We set off on Friday afternoon (thank you to my boss for letting me away early…again!!) with cars packed to the brim, you would have thought we were going away for a month! Excited to be away racing, excited to be away camping with friends and excited to be seeing a new part of the country.
We arrived in good time at the beautiful Clanwilliam Dam and after Manus kindly removed some ‘squatters’ from our camping spots the tents were errected and pegged down firmly in record time before sunset and before the wind carried our homes-for-the-next-two-days off into Namibia!
Its never easy having a quality nights sleep in a tent, although I must thank Colin for letting us share a compartment of his tent/marquee! So nice to have lots of room to put all our stuff and to be able to stand up in the tent.
Saturday morning started with the Open water swims and the kids events. The Duathlon didnt start til 1pm so lots of time to prepare/get nervous/go to the toilet/check kit/go to the toilet again and check kit again! No infact I was fairly relaxed which was great. I made sure I had a good nutritious breakfast, similar to what I eat every day at home so I wouldnt upset my stomach, which would keep me going til after racing.
With my bike racked in a good position in the transition area, and near to a tree so I could easily remember where it was!, set in a gear so I could climb the hill easily out of transition, helmet and shoes set out ready, I headed to the start line. Before I knew it we were off. We heading along the dirt track and then up a steep hill – not the nicest of starts! I got into a good rhythm quickly and felt very relaxed. I was the leading lady from about 400m and that’s the way I wanted it to stay! The good thing about the 5km run route doubling back on itself was that it meant I could see where the other ladies were positioned behind me. Yolandi Visser wasnt too far behind…
I had a quick transition and was quickly off on the bike route. I had been warned about the bike start; a very steep hill where many athletes in previous years in their haste had come to grief here, either failing to get clipped in or being in the wrong gear. It was a draft legal race but sadly only men can draft on men and women on women. So being infront it was just me, myself and I. And I had to make sure I didnt let the gap to second place get smaller. I had a great cycle leg and felt very strong. I felt so comfortable on my new Silverback bike. We turned back into the wind coming home but again I was able to see how far back Yolandi was and she wasnt gaining on me, infact the distance was perhaps increasing. I was chuffed that only one group of men passed me, who I later passed on the second run! (A great feeling!)
My second transition again went swiftly and my legs were still feeling good. My legs definitely benefitted from the brick sessions I’ve been doing in my training in the past month. The 2.5km run was just a shortened version of the first run so it was back up the nasty hill but then a quick turn around and homeward to the finish. It was sweet to see the local children running alongside but fortunately I outran the 3yr olds!! I was delighted to cross the line in 1st place (1:13:10), over a minute infront of the next lady.
The Triathlon started at 3pm so it was a very quick sorting out of gear and getting my bike racked into the new transition area. I took on as much fluids as I could and a couple of 32Gi chews, quickly squeezed into my wetsuit and headed to the start line via a very quick dip in the water! Sadly after about 100m into the swim my legs began cramping. I did my best to overcome the cramp by swimming breastroke, keeping my calf muscles stretched out, and also pressing one foot down onto the other to stretch out the muscle but then my other leg would start to cramp. At one point I thought I might have to put up my hand and get rescued by one of the life savers! Fortunatley I managed to complete the swim but as soon as I was out of the water I called it a day. I think my legs had had enough and the shock of the cold water hadnt agreed with them.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend and was great to be part of a racing team. Great suppport for each other and camaraderie and our kit looked awesome!!