Apologies for the Gut

I came in 4th out of the 30-39 age group in Sunday's BSG Energade Sprint Triathlon. The guy sitting behind me in the above picture is Tiaan Rossouw (1st), and the other chap standing is Wilhelm Steyn (3rd).

Swim – it felt like a great controlled swim. First time I haven’t been totally out of breath in a hammer session which can only be attributed to swimming through winter (even when the pool heating packed in for a month).

Bike – I went hard into T1 to get into a good bike position. Worked for the first few minutes with another dude until Tiaan came past like an angry Hailey's comet. I held onto his wheel for dear life burning matches until my heart settled back into its chest. We worked well in a small pack of 4 until eventually catching and joining up with two leaders which included Piers Pirow (guy on the left in the picture below).
Piers is a bit of a legend who, aside from being ripped like an old school lumberjack, is a talented veteran athlete. I was honoured to be anywhere close to him in a race. The work at the front of this grupetto cost me a lot of energy as the guys were way out of my (little) league. I should have been more cowardly and done no work but it's hard to fight the urge to be a team player and do the noble thing. I cursed my privileged Catholic school boy upbringing several times on the course. After blowing up twice on the bike, I managed to regroup and finish with the bunch.

Run – our group of 5 or 6 were the first bunch in. 1/2/3 went off like bats out of hell and finished in that order. I couldn’t hold the pace and settled, just barely, with Pirow and another dude. Pirow is the Tom Selleck of triathlon so I thought so best to hang in with him and show some respect. At the 2.5k mark I made a move and tried to break Piers and the other runner over the next 1,000 metres.

It was a foaming-at-the-mouth-battle with Pirow, who despite my surges, would not break. The guy is 6foot3 and I could hear his ravaged breathing behind me the entire way. I cut all corners, surging under some branched areas, thinking that he might struggle with his height. Nothing worked. My focus in the last few hundred metres was not to chunder.

It ended up in a sprint finish at which I am lousy. I resorted to my Linford Christie sprint which, with my gut sag and unruly facial hair, must have been quite an appalling site. After closing all inside track doors, Piers was forced to make a move on the outside of the last turn which he couldn’t complete. I was pretty stoked to pull off the coup.

Finally first lady home,

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