What a race, where do I even begin..
Defending my title of African Champion was certainly something that came with a bit of pressure. Held in Yasmin Hammamet, Tunisia meant that not only would I be traveling, I would also most likely be racing in hot conditions.
I have trained solid for the last 3 months and was ready for whatever I had to throw down on the day.
Traveling with my fellow para triathlete team members, some juniors, U23 and able body elite athletes. The flights were good and soon we were all in Tunisia. Upon arrival we all quickly learnt the concept of ‘Africa time’. After what seemed like forever, the bus eventually arrived and we all piled in along with the Team from Zimbabwe.
Arriving at the hotel about 90 mins later, some athletes had the unfortunate fate of having their bags ‘lost’ somewhere between South Africa and Tunisia. This would prove to be very stressful for them over the next few days.
Doing a few runs and of course the route familiarization, it became apparent that it was going to be a flat fast race. I was going to have to be on top form to retain my title. The sea was calm but extremely salty.
The morning of the race arrived and as I loaded my bike and accessories into transition, I was reminded once again of just how far I have actually come over the last four years. I got goosebumps realizing again that I am in fact representing my country on a continental platform and irrespective of win or lose, I should appreciate the fact that through sheer determination and many many hours of training I have got to this level.
On the beach, moments before the start, everyone shaking hands and wishing each other good luck, I made myself a promise that I would push as much as I had to to make sure I get the win.
The swim went okay although my goggles kept leaking. Not being able to see at all, I had to stop several times to empty my goggles. Nevertheless, I got out of the water in second position and was assisted into pre transition to get my leg on. Into transition, helmet on, grab bike and run.
I was first onto the route. I knew things were going to be good. I would allow the tandem of David Jones and Guide Rohan Kennedy to catch me as they are 4 legs against one.
Off the bike, in overall second position but still first in the PTS4 category. Bike racked, shoe on, legs swapped, helmet off and out of there into the run in 40 seconds flat! What an awesome transition!
On the run I wanted to push for a PB so I went out on a tempo with intention to increase as I went along. That’s exactly what I did and the efforts paid off. Missed the PB on the run by 10 seconds but posted an overall race PB by more than 3 minutes!
Really happy with my performance and being able to retain the title of fastest para triathlete in Africa!
Thank you again to all the supporters, followers and believers. Most of all, thank you to my beautiful wife and kids for all their patience.