I’ll be honest: the key reason I chose this race is because transition is situation next to a zoo, and giraffes look out over the course. How cool is that? How unlikely is it that you get the chance to race with giraffes looking over you in your lifetime? And I’m rather partial to giraffes too… Having traveled through Kruger Park in South Africa on safari, I was really taken with these majestic creatures with their beautiful eyes…
I arrived in Rapperswil with my boyfriend on the Thursday before the race. My friend’s husband then took me on a reccy ride of the course. It would be my first race on my Tri bike, and I wanted to see how it felt climbing and, more importantly, descending. The course is two 45km loops, so I wasn’t going overboard with distance, and it gave me the confidence boost I needed …
After organizing everything in transition, I headed to the swim start. The lake is extremely cold, but absolutely beautiful! I drafted well, and came out of the swim feeling really strong, and like I was in a good position. This was one of the races was doing without a watch, so i didn’t know my time, but it felt good. I got onto the bike in a positive frame of mind.
Heading out onto the bike course, I felt strong. It was very exciting to be riding my new bike in a race. The first lap went well. The highlight was climbing so-called Witches Hill, where some of the local women dress up like witches and hold broomsticks as they cheer you on.
The scenery was beautiful, and again in my life I felt so blessed to be able to explore Europe in a way that many people do not.
It also felt really good descending – some of the descent were shallow and sweeping, and even I was able to stay in the Tri bars.
The second lap, I had a shock as I climbed up a hill and saw my friend Janine ahead. This was shocking to me because a) I genuinely thought I’d had the swim of my life so I’d deluded myself I was ahead of her, and b) she is s stronger cyclist than me, so the passing should have been the other way around! I passed her on the way up, but she passed me again on the way back down.
I felt physically stronger than ever before on the bike leg of a triathlon. I was passing people – I wasn’t just being passed. And for the first time in triathlon on the bike leg, I felt mentally strong too. That came with passing people, sure, but manifested even more strongly when people passed me. I didn’t think, oh look how crap I am. I thought, no problem. This is my lace and it’s still a strong pace.
I still felt like I’d had a good ride when I made it to transition. Time to find my fast running legs …
I hit the run course with quite some speed and was again surprised by Janine – I caught up with her within a few hundred meters of transition.
“Had to go to the toilet,” she explained.
“You gotta learn to pee on the bike Janine!” I shouted as I ran by, other runners making way for this vulgar girl.
Without a watch, I had no idea of my pace or my time in total. But I felt fast. I reached the stairway to heaven – a set of around 60 steps if I recall correctly – for the first time. I bounded up them.
By the time I came back the second round I wasn’t bounding up them – but I was still holding strong. I did have a few week moments on that run leg, but the thought of people chasing me (Janine and my boyfriend starting in a later wave) spurred me on.
It was with joy that I crossed the line, and looked up to see my time: 5:13:12
The splits when I found out:
Swim: 39:09 … So not the super speedy swim i thought I’d done. Still, that’s the beauty of me racing without a watch. I’m not beating myself up about doing a crap swim time, because I think I’ve done a good job. Ha ha!
Bike: 3:02:28 Extremely close to my dream speed of 30kph
Run: 1:26:19 Wow – I didn’t know I had that in me!
All in all fairly reflective of the training I’ve done:
– swimming most seldom
– putting more effort into the bike
– but still focusing on my strength, the run
A new PB in the 70.3 events – so pretty happy with that!