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September « 2009 « James Cunnama’s Blog


Archive for September, 2009

Proudly South African

Thursday, September 24th, 2009


So, today is Heritage Day in South Africa, where South Africans celebrate their diverse cultural heritage. That means that everyone is South Africa has the day off and is having traditional braai’s (barbecues) and enjoying the great South African Spring. No such luck for me over here in Korea – public holidays are pretty insignificant to Pro triathletes, so I started my day with a big track session while everyone at home was fast asleep (it was midnight there, of course!).

But it got me thinking… I have never been the most patriotic guy in the world. I always saw South Africa from the inside and was all too aware of its numerous problems and deep social ills. I have often thought that I would not hesitate to get out if an opportunity presented itself – away from the crime, intolerance, corruption and everything else.

However, this year through a great opportunity with TeamTBB, I have gotten out of South Africa – a lot! In fact, of 39 weeks so far this year I have spent 23 weeks (my girlfriend could probably tell the number of days… ;) ) out of SA in various places. And, somewhat surprisingly and despite seeing some great places, it has made me realize how much I love South Africa!

South Africa has a lot going for it and a great future. It has the most diverse natural ecosystems of anywhere – beaches, mountains, desert, forest, plains and SA ‘bush’ of course. It has all the animals that go with these, including the Big 5 (Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo) and many more. It has 11 official languages and their associated cultures. And it has a great sporting culture with almost everyone having some involvement in sport and many successful athletes on the world stage… and perhaps even an Ironman World Champ sometime in the near future… ;)

I can’t possibly list everything… if you haven’t been, you’ll just have to come see for yourself! And if you live there, open your eyes and look around…

I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder… I’m proudly South African and will fly the flag high wherever I go!

PS> Mom, don’t worry! I am not homesick, just wanted to get the message out! :)

Jeju, Korea – Training in paradise

Saturday, September 12th, 2009


So, I have been in Korea for a few days now and am slowly settling in. Jet-lag hit me for the first time last night and I was still staring at the ceiling at 1am, which is only 6pm in SA, and made the 6h30am wake-up call tough (thanks Rei for the strong coffee!) but other than that my time here so far has been great.

The team is on Jeju Island, a small island off the coast of South Korea, about 180km in circumference where we are preparing for Ironman World Champs in Kona on 10 October. So far Jeju seems to be the perfect training destination – hot and humid weather, friendly people, good roads with plenty of flat riding and hills, a great 50m indoor pool and comfortable accomodation. Everything we need to prepare for the Big Show next month. And it also has amazing natural scenery everywhere you look, which keeps the rides ineresting.

Yesterday we had a camera crew following us around all day doing a feature on the team for the local TV. They filmed us in the pool, doing our baywatch impressions on the beach, eating lunch, cycling, shopping and having dinner together. It was just like a reality TV show of a day in the life of a TeamTBB’er… well with a bit of artistic license sprinkled in liberally… ;)

I have been training lightly for a few days to get over the long trip here and the jet-lag, but soon the real work starts…

Roadtrip – a photo journal

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

So, I had to travel half-way across South Africa for a 2-minute interview to get my US Visa. Yeah, that four letter word again…

Anyway, seeing as Alexa also had some time off work we decided to make the most of it and see some of beautiful South Africa at the same time…