The Slanghoek Triathlon is another race I had heard mentioned many times. Iqela Events did not fail to produce the goods, and a superbly organised day saw a great turnout at a beautiful venue.
The venue is unbelievably beautiful: a wine farm tucked away in a valley surrounded by towering mountains. From the moment I arrived, I was impressed by the organisation. I hope some of the “other” organisers take note:
- signage leading to the venue
- marshals directing traffic from the road to the parking
- marshals directing people in the parking area
- plentiful parking right alongside transition
- registration boldly sign-posted
- registration organised and quick
- food and drinks stalls
- plenty shade from gazebos etc
- transition entrances and exits planned to keep non-competitors from getting in the way of athletes
All of this accomplished with multiple distance, on-and-off road events!
I had chosen to take part in the short MTB route…
The swim was one 600m lap of the dam. The water was fairly clear, and I am getting a bit better at sticking on feet. I had a nice quick swim, but could definitely feel Sea Dogs from the Friday afternoon in my shoulders. I messed up a bit by almost missing the last buoy, and had to correct my course. It would have been a little easier had all the buoys been the same — preferable like the huge one that was at the first turn. Mostly I should have checked the course out and listened at briefing: this was not the only time this would count against me!
OK I really need to spend a lot more time on the bike. The course was none technical, and there were no real climbs at all. There were quite a few sections of deep sand though, which is definitely my least favourite terrain. The 10h00 start meant that it was already pretty warm out on the course, which combined with the dust, was pretty testing. Probably still cooler than the road tri peeps out on the tarmac though!
Again: not listening at briefing cost me. It became unclear as to where the MTB course went near the beginning — we headed out of T1 and round the bottom of the dam. Here I realised I did not know which colour arrows I was supposed to be following. Luckily, others did (but I am pretty sure I saw some people taking the wrong turn, thereby cutting through a fair part of the course). I think there should have been a marshal at this point. We joined the tar road soon after, so for a short while we were mixed with the road tri peeps. When it came time to turn right onto the dirt again, there was only an arrow for the long MTB course. We were all a bit confused until we started seeing the short course arrows again. There was a marshal at this intersection, but he was not very helpful. I felt he should have been shouting out and waving the direction when he saw the MTB riders.
I had a super run and felt comfortable pushing all the way through. Even though the route was on tar for the first short section, and then on firm farm roads thereafter, I chose to run in my Salomon S-LABs, and they worked really well. I really need to find a flatter, faster road shoe to run in.
I finished 9th overall, and came second in my category (male veteran), which meant I was on the podium for the first time ever and even got a cash prize! But most importantly, I didn’t get “chicked”.
|Position||Rider Details||Splits||Final Results|
|1||1||OMS||Pieter-Henk Boer||00.09.56||00.43.09||00.24.27||01.17.32||1st male|
|6||1||VMS||Anton Du Toit||00.12.44||00.41.03||00.32.12||01.25.59||1st Vet Male|
|9||2||VMS||David Fox||00.11.33||00.48.25||00.30.33||01.30.31||2nd Vet Male|
|13||1||OWS||Madelie v.d. Westhuizen||00.10.35||00.48.56||00.32.29||01.32.00||1st lady|
Prize-giving was fun and well attended (once again: it was under shade — it would not have been so much fun sitting in the blazing sun). All that was left was to collect a bottle of the estate’s wine (part of the goody-bag), and head back home to plan for the next Iqela Event!