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June « 2010 « James Cunnama’s Blog


Archive for June, 2010

Challenge France

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

So this past weekend was the week when it was supposed to happen, but instead this past race will just add to the triumph when I eventually do get that elusive first win. They say you don’t appreciate winning if it comes too easy. Well, I think I’ll appreciate it…

Challenge France did not go according to plan. There was not such a big field and I was pre-race favourite based on last weeks’ performance in Challenge Germany. I got out the water in 5th or 6th and immediately started chasing the leaders, who it turns out were only about a minute ahead. I was going well and was about 2mins down on the leader, with Raynard Tissink at 40km…

Then disaster struck. I felt my rim hit the ground. You know, that awful ‘thunk!’. I ignored it. Just a big bump. ‘Thunk!’ Oh no. ‘THUNK!’ Shit. Flat back tyre. I hopped off and shouted something profane at the trees, my only witnesses now as as Raynard sped off into the distance. Pulled out my silicone repair stuff, it let out one little sigh and was empty. More profanities at the trees. The race was going on without me. Reassess: Fix the wheel and get a good training day in. So I ate some energy bar, had a gel, had a good drink while I waited for someone… Anyone… Then Luke Dragstra came by and very generously, especially considering he would be the only person I caught the rest of the race, threw me his repair stuff. Thanks Luke! I put it in the tyre and it seemed to work, then tried to top up the pressure with a gas and the hole just opened up again. More profanities at the trees (they took it all very well and didn’t take it personally at all ;) ). Then, as I looked up the race mechanic arrived and gave me a new wheel and, about 8mins later, I was off.

The rest of the race I pushed hard against myself but it was really just another day of good training. I ended up 5th, about 8mins off the winner. Go figure.

Well done to Raynard – if it wasn’t to be me, at least it was a South African win during this time of extreme national pride, and of course to team-mates Bek Keat, for a second win in a week, and Lisbeth for a solid 5th.

As always, onwards and upwards…

Challenge Kraichgau – 2nd again!

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010


Okay, so you can scroll down and read the blog before the last, about Singapore 70.3, because again I was second and the feelings are much the same. Again, it is a bit disappointing to be so close (now my 5th 2nd place in the last year! FFS!). But again, I can’t help but be happy with the result, all things considered.

Going into the race, it was my first race on European soil this year and you never know exactly where your fitness is. So it was going to be a fitness test for me, against a very strong field. The event itself is awesome – as always the Challenge guys put on a very professional show and look after the pro’s (and AG’ers) really well. And the event is in the most beautiful area of Germany too.

I started well in the swim and was up on the feet of the leaders for a while, but the pace was fast and a few guys slowly pulled away. I looked around cos there was no way I was going to be the hero and pull the second pack around. I saw Norman Stadler on my left and Michael Gohner on my right. Not doing too bad then, I guess. I found some feet and sat there between the two Germans until the end of the swim.

Leaving transition with Stadler I thought, ‘Perfect. All I have to do is stay with him until we meet up with the front group, then I can stay there even if he goes off.’ Or not. They don’t call him an uber-biker for nothing. In minutes he was out of sight. So I settled for the second pack which gradually grew bigger as the race went on and we caught guys and others caught us. I pushed the last few km’s and went through T2 leading the big group, in 6th position overall. I was 10mins down on Stadler and 6mins down on the other 4 guys ahead. I had my work cut out for me. But I love that run route with plenty of twists and turns and little hills and had good memories of last year where I ran myself from 11th to 2nd. And when you’re already out of the top 5, you’ve got nothing to lose. So I pushed myself from the outset and was quickly reeling in the guys ahead. I ran 1:09:37, my fastest ever half-marathon (including just run races!) and caught everyone except Stadler (I caught up 8mins, but was still 2min30 behind at the end). Second again.

I am very happy with the race and its good to know where the fitness is and what I need to work on. But I am more than ready now for that elusive first win – perhaps this weekend at Challenge France…

Well done to team-mate Bek Keat for her repeat win, and thanks to her mom, Ruth for the great support over the weekend! And big thanks to the Challenge team, Felix, Timo, Stefan and all their staff. Another awesome event.

This weekend – Challenge France in Neiderbronne. Looking forward to another good race!

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