I knew I shouldn’t have had a cup of coffee before we left…but at least the fact I needed a pee for most of the journey kept my mind off the races that lay ahead. I was very grateful for the decision that we would stop at the petrol station before we drove into the campsite – I dashed into the ladies like it was a race transition, unbuttoning en route!
Now I could relax and start preparing for the race. Registration and body marking done we headed back to the car to unload the bikes and get my kit to take to the duathlon transition area. Trevor chirps up that my front wheel is flat to which I reply ‘Ha, ha very funny’ and then realise he is being serious! No major problem….it is quickly pumped back up and there’s no hissing and all seems fine….
With 45 minutes before my race starts I head along to transition. At this point I’m ready in my race kit, except for the fact I’m minus my new Orca tri shorts which I’m supposed to be collecting from Dave. Having tried to phone him a couple of times, with no answer, I’m not beginning to panic….just yet!
Fortunately the aforementioned shorts found their new owner on the way to the bike racking. Being a little bit late all the best spots in the transition area near to the bike exit were taken so I found a space a bit further down. Helmet placed on handle bars, cycling shoes and a 32Gi tab in the box, everything was ready so I just needed to change into my shorts. I quickly checked that my front tyre was still fine and ….sh*t it’s flat again!! Panic not!… Luckily I can change a tube pretty quickly although I was using my new Celtic Bicycle Wheels sponsored enve wheels so hadn’t had to change a tube on these before. Fortunately Damian and Trevor were there to keep me calm and give me a hand. (It turns out that I must have pinched the tube when pumping them up earlier)
My warm up for the race was minimal – mainly consisting of running to change into my shorts. My heart rate was already elevated with my little stress of my puncture!
It was quite a relief when the race started. The 5km run went fine; I was leading lady. I thought the lady behind was doing the Biathlon so was quite pleased that we could work together on the bike leg, however it turned out she was only doing the team biathlon and handed over to a guy (ladies can only draft off ladies) so it was going to be a solo 20km bike ride.
Wow, my new wheels were awesome! I had been a bit worried before we left very windy Cape Town in the morning that I was going to get blown off in the wind – but I had been assured by friends and my coach, Dave, that a) it wasn’t as windy at Clanwillliam and b) I’d be fine with my deep sections and not to worry!
It was great to pass some of the guys on the bike but I wasn’t so happy when they sat drafting off me!
I safely dismounted off my bike on the move; always a worry at Clanwilliam with the steep hill down to the dismount line – I really didn’t want to have a crashing dismount in front of everyone!
I set off on the second run leg feeling good. I knew I could relax now as I was far ahead of the 2nd placed lady, so I could try and save my legs for the triathlon, which was due to start in an hour. The 2.5km run however turned into a 5km run as there were no marshalls to turn us! I didn’t really mind running the extra distance, I was more concerned that I’d have less time to get ready for my next race!
As soon as I crossed the finish line it was time for me to go and get my bike into the triathlon transition area. With my bike racked I headed to get my body marking redone and then back to the car to grab my wetsuit, goggles and cap. I was glad the guys had a 5 minute head start on the ladies as I was still putting my wetsuit on when they set off.
By now the wind had picked up so the water was pretty choppy. The first few hundred metres of the swim was a bit chaotic. My main aim of the triathlon was to enjoy it, as well as race as hard as I could obviously!, whereas my aim for the duathlon had been to win it! So I tried to ignore being hit and kicked and managed to eventually get into a rhythm.
As I ran into transition I was trying to remember if I’d dropped my gears back to an easy gear – not that I could do much about it now – it would just mean an interesting time setting off up the hill if it was in the big gear…! (Fortunately I had somehow remembered to put it in an easy gear)
The bike leg was another solo 20km ride for me. One girl had managed to catch on to my wheel at about 8km. I thought she might work with me but sadly not…I even slowed at one point hoping she would overtake but she shouted she was really sorry but she couldn’t get past me to help! She did however thank me as we came back to transition…and then she zoomed out on the run with her fresh legs…!
My legs were feeling tired now on the run. I managed to maintain my pace, albeit a little slow, but at least no ladies passed me.
I finished 13th overall in the ladies and 7th in the open ladies category so was very happy with that.
Duathlon (5km, 20km, 5km): 1st lady overall (1:25:02)
Triathlon(800m, 20km, 5km): 13th lady overall, 7th open lady (1:22:30)