Recorded my fastest 750 meter(m) swim to date of 11:22:0, but that did not translate to a top 5 finish. The bike was fast as I pushed a lot to bridge a huge gap created by the swift swimmers. As a result, a few persons were caught but I was forced to go at a go-slow pace on lap 1 of 2 of the run. Experienced sever cramps in the lower body. I barely managed to recover from the cramp on lap 2 and squeezed into a 6th overall finish. I enjoyed the learning experience and definitely made a few mental notes for my next race.
Pacing is very important in racing ! If you put your-all or an excessive amount of effort in one discipline[swim or bike], you will pay / suffer in the preceding discipline[s]
I have been training with this race in mind for the past few months. Aiming to reduce the occurrence of any controllable calamity. The virtual race course was analyzed so I knew what to expect. My manager and I along with several other persons[sponsors] have been working closely to get me a bike-upgrade, this is still a work in progress. A late minute decision was made to have me use a different bike for this race. So a few days before the trip I was putting in some bike familiarity sessions, which were not challenging as could have otherwise been.
The rain was pouring on the morning of the race and I really did not want to leave my bed. Luckily the race had a relatively late start of 8:30 am [compared to other race starts of 6 and 7 am], so I had some time to lay-around. We arrived at the race site[Port Louis St George], and I began to setup my transition spot. Followed by a test swim on the race course for the first time[we couldn’t swim at the venue before race day]. Race briefing then off we went
Swim: This was a deep water start in the calm marina. I focused on being efficient and was feeling good during the swim. Despite a fast swim time for me, I exited the water in 12th position – some 0:2:35+: sec behind the leader. Heading to transition I saw a familiar face, my team mate & a seasoned swimmer – Darren Treasure, which hinted that I had a pretty good swim.
Bike: Felt a bit more comfortable on this relatively new bike, so I planned to go hard on this course. I was extremely careful for we were cautioned about several existing pot holes, which were clearly marked by the race organizer. Also I had a lot of catching up to do, so out of T1 I was gunning, using everyone ahead as a target. Eventually advanced by 6 places closer to the leaders, but not close enough in my opinion. Only when I entered T2 did I felt the effects of riding that hard and spending so much time/effort in those high gears.
Run: Trying to quickly leave T2 and see who I can catch on the run. Unfortunately, I had a rude awakening as both calves and hamstrings began to pull on almost every stride. The possibility of not being able to finish lingered in my mind, but I did not want to quit. As such I began to jog, some of my spoils from the hard work done on the bike began to gradually unraveled before my eyes. My team mate Darren Treasure went-by, but encouraging me to push on, the leaders increased their gap and I could not do anything about it.
I ran in this state for approximately 1 lap [2.5km], before I got a relief from the pain and my legs were eventually able to stretch a bit further. Gradually building on this, during the last km of the run I was able to catch back one more person and secure a 6th place overall and 1st place age group.
Had my fair take of fruits and liquid after the run, followed by lite stretches and some caffeine [coca-cola] . Whilst waiting on presentation I dismantled and pack the cycle in preparation to travel back home in a few hours. A short and packed trip it was, Friday evening out the office – headed to the airport, race Sunday morning and departed Sunday night. Back to work Monday morning.
Not fully satisfied as I did not made the targeted top 5, but was able to secure the age group 1st place [not one of my favorite podium spots in these types of events]. I was giving God thanks that I did not panic when the cramp came, but persevere to the end by His grace. Knowledgeable of how differently the end result could have been, so I try to identify my mistake and burn it into my memory *laughing* .
Before we reached the airport, we did 2 beach stops/lime with the other athletes.
Not every day is Golden. But, in every disappointing day, there is a silver lining
Thanks to my Sponsors for making this trip possible