And so it came to pass that I finally participated in the Totalsports Challenge 2011. Being weary of too much water, I entered the Terra Firma event. This encompassed a 50km road ride, a 13km road/trail run, a 25 km MTB event and then a 9km beach run.
I started at 07h45 on Saturday, 8 January with the other 91 Terra Firma individuals as well as with the Terra Firma road ride team members taking part in the team, pairs and trips categories.
For a first time road event on a road bike, I must say, it was ideal. Really great weather and an excellent route on Clarence drive from Gordon’s Bay to Kleinmond.
Arriving in Kleinmond it was time for the first transition and that was where I dumped my bike, helmet, cycling shoes and changed into running gear, cap and sun glasses. The first half or so was on tarred road and then we went off the Kleinmond – Hermanus road into the bush. I really loved this part and know that trail running is going to form a great part of my 2011 event schedule. The 13km run ended on the edge of the lagoon just next to the Arabella Sheraton where we exchanged running gear for mountain biking gear. It was a smooth transition, especially with such a dedicated and committed support team ( my wife Debbie and 2 kids)
The MTB section took us across the tarred road and up onto Highlands road. Having done that road a few times I knew it wasn’t gonna be my friend, especially not at about 11h00 in that scorching heat. Little did I know that the turnoff left out of the road into the bush was going te be even worse. Long uphills on soft sand made that a difficult stretch. All the while I was of course thinking that “what goes up must come down” and that a great long and fast downhill was awaiting me. Alas, that was not the case. The downhills were even more rocky and sandy than the uphills and at that stage of the day, it required concentration to stay on the bike. Taking chances were therefore not an option. It was a LONG 25km.
The mtb ride to beach run transition happened at the same place as the event finish line. Though nice to catch the vibe right there on the beachfront, it wasn’t great thinking that the 9m beach run was still ahead. The air next to the sea, however, was remarkably cooler and there was enough of a hard sand section to make the run bearable. In fact I did considerably better on the beach run than planned.
Crossing the lagoon on the little foot bridge coming into the finish area was a very emotional experience for me as I realized I actually made it. Hearing Paul Valstar doing his “welcome home” announcements really felt great. I did not have anything to say to my wife and kids at the finish line for at least 5 minutes and that after 2 Powerades!
All in all a great experience a and great way to start the year. At least on 9 January I could say that I’ve already given 2011 a serious go!
Thanks to Hendrik Steytler for the great pics! A job WELL done.
I took part in this event in aid of BeingSam, an initiative to get SA Men (SAM’s) to start taking charge of their health and lifestyles!
Check it out at www.BeingSam.co.za
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