The day had finally arrived, 16 December 2017. Eeek. I had booked this triathlon months in advance, yet the time had flown by so quickly. Before we knew it, Dan and I found ourselves packing the car and preparing for our trip to Lomond Wine Estate just outside of Gaan’s Bay.
We were so nervously excited about this much anticipated event. However we faced one major challenge before the road trip got under way! Packing our bicycles into the back of the bakkie. Not having bicycle racks and needing to get everything packed safely into the back of the bakkie meant our packing skills had to come out in full force! In no time at all, we were astounded at how great packing skill really were.
With everything packed we were worried that we would not be able to close the tail gate. To our amazement the tail gate closed without force and we were ready to set off to Lomond Wine Estate. Upon arrival Dan & I were blown away by the scenery that was in front of us. It was alarmingly all becoming very real. We were about to do our first triathlon together!! On the way to our destination we were actually saying to one another what a surreal feeling it was to have entered a triathlon, something both of us thought we would never be doing.
While I was waiting in the queue to register, Dan said he was off to load some bales of hay into the bakkie and have some sipping whiskey because he felt like a real farmer in amongst all the supposed hot shots that were surrounding us! I simply laughed at this because I too felt like a bit of a country bumpkin seeing all the massively competitive folk around us.
Pictured above is the beautiful dam that we swam in. A much longer than expected swim it was, due to the buoys being dragged and dropped a little incorrectly. I personally loved the swim. I am normally nervous of dams, for whatever reason I am not actually sure! Yet, being surrounded by so many swimmers waiting in the water for the gun to go off and the warm 23°C that my body was so enjoying in comparison to the cold sea water we used to at home I was quite excited and looking forward to the swim! Getting out the water before Dan had finished I dashed over to the transition point where our bicycles were with all our cycling & running gear! Not that Dan & I had much gear to place beside our bicycles as most of you can imagine. Other people had trunks and togs bags full of clothing of various brands you would swear they were doing some sort of fashion shoot along a cat walk! I knew that this would be the only stage in the entire triathlon where I would be ahead of Dan. I had to hurry! Few seconds in to putting on my socks on my damp feet Dan came running towards me! Flip I was so excited and loving every minute of this new adventure and experience. While I thought of being loving and caring and waiting for Dan to put his socks and shoes on so we could leave the transition point together I knew that this would result in my fading away in his wake as he is so much quicker on a bicycle than me. No I thought! I am going to get a head start while I can, so I hopped onto my bicycle and shouted a fond farewell and told him to enjoy every minute & we would see each other at the finish line.
Cycling is a very new sport for me. Something I have been nervous of doing most of my life and I had only recently started cycling and hadn’t even completed a proper mountain bike trail prior to this triathlon. I was extremely nervous. I knew I had to have my head screwed in order to concentrate and not to fall off. This was something I was dreading and envisaging the entire time! Few hundred metres into the cycling route people are whizzing passed but I am kept my pace so as not to tire myself out or fall, when I hear Dan’s voice “Helllloooo!” as he simply glided past me on his bicycle. Despite him saying earlier in the morning that he felt like a donkey in a horse race I knew that, that would be a last I would see of Dan until the end. And I was right.
The cycle was supposed to be 15km. Note the word supposed to. Well I was doing well in my mind despite being a bit of a slow rider I was aiming to complete it without falling. I was following riders in front of me and being aware of the signage and the direction the arrows were pointing in. Well it sure got hot and the trail got tougher. After completing some harsh switch backs, I found myself alongside a gentleman who said to me in Afrikaans “ek kan nie glo dat ons 17km is nie”. Translated means I cannot believe that we are at 17km! My heart dropped for a brief moment as I couldn’t believe it either. Not only had we gone past the 15km mark, I suddenly realised that I had come this far on my mountain bike without falling! However having said this, after this statement was made depression hit me rapidly. I wondered how long we still had to go and was suddenly wanting all of this to be over. Yet when I found myself coming back into the transition point after completing roughly 28km I realised I had never cycled that far before. Ever! Also I managed to cycle the entire route without as much as a graze! So I was overjoyed with happiness and proud of my accomplishment on my bicycle. Dan’s bicycle was already on the rack so I knew he was on the last leg of the triathlon and currently busy with his run or secretly he had finished and was having a beer undercover! Thankfully the latter was not true and Dan past me on the home stretch of his run as I was starting out in the first couple of metres in mine! We slapped hands, smiled and cheered each other on. I was nearing the end and best of all smiling and enjoying every minute of it. 30 minutes later I had finished. Whew!
Dan & I had completed our first triathlon. We didn’t set out to compete or constantly monitor our watches for the best time. We went in with the mind set to complete rather than compete and that is exactly what we did! What an amazing achievement. Both of us were thrilled and over the moon with having finished in something a few years ago we would never have said we would have been able to do! I truly did love every moment, the atmosphere, people watching, good exercise with an elevated heart rate throughout, the weekend away, but best of all was the super great company & memories made!
P.s Dan & I within minutes of completing this triathlon with stiff legs & tired minds agreed to enter another triathlon. So XTERRA February 2018 it is!