What a week


January 29th, 2013 by



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What a week I’ve had here in South Africa.

Really, It’s been perfect here, non-stop sunshine, amazing cafe lifestyle, good company with my friends and training was going well. Nothing special but clipping away getting fitter each week and enjoying life more importantly.  I really appreciate being able to train here and live this lifestyle.

I was buzzing for the 70.3 at the weekend in East London, South Africa It was important for me to deliver a good result, it was the start of my long distance career and although it’s January and who cares about a big performance in the middle of winter? I like to race well if I am making the effort to attend at all and I was desperate to start off the year with a bang!

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I swam well enough, coming out in the front end of the race. Certain ITU skills I’ve developed will always bode well for me in some aspects of long course racing (others i’ll need patience with). I felt good on the bike and was able to push the first 45k’s to the turnaround and people weren’t catching me fast which gave me more motivation! I think I was definitely riding a bit un-conservatively at this point though and I did begin to get a tad tired on the way home. I got passed by a very fast Bart Aernouts as well as Marco Albert and Ronnie Schildkneckt. Although was keeping the latter two within striking distance for the 1/2 marathon run. So didn’t panic too much and I still had plenty of gas left in the tank.

It was a long out and back course along the highway.  Next thing I know the constant stream of 3000 Age group athletes is no longer coming in the other direction, nobody in sight apart from roadworks and no course markings…I’d missed the turning!

I flipped my Focus bike round and rolled back down the course and sure enough I saw my friend Mark Threlfall turn off the course. I couldn’t believe I’d missed it and to my relief it wasn’t my fault. No course markings, no indication that we should take this turn, no marshalls, nothing.

I was fuming that I’d given away the chance to have a good result and when you know you’re out of the race it’s really hard to continue racing at the same level, but I tried to keep the motivation strong. I had lost 5 minutes already from going in the wrong direction and another minute while I tried to compose myself again to keep racing.  I casually put on my shoes, expecting to do a half hearted 1/2 marathon ‘for the training’, and when I got on the run course now 10minutes behind the winner. I set off running and soon found out I was in 8th with 5th just just a few minutes up the road so I put my head down and chased the top 5. 1st-4th were out of reach and strong enough to hold on but I knew it’d be worth chasing 5th position if nothing else for the points and $2000 prize money.

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Apart from some nasty blisters and a toilet stop the run was comfortable enough and I was able to cruise round for a 5th place finish. All in all I felt good in my debut and I know I had a good race in me, but this time it wasn’t to be and I just have to forget about it and move on, these things happen sometimes.

Once back home and recovered I was really excited to push on with some hard training ahead of the season. I knew what I had to do to prepare myself properly after the race experience and we have such a great selection of people here to train with in Stellenbosch, I was super motivated.

On Saturday morning we were heading out for a 5hr ride, the sun was shining, legs felt good and everyone all excited for the day ahead.  Then it flipped 180.  After 20minutes riding there was a touch of wheels, I couldn’t hold on and I hit the tarmac. We were going quite fast as we we’re just coming over the crown of the hill.

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I was so frustrated and angry, at first it seemed that I hadn’t broken anything major. I could move everything properly thank goodness, then came the realisation that I’ve got s&%t loads of skin missing this time which guarantees to be a very miserable, depressing week ahead.  I’ve been there so many times before, sticking to the bed sheets, dressing and even worse re-dressing wounds, trying to get mobile again, the first swim, the inevitable week of soreness.  Crashing is so traumatic but unfortunately it’s a part of our job.

Kelly Don and Gavin Noble took me to Hospital where they saw me straight away, gave me local anesthetic to clean me up, stitched back up my knees, dressed my wounds, charged me (£1000 total) and sent me on my way.

I’m out for at least the next week, a self subscribed holiday if you will.  I’ve been spending my time sitting in cafe’s,hanging out with friends and even some wine tasting! If you can’t drink wine here you can’t drink it anywhere!

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Thanks for reading guys and stay safe out there!