I’ve been doing triathlons since 2012, pretty much figuring stuff out as I went along and downloading programs from the internet. After I finished Ironman 70.3 Durban in 2016 I realized I hit a ceiling that I would not be able to break through by doing what I’ve been doing the last 4 years i.e. doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I know we are normally coined as crazies, but I do believe that is the definition of crazy. So I signed up with MPG hoping to basically just improve on the previous season and bag some PB’s. At the time my PB’s were: IM (11:00), IM70.3 (5:03) and Olympic (2:21).
Standing at the start chute in Rotterdam about to start my first World Champs I could not believe how much I improved in 12 months. Not only did I smack my IM and IM70.3 PB’s by 40min and 15min respectively in 2017, I managed to qualify for ITU World Champs, something I never had my eye on when I started this crazy journey.
This was my first race where I travelled across the borders of South Africa which in itself is quite a stressful experience. Hoping that the awesome airport staff at OR Tambo, Dubai and Schipol Airport don’t man handle and damage your bike causes unnecessary anxiety which we don’t need. I used a Scicon AeroComfort Triathlon Bike Bag and I must be honest it is probably one of the best tri-purchases I’ve ever made. You literally just take the wheels off, no need to take the handlebars down, or pedals or seat. Everything stays in-tact and I just had to pop the wheels on when I arrived in Amsterdam and I was ready for a training ride to get the blood flowing and settle some travel fatigue.
On the Thursday before the race we had a “Parade of Nations” planned, but it was unfortunately cancelled due to poor weather conditions and instead we just attended the opening ceremony which was facilitate by who else but Paul Kaye. That was quite a special moment where we got to meet the rest of the SA team, or those that braved the weather.
This was my second race where we had 2 transitions areas, but the difference with this one was that T1 and T2 was separated by a massive dam, lol. Thus we checked our bikes into T1 on the Saturday and an early check-in to T2 on race morning to make sure all running gear was in place. From there we got a ferry across the water to get to T1 and do final bike checks.
The swim kicked off at Rijnhaven in about 16?C water, with air temperature starting at about 10?C, it was actually a bit warmer in the water than outside. We had 1 loop of 1500m with probably the longest run to T1 from the swim exit that I ever experienced. With a smooth transition out of the way it was time to get cracking on the discipline that I worked hardest on and improved the most on with MPG. With a very technical but flat course I think one would have actually been better served with a road bike however I finished the bike in 1h02, would have settled for that the day before when we did the course familiarisation in pouring rain. I’m always very relieved when I’m done with the bike. As soon as I’m on the run course I am in my element and I thought to myself that I came all this way and I’m just going to go hell for leather from the start. I managed to run my best 10km (36min) and ended with another PB of 2h12m overall which bagged me a 56th AG position. The 30-34 AG is a very competitive age group and it was awesome to have a fellow Saffa win the age group. Bryan Difford finished first in my AG with a 1h57m time.
The next day it was time to head on home. Reflecting back over the last 12 months every single one of my expectations were smashed and I know the best is yet to come…