This was going to be my big tester for IM70.3. Virtually the same distance as that event it is the perfect tune up and see what still needs some work. First of all my expectation was to survive the swim in under 1h. (this was to be the longest swim distance in my life so I would take it easy and see what happens). 53min later I got out of the water and I was pleased with how that had gone. Yes I did feel like I came virtually last again but hey at least I was in catch up mode from here!
T1 was the usual rolling on the ground trying to get my feet out of the suit. I think you need to witness how this suit sticks to my legs in order to understand. ( I may even consider shaving my legs to facilitate a quicker exit.
Hop onto bike and up the short hill. Check systems and get into a rhythm. There was a bit of a breeze but it did not bother me. I did notice how few other cyclists were out. Then suddenly this guy in all white tri kit came past like I was standing still. I have never seen anything like this! I was trying to work out how the pro’s were able to lap me so quickly. But hey I was there in my own zone, my own pace. The many corners and turns of the course enabled me to work slightly differently into and with the wind. Great feeling. 1h20 something for the first lap. I knew I was flying. I passed M at some point and she said she was doing good. I could see she was great!! It was quite something to pass a loved one in the 15s (to avoid a drafting penalty) and still share some words. The white knight appeared in the distance and I gained ground but not enough to catch up. He would sit up every now and again and I would close the gap until he stretched the rubber again only to sit up …
I knew that I would take him on the run but to my surprise I caught him on the last hill into Brandvlei. Quickly off my bike and running shoes on and out on the road.
There was a guy just ahead who put on a decent pace and I stuck with him. It felt like this pace was a bit optimistic for 22km but I wanted to see what would happen and yes my ego would not let go. Suddenly the runner turned at the short course turnaround and I was left to continue into no man’s land. This section was the worst by far. A hot and lonely out and back road. My strategy was to get settled in on lap 1, consolidate on lap 2 and give it horns on lap 3.
My nutrition was off (I consumed 400cal of Gu Roctane energy drink and 2 Gu gels on the bike) and now I was left to live off the land on the run. At some point I did look at discarded bars and half eaten gels wondering if it would be cheating if I tucked in. somewhere along the road I was coming up on a group when one athlete looked around. That startled look in his eyes. He knew I was about to pass and he did not like it. “It all goes down on the run”
Lap 2 was about damage control and finally on lap 3 I walked the two little ups. My fighting spirit was gone and I was into self preservation mode. I knew I had done better than expected and I just did not care to push that extra bit.
I finished and enjoyed several Erdinger Beers. M finished also and we felt proud. In fact she managed to podium again and bring home some loot! H was there and it was great to chat and eat and hang out. Tired but pleased with a job well done.
Thanks to all the organisers, friends, spectators who were all there in person or spirit.