Ironman South Africa 2011
So the race has come and gone. Actually, long gone. Where’d that week go?!
The race was fast and hard. With a field like that, that was always a possibility, but often when the field is stacked everyone sits around watching at each other most of the day and the race in only decided in the final stages. Not this time! My race was actually fairly uneventful, and pretty lonely…
I came out the swim a couple minutes down on the leaders, but after one of my best swims to date – possibly due to the new 2XU Project X:2 wetsuit, awesome suit! – and set about catching the front riders. This was going well until the turn-around at 25km, where I caught a group of 7, but where the leading 4, including Tissink and van Hoenacker were still about 2mins further up the road. And they had seen me. I couldn’t bridge up to them and slowly they put time into me and the chasing group. By 110km, the gap was about 8mins. Our pace was not fast enough, so I went solo for 70km to limit the damage. I ended up with a 4h25 bike split, my best yet, – possibly due to the new Cervelo P4 evo! best bike I have ridden, no doubt – and close to a course record (or would have been if Raynard hadn’t smashed that 7mins earlier!).
Onto the run, and 8mins down in 4th I was not confident of catching the leaders. But I was hoping, as they were all very close together, that they would keep fighting each other until all three blew to pieces. That was optimistic, and I wasn’t running very well after my solo ride. Only one of the lead three blew (van Hoenacker, completely wrecked, pulled out). Tissink held on for a well-fought and well-deserved win, with the young (he’s 3 weeks older than me) Andi Bocherer in second.
I was happy with my 3rd, all things considered. It was my best race to date (a PB 8H13), and I am pretty sure that my performance would have won most Ironman’s on any other day. I broke the course record, and although times mean little, this is not a particularly fast course (although no-one told Chrissie that!) and yet it was my fastest IM so far. And some good lessons were learned too, despite the race being fairly uneventful for me. Of course to have two South Africans on the podium in a race with that kind of depth was also fantastic for the sport in SA!
So we look ahead, and take some good form and confidence with us – next stop on my never-ending worldwide adventure is California – I will be racing Avia Wildflower Triathlon on 30 April, and then Rev3 Quassy before I head to Europe for the summer.
Onwards and upwards!