After IronMan South Africa 2015, I took a break from training and triathlon, but the bug had never left me and I decided the inaugural Cape Ultra triathlon would be my first triathlon I’d race. Winter training is not for me, I don’t do cold and rain very well so my training certainly was not up to standard, in fact I never cycled during the week and only on weekends when the weather was decent. I did however brave the cold and rain for my runs, that wasn’t too bad as I knew I wouldn’t have to face the possibility of skidding tyres on road paint and face planting in the tar. By training in the cold and rain I got sick three times, the most I have ever gotten sick while training, so each time it set me back for at least seven days at a time where absolutely zero training was done. I also had an unfortunate fall on my bike which set me back a further ten days of zero training. I joined a swim squad to try and help me get more disciplined in the swim, as that is one discipline I despise the most for training – yet I absolutely love the swim part of the triathlon as it calms me down and centres me for the race ahead.
For the first time since my triathlon training days, I used Orca swim paddles and an Orca pullbuoy, along with the new Orca Killa Speed mirror goggles, those much needed swim accessories made my swim training so much easier and enjoyable, why I never trained with such necessities I have no idea – get some, it’s vital for every swimmer / triathlete, they are awesome! Packing for a triathlon can always be rather stressful in it’s own right, and there is always that worry of forgetting a vital piece of equipment, luckily the Orca Transition Bag eliminates all of that. I like to call this bag as a Triathlon in a Bag! There are so many compartments for every item needed it is not humanly possible to forget anything that you need for race day, it’s kind of a checklist in it’s own right. It has a separate compartment for your helmet and shoes, for both running and cycling, and a separate wet compartment for your wetsuit. There are so many other compartments for nutrition and anything else you can possibly wish for. This bag is every triathletes best friend, and an absolute necessity to wash away any pre-race stress and nerves!
Come race day, I didn’t know what to expect, I had so many hiccups along the way that I was not expecting much, I thought I would have a slow run and was just going to go out and enjoy the day. For the swim I wore my amazing new Orca Sonar, a wetsuit that is so comfortable it makes you want to just keep on swimming, the infinity skin gives you so much flexibility it’s an absolute dream to swim in. The buoyancy factor, utilising the Aerodome 2 technology, is just incredible. Even though the swim was in a freshwater dam, the buoyancy of the suit assisted me greatly. The swim was manic as there were so many swimmers that were swimming all over the place, some of them didn’t know how to sight, and were just generally an irritation, it was only after about 900m that I finally was on my own and didn’t have to worry about swimmers around me. I did at one stage believe that I was the last swimmer which I had a slight panic about, as the rubber duck was to the left of me and a SUP board to the right, I thought they were escorting me out as the last swimmer… it was only when I approached the final buoy that I realised I wasn’t the last swimmer as there were a lot more swimmers around me at that point – relief and happiness! I finished the swim in 0:41:58
Then it was a long run up to transition and on to my sexy Orbea Ordu, aka Bullet, and Bullet was so ready to race! Armed with an XLAB Torpedo Versa 200, it made my liquid nutrition an absolute pleasure to access, no worrying about getting out of the tri-position to fumble about with bottles while I was doing low flying on the race course, it kept me hydrated and made me enjoy the bike ride even more. The XLAB Stealth Pocket 500 had more than enough room for all of my date balls and anti-cramp tabs, another awesome product that made the ride even more enjoyable, and with it being aero, I definitely believe it saved me time! The bike route was tough with undulating hills, but Bullet managed to fly past many athletes, with only 3 managing to pass me. I managed to achieve a 31.1km/h average on the bike which I was very happy about, and completed the bike in 2:51:46.
Right from the start I wore the new 226 short sleeve race suit, I was slightly nervous about wearing it on race day as I never trained with it before, and we all know the general saying – Never use a new garment on race day! I ignored that statement and wore it anyway… this suit is so incredibly comfortable, even in the swim there was zero irritation or chaffing, it was as if I wasn’t even wearing anything under the wetsuit. It fitted like a glove and it felt amazing! The short sleeves certainly are an absolute dream for protection of the sun, and I never suffered any sunburn penetrating the suit at any point. I also wore the Orca Race Socks and Orca Calf sleeves, both are an absolute necessity in my eyes, and they saved me from cramping in my calves – highly recommend these awesome socks! I wore the calf sleeves throughout the race, and only put on the race socks for the run. The run was tough! With it being trail, the surface was very uneven so as much as I wanted to look at the gorgeous surroundings I was more focused on the path in front of me. After the first loop I went into a very dark place, with a lot of mental fights… “Stop now, just walk… Just lie down here” but luckily I never listened to those evil voices and I continued hobbling along.. I did run a bit slower, but I was mentally prepared for that… however what I wasn’t expecting was to hit a PB when I came through the finish line at 5:43. Ironman 70.3 East London 2015 I managed 5:51, so with this course I was really happy with my end result.
The inaugural MiWay Cape Ultra triathlon is an awesome event, and I highly recommend it to anyone! It’s set in the most beautiful area of Theewaterskloof Dam in the Cape Winelands, the surrounding areas are just stunning and we are truly Blessed to have such an amazing race right on our doorstep! The Cape Ultra crew were all incredibly friendly and helpful, and just made the race that much more enjoyable, I’ll definitely be back