My final trip of the year, one last race before I can call 2014 a great one, successful and complete… it was time for 70.3 Taiwan.
I was so fortunate to have my old man, Scuba, join me for this one. We rarely have these chances in life, we rarely have enough time and we rarely get fortunate enough to travel, but every single day life gives us opportunities, it gives us a chance to do things for the ‘first time’ and this opportunity Scub wasn’t about to slip through his fingers.
It was a chance to travel, see a new country and explore as tourists do, somewhere we had both never seen before.
We did exactly that. We trained (hard) every day, something we had grown accustomed to as kids on summer holidays at the sea. It was our very own summer holiday boot camp in Taiwan. Once these formalities were complete, we would put on our tourist caps and experience all this unique country had to offer.
We ate their food, snorkeled the seas, went tubing, travelled by bike and scooter. We filled every hour of the day and before we knew it, it was time to get serious for a couple of hours, 70.3 Taiwan and raceday had dawned.
I am in a build/base phase of training and so pretty unsure of my form. It was a race and I felt quietly confident and would be putting it all out there come raceday.
I was excited to toe the line amongst some of the best, more importantly, I was honoured to be alongside pre-race favourite and Ironman legend, Cameron Brown.
We exited the swim in a 5 man bunch. With one man up the road, the pace was pretty hot to start off. We soon settled into a good tempo and took turns setting the pace.
About 25km into the bike is where I had my ‘lucky escape’
Racing offers many challenges, physically and mentally, but what about external factors such as cars, scooters, pedestrians and DOGS?
In a paceline going at around 45km/h, a dog decided to play chicken with me. He darted over the road between myself and Cameron and I managed a close escape, shaving the hairs off his hind legs with my front wheel. I sat up for a moment and tried to come to terms with what had just happened. I shook my head and thanked the Lord for my favour…
Control what you can control, it’s the external factor which keeps you on your toes.
Nevertheless, I pushed on and entered transition with a group of 4, 5min down on the lone leader, a frenchman called Jonathan.
I set off quickly and soon Cameron and myself had dislodged Frederik and Guy. We ran side by side, neither of us giving an inch.
The temperature was rising and nutrition would play a pivotal role. We stayed hydrated at the water points and kept the pace steady. At the 12km mark, Cameron put in an effort and I slid off his shoulder, but I was determined to be up for the challenge, so I dug deeper and clawed my way back. Come on man, only 9km to go…
Scub was shouting in afrikaans from the side of the road at regular intervals and every time my spirits would lift and I was confident.
At the 18.5km water point, the NZ Ironman legend put in another effort, I had stopped for a drink and he saw the gap… it grew to 20m before I knew it and every muscle in my body was screaming. He broke me mentally, I was unable to close the gap, finishing 2nd, less than a minute behind a true champ!
Happy to be home now, time for a strong build and a good SA summer.
I call 2014, great, successful, complete!