December 31, 2014

Reflecting on 2014

2014 was an awesome year. I have come to understand something about the sports world that is, most times your hard work pay off and dreams come true when you do not expect it.

During my holidays in January, I started my year in Golden Gate with a training camp (De Bruin Train) which lasted almost a week. This gave me the opportunity to some “altitude training”, learn more triathlon skills and making amazing new friends. I also got in touch with Hendrik de Villiers, to coach me for the rest of the year.

My major goal for the year was to be a leading figure for the ITU Cape Town group (AG) race that was to take place in April.

I participated in the Xterra Lite race at Buffelspoort in the month of January, which I finished up with a silver medal in my AG.

In February, I competed in the CGT trails in Germiston just so I could be eligible for the SA trails in duathlon and triathlon. Luck was not on my side on the race day, my bike developed a fault which could not be fixed in time so I had to borrow a friend’s bike. Nevertheless, the race ended for me even before it began as the borrowed bike lost its tyres just at the beginning and that was it.

With my attention now pointing towards Cape Town, I found an unexpected message in my message box asking me to participate in the up and coming SA duathlon champs which were to take place at the end of March in Pretoria. I embraced the offer with both hands.

I have always enjoyed running right from when I was little, but swimming has been quite an interesting one to learn ever since I ventured into triathlon in 2012. I had done lots of things to improve this skill, but it was always telling on my races.

The ITU Africa and the SA duathlon champs were merged together serving as one race. I was very impressed with myself during the first 10 km run because did a personal best. On the bike, I was able to catch more competitors ahead of me, but that didn’t last long as my bike developed problems with the gears. It made me lose 15 minutes and I emerged in only 7th position in my AG. Note, this was only the second duathlon event I have participated in.

I was overjoyed and highly amazed when I got a second invitation just about a week after the first. “You have just been selected to represent Triathlon South Africa at the ITU World Duathlon Championship in Pontevedra, Spain.” Finally, my long expected dream has come to pass to compete internationally.

New goal, world champs. I had to pay less attention to swimming, in order to give my bike the very best throughout the ITU Cape Town event.

There is no water so cold as V&A Waterfront. The swimming distance was reduced to half the original, because of the temperature. This gave me an advantage. I also had an amazing bike which made my ITU Cape Town race a fantastic one.

Kyalami racetrack became my second home for the rest of April and May, to prepare well for the competition and to boost my confidence. I had was very self-assurance when I left for Spain on May 26. The international travel was an experience in itself with all the interconnecting flights. My bike was loaded in the most basic of boxes, but it survived the whole journey.

In the champs, I started well during the first running lap, but the experience of my competitors showed after that. I was still glad to be part of it all. Although the race was an anti-climax, with me ending up 33rd in my AG and falling 10 minutes below my set goal, I still broke my PB.

Here is a summary of my results.

I now know what it takes to compete at the top level of competitive sports and will do my best to find more balance in 2015, for every aspect of my life.