlon format.
For those of you who don’t know, cross triathlon is the ITU version of Xterra, but with slightly shorter distances and lap racing to make for more spectator-friendly racing.
The distances were 1km swim, 24km mountain bike and an 8km trail run.
With offroad racing it is very important that you do the bike course before the race so that you know what is waiting for you around the next corner. It is also helpful to know which is the fastest line to take on race day. Peter vd Mescht and I were riding the course the day before when it started raining and I went over a rock and my back wheel landed badly and it bent so that it was rubbing against my frame. My words were “AG NEE” and I did the rest of the course rub, rub, rub all the way back to the car. I then had to take my wheel to Cycle World in Bloem and beg them to fix it for me so that I would be able to race the next day. The guy did the best that he could, but the wheel was stuffed and so R950.00 and a couple of hours later I had a newly built wheel and I was ready to race the next day.
Here is a clip of my wheel:
Race day was absolutely freezing! I usually hate racing in the cold because it never feels like I can get my legs going, but it is the same for everyone and so you just have to suck it up!
Pieter and I lead out the run-swim leg (we ran in for about 100m before we could start swimming and it was the same on the way out for a 2 lap swim course = +/- 400m running in a 1000m swim),
Face plant on the first lap out the swim:
so we didn’t have a very big lead.
Onto the bike I put my gloves one, put the bike into the big blade, put my head down and pushed.
I saw that I opened quite a big gap on Pieter quickly, but I knew that there were some good mountain bikers chasing me so when my legs were screaming with the pain I shouted at them to “shut up!” I dropped a gear and went!
On the singletrack on the first lap I went too fast down the rocky section, my front wheel got stuck and I went flying over the handlebars. I got up quickly and now the adrenalin was pumping. I always say that if you crash it is not that bad, as long as you keep going forward. It is getting back on the bike that wastes time, so if you can master a quick mount then it’s all good 🙂
On the seond lap I saw that I had a big gap on the rest of the field so I just held the same pace for the last lap and my gap continued to grow.
When I got off the bike my dad told me that I had a 7min lead! I couldn’t believe it! I knew that I had a big lead, but 7min?! NO WAY!
On the run leg the wind had picked up and the rain was on its way. I took the first 2km easy, just taking some time for my legs to adjust to the different movement and to try and warm them up a bit, my feet felt like ice blocks! When I saw that I was maintaining my lead I settled into a nice tempo rythmn and enjoyed my first SA title.
It was really nice to have my dad there supporting me and to spend some good time with him after the race.
A big well done to all the guys and girls who raced. It was not easy out there. Also thanks to TSA and Free State Triathlon for putting on a great event!
Thanks to all my sponsors for making it happen! I appreciate it so much, without you guys I am nowhere.
Inov-8/Rebel, CycleOps, Compressport, HPC, Tuks Triathlon, 32GI, Gravity Training and Hatfield Cycles for getting my bike race ready – you guys are the best!
Also well done to my coach Lindsey Parry whose athletes had good races all over.
Richard won Africa Champs
Wian won junior Africa Champs, Abri 2nd, Eddie 3rd and Aidan 4th
Rudolf won u23 Africa Champs
Carla and I won SA Cross champs, Nico 3rd
Kathrin Cronje won Joburg City Tri and Riana came 4th
Keep on 🙂