Slanghoek Triathlon, held at one of the most beautiful triathlon venues, set in the Slanghoek Valley, was probably not one of my best races but was a great day and all part of learning. After all, it was only my 5th triathlon that I have ever done!
It was a beautiful day, clear blue skies, not much wind and I was feeling fairly relaxed. There were lots of the top triathletes competing so I knew it was going to be a tough race.
With so many entries the road tri was split; the men started at 8am and the ladies and vet men started at 8.30am. A good decision considering the dam is quite small. I didnt have the best of swims; being hit several times and not being able to get into a rhythm I ended up doing a lot of breaststroke. I definitely need to practice in open water and swimimng wearing a wetsuit as my breathing felt restricted no matter how much i kept telling myself to relax! But before I knew it I had survived the 2 circuits of the dam (1.2km in about 24.5 mins) and now it was time to play catch up. My transition was abit slower than usual; I had a headspin as I was bending over trying to put my cycling shoes on so decided it would be much better to sit down and put them on that way instead!
With my 32Gi chews stuffed down the front of my top off I went out of transition onto the bike route. I had my newly attached tri-bars on and actually felt quite comfortable using them. I know I should have practiced with them to get my different muscles used to working but I was hoping I’d be ok. I began picking off the ladies in front of me. In hind sight I didnt go as fast as I should have been going. At the time I felt happy with my speed but when you come out of the water near the back of the field generally the athletes around you wont be that fast on the bike either so although I was passing riders one by one I should have been passing them at greater speed! My quads and butt muscles were beginning to take strain after about 30km but there was no point in worrying about that…I still had a 12km run to do after the bike leg.
My legs were feeling a little jelly like, as they do when you come off your bike but I soon managed to get into a rhythm, not the speediest, but I was running. It was getting quite warm by now and there was no shade on the 2 x 6km loops. Half of the loop was on tar and the other half meandered through the sandy vineyards. I had a bit of a surge of energy within 3kms of the finish so managed to finish at reasonable pace, crossing the line just under 3hrs and 6 minutes, and in 9th place in the Ladies.
It was great to have many of the Cape Auto Centre Tri team there competing too. And the new gazebo was fab!
Check out Chris Hitchcock’s fantastic photos HERE, which capture the day perfectly.