2nd at South Africa 70.3.
February 2nd, 2014 by Will
Hey everyone. I’m just getting back to Stellenbosch after a pretty successful but epic weekend of racing in East London, South Africa. I like coming to this race because it’s on my way to my favourite training destination and also gives me a chance to see where the form is at early in the year, it’s also nice for motivation during the winter months to have this on the calendar. I didn’t train super hard for this race, I did 4 big weeks in the Canary Islands and the rest of the time just doing what I could in Loughborough (I’m getting soft). I was feeling fit but still got the lions share of work to come when we arrive in Stellenbosch.
The race was really interesting with quite a lot going on for a long distance race. The swim wasn’t too quick and I was very comfortable sitting on Marco Alberts the Estonians feet this year and three of us got a small gap on the rest of the field. I went through transition as quick as I possibly could and was very surprised to get a really big gap on the rest of the field. I think I gained about 400m on everyone just in that space so I wound up on my own on the bike for the first 25k. I didn’t feel good at all though by this point. I didn’t have much power in my legs and had that feeling that it could be a very long day. Team mate Romain Guillame came past me like a train but I didn’t really respond to him, then Faris Al Sultan caught me about 10k later and he was also riding a little too quick for me. Luckily there was a group of 5 behind me so I rode my own pace till they caught and then vowed to stay with them as long as possible. The boys were really jamming it and I was really on my limit for the next hour but I knew if I wanted a chance of a good result I couldn’t let these guys ride away from me! I managed to keep with them till about 3k to go when I started to go too far into the red on one of the hills.
By the time I hit the run Romain was 4 minutes ahead of me, Faris 1:30 and James Cunnama managed to take 40 seconds out of me which seems pretty bleak doesn’t it? Considering I just rode 2.5hrs on my limit I actually felt pretty good on the first part of the run and set after them at a good pace. By 5k I caught James and went past him but on one of the downhills my feet really started burning up from the hot tarmac and the friction. I started to doubt a bit if I could keep running with this pain so I stopped quickly to tighten my shoes which helped a little bit. Meanwhile James caught me back again and we ran together for a while but by this time James was feeling better and I was going through a bad patch and he put a small gap on me. We soon caught Faris but I wasn’t sure if we had the gas to catch Romain but with 5k to go suddenly he appeared and it sparked the motivation to put my foot on the gas to make sure I caught him in time. James was just stronger today though and he took the win 23 seconds ahead of me and my buddy Romain hung on for 3rd so it was a great weekend for my new team Uplace BMC having two guys on the podium.
These races are always epic and un-predictable, that’s one of the reasons why I love it so much. You never quite know what’s going to happen. I’m really happy with 2nd this weekend, James is a World Class athlete after his 4 place finish in Ironman Hawaii last year so it bodes really well for the year that I could fly here last minute with not a whole load of training and challenge him till the end.
Would also like to say a big congrats to Jodie Swallow who managed to win for her 4th consecutive time here and everyone else who got around, gruelling day and you should be proud to be in good enough shape to get round it!!!
Thanks for the support.