Getting a group of friends together to share a long distance triathlon is one of the things that floats our boats. Ironman South Africa in April proved to be one such occasion. Seven of the gang raced and we had a blast, both on and off the race course. It’s a beautiful part of the world, and an incredible race – truly up there (or beyond) other big races that get significantly more coverage in the triathlon press, such as Frankfurt, Austria and Roth. Even more so this year as they changed the bike course from three flattish laps to a larger, 2 lapped course that showcased what the Eastern Cape has to offer. Hills, spectacular views, wind… it turned a fairly fast course (wind dependent) into a real brute. But it was all the better for that. Check out the race video here – and look at those bike course views!
Another highlight was sharing the trip with friends of Black Line London, such as Team Freespeed (Matt and Sam were racing, and Richard was there on media duties – massive thanks to him for most of the pictures below), Lucy Gossage, who had a superb race as second pro, and Paul Kaye, the voice of Ironman Europe & SA, who called us all (well, nearly all…) over the line and does his job with energy, passion and humour. #KayemanToKona.
Whilst fun was had by all, our races were mixed! Below are the micro-reports, 50(ish) word maximum to avoid boredom, and a gallery of the fun and games. Race reports are in age order, which quite neatly ends with our only Kona slot from the trip, from our resident Kona Legend who is, we gather, planning his outfit for the Underpants Run already. Cover your eyes for that one, especially if Dave Rowe qualifies again as well.
Ironman South Africa It’s a cracker of a race. Do it, and do it with friends if you can.
Sam Blanshard (0:56/5:30/3:56 = 10:28, 7th in M25-29)
1. The Ironman swim should definitely be longer – 5km at least! 2. South easterly wind in PE = slow bike times. 3. Can Natasha Badmann not afford a new bike? 4. I wish I hadn’t lost my salt tablets, wait there’s Jamie. 5. If only I was a prince of Bahrain.
Fiona Love (1:11/6:34/3:37 = 11:30, 7th in F30-34)
Wee paddle, rode like a donkey (but enjoyed the views) then tore off on the run past the pros to give myself a final 5km of torture to the finish line. Loved the Fusion Black Line kit but thanks to poor sun-creaming techniques have been left with permanent battle scars.
Paul Burton (0:57/5:28/DNF)
Sweet… chest infection from flight! Start anyway. Nice swim. Cough. Ride well. Briefly. No power. Cough. Maybe stop after one lap. Stunning course. I’ll do lap two. Overtaking loads despite soft-tapping. Am I in this? Go for jog. Cough. Sod it. CBA. Massage & pizza after 18k. Cheer the guys. Always next time…
Troy Squires (1:01/5:53/3:52 = 10:53, 15th in M35-39)
‘Home race’. Singing the National Anthem. This swim is taking AGES! Snapped chain. Chain fixed. Why does this hurt so much. I hate this sport. Smile, there’s mom and dad. The BLL boys and girl are smashing it – STOKED. 5km left, just get this done. Right turn, right turn, PAUL KAYE, red carpet, do the airplane. Finish. Proper finished. See you in 2015 PE.
Nico van der Westhuizen (1:06/5:16/3:41 = 10:09, 7th in M35-39)
Rolled the dice. Went all in on a hard bike after a slow swim. Really enjoyed riding the scenic and hillier bike course. Big smiles. Got lost on the run. Then paid for my over-biking. No rolldown slots. Missed Kona by two minutes. Tactical idiot.
James Peet (1:05/5:35/4:00 = 10:47, 11th in M35-39)
Poor swim, poor bike legs, double puncture, lost my head… long walk :o(
Lots of friendly faces, lots of sunshine, fun finish, great holiday :o)
Paul Deen (1:04/5:34/3:32 = 10:17, 3rd in M40-44)
Will I break an hour for the swim? No. Windy baby! Well sub 10 isn’t happening. Keep grinding. Blimey not too many bikes in transition. Feeling good. Not feeling so good. Feeling really bad. Garmin bleeps 42Km. Where is the f*cking finish? Plan elaborate celebration. Forget elaborate celebration. Medical tent. Podium. Kona baby. Smiles.
Many thanks to Richard Melik for kind permission to use his photos.