I really enjoyed the inaugural Stilbaai Triathlon 2012 and was looking forward to the second edition. It did not disappoint and with the number of entrants doubled from last year it is clear that this is set to become a favourite on the calendar.
We spent an amazing weekend in Jongensfontein, scooting through to Stilbaai on Saturday morning to enjoy some off-road triathlon. The weather had been sunny and gorgeous on the Thursday and Friday, but Saturday morning was cool and grey with a few drops of rain threatening whilst we set up in transition.
The organiser, Jan, asked for comment after the prize-giving, and it was interesting to hear the comments. I offered that the swim should be longer, and the MTB shorter and / or easier. The MTB crew countered that sand and single-track are part of MTBing. However, it must be remembered that this is not MTBing, this is triathlon.
The swim is super quick. The water is warm and crystal clear, making following feet an absolute pleasure. I think the outgoing tide was stronger last year, but I posted a faster time this year. Wetsuits were allowed, although to be honest the water was warm and they were of more use whilst waiting in the cool conditions at the start!
I finished in a time of 12:55 minutes and was 6th out the water.
OK so I have to admit that at the moment my cycling fitness is nowhere. However, the tough course last year was made even tougher by the addition of lots of sand in the second half of the course.
The bike leg leaves transition and heads up the tar road toward the N2 before taking a left into the nature reserve. There is a long slow slight uphill which is really rocky and rough, which is something I find quite hard as I find it difficult to get a rhythm going. I am willing to accept that this is certainly part of mountain biking.
There was a short section of single-track near the end which had a bit of a drop-off. The marshal on duty was at the drop-off rather than before it which combined with the fact that there were no warning signs made it fairly dangerous. As it was unexpected I dismounted and ran through this section.
My time was almost 30 minutes slower than last year. I really did not have fun on this leg.
The run course is scenic and fun. Starting with a dash across the beach to the river where you are whisked across to the opposite bank by paddle craft (rubber ducks were used last year) then heading along the beach toward the Stilbaai Harbour. This adds a fun element to the race.
Unfortunately there was a mix-up and marshals sent us the wrong way meaning that we missed out on the challenging and fun dune section. Without this the run really is not a trail run, as the remainder of the course is on cement footpaths and tar as it heads up the river, across the bridge and back down the opposite bank to the finish line.
Despite one or two hitches, a superbly put together race that makes for an amazing weekend away.