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Archive for January, 2010

Ironman 70.3 SA – Race report

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

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Going into the race on Sunday, I was confident but a little unsure of my form, having not raced (anything long) since Kona in October. After Raynard withdrew I was thrust into the limelight as the South African favourite, despite the presence of many other strong locals.

The weather on race morning was great and after a beautiful sunrise the pro’s gathered on the beach for the start of the Pro wave. As we got under way we were pounded by a big set of waves and it felt like they would never end. It made following the group and staying together tough and a group really only formed near the first turn bouy. I was just hanging on the back of the front group and trying to get my bearings, but was on someone’s feet and feeling good. When I looked up again the guy in front of me had dropped off the pack. I immediately went around him, but it was too late and I became the leader of the 2nd group until Lucie Zelenkova came past me a little after halfway. I exited the water together with a few others, including eventual women’s winner, Mari Rabie.

Out on the bike 2mins down on the leaders in 9th place but I was feeling good. About 5km’s in my rear hydration system decided it was carrying too much weight and jettisoned my bottle. With only a concentrated mix of gels in the other bottle, I was going to get thirsty! (Note to self: Next time use an aero-bottle up front.) The first aid-station was supposed to be at 21km and I started counting down the km’s. I got to minus-4, cos the aid station was actually at 25km! I slowed right down and made sure the bottle I took was what I wanted. I grabbed it and my first thought was, ‘ah, yes, relief!’. Then I looked at the bottle and the lid was missing. Sigh. I did my best to drink from it, but most went on me, not in me and the bottle was empty way too soon. Another 20km to the next station…

At the halfway turn I could see the leaders coming down the on-ramp of the highway as I went up the off-ramp to cross the bridge, and got the split that I was still 2mins down.

On the way back I felt pretty good, but I suffered a few cramps in my inner hamstrings. At first I tried to stretch them, but after a while I just rode (painfully) through them. I knew that they were not muscles likely to cramp on the run, so if I could just get the end of the bike I should be fine…

James on his way to a new run course record  -1h14:29

James on his way to a new run course record -1h14:29

By the start of the run I had lost some time and made up some places and exited T2 4:50 down on Fraser Cartmell and Brad Storm, in 4th place. I sipped a Red Bull and got into a good rhythm during the first lap as I slowly made up time. On the second lap I worked harder and brought the gap down to about 3mins. On the final lap I passed Brad for 2nd and pushed harder. Fraser was still out of sight, but I was I knew he was hurting and kept telling myself that he could cramp and be forced to walk even 100m from the end… He didn’t. He held it together like the great athlete he is, and I finished 1min39 behind him in a new run course record of 1h14:29. (I had no idea about the record as I chose not to use a watch on race day.)

As a year-opener, I’ll take it. There are many things to improve onin the coming months, but lots of positives to take from it too. I am getting a little tired of this second place stuff though… ;)

Onwards and upwards…

Ironman 70.3 SA

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

thumbsphpJust a quick update before I have a nap…

Finished 2nd today 1:39 behind Fraser Cartmell and ahead of Brad Storm. My race went well for the most part (full race report soon) and I had a good run of 1:14:29, to secure a new run course record (I beat Tim Don’s time from last year, when we ran together for the first half then he dropped me in the second half!).

In the ladies race Marie Rabie (RSA) won with a blinding 1:19 run split (!) followed by Sandra Wallenhorst and Lucie Zelenkova in 3rd.

Full race report soon…

Ironman 70.3 SA

Friday, January 15th, 2010

So here I am in East London/Buffalo City a few hours from PE for this Sunday’s race. We just arrived, registered, went to press conference and Pro briefing and now are chilling for the afternoon. I can hardly believe its been only 12 months since I was last here – a lot has happened since this time last year! It seems like a lifetime ago, particularly in terms of my triathlon career.

With Raynard Tissink out due to an injury I got a lot of the attention from the press – sure I would have got some spotlight anyway, but now it is a lot brighter! There will still be some tough competition though so it should be a good race.

Weather forecast looks good too (not that that matters of course).

More updates soon… I’m going to get horizontal.

2010

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

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So 2010 is here. It better live up to expectations! All we have heard about in SA for the last 5 years is ’2010 this’ and ’2010 that’. In fact 2010, pronounced ‘twentyten’ has to be the biggest buzzword in SA at the moment. By far. wc2010_logo

I guess all the hype is somewhat justified. It does promise to be a big year for SA as we host the biggest sporting event in the world. There is lots of excitement for sure, but more than a few worries too. Our stadiums are built, and most ahead of schedule, if over-budget. But everything else needed to host such an event seems to be way off. We don’t have enough beds in the country for the amount of people coming so they are going to park some massive cruise ships in the harbours for people to stay in, like floating hotels! There is hardly any public transport to speak of either, so hopefully the ships can dock within walking distance of the stadiums, too bad if your game is in Jo’burg… I will, unfortunately or fortunately, depending on whether it is a spectacle or spectacular failure, will not be here to witness it, as I will be off conquering Europe. ;) (Actually I am really bummed about it, but priorities, right?)

Next up for me, in two short weeks, is IM70.3 SA in East London, just 3hrs up the road, but close enough to almost be considered a ‘home’ race. Last year I was 6th here, but that seems like a lifetime ago now after everything that happened in 2009. I won’t be happy with 6th this time! Unfortunately Raynard Tissink, my South African nemesis (and good friend) has had to withdraw leaving me to fly the flag (okay, there are a few other SAfricans too), but we will see each other at the full IM in April.

I am looking forward to 2010 more than I have looked forward to a new year since… well probably since 2009 when I had just joined TeamTBB now that I think about it! But 2009 was really good, so hopefully 2010 will be even better!

All the best for your new year and to making your dreams come true in 2010!