Energade/5Fm Triathlon, Midmar Dam (PMB), KZN
Loafing the whole week in the name of tapering. Ended the last two weeks with eight hours of training per week. Felt well prepared. This whole week only cycled to the beach and back and did a very leisurely 3k run.
Felt much more relaxed than the first time.
Glad that Bhugs (Andrew) agreed to go with me. Neville and Carlene, Bhugs' aunt on his mom’s side, lives in Pietermaritzburg (PMB) and agreed to have us for the weekend. Midmar is about 30km from PMB.
Before we got to PMB we had to first brave the notoriously bad roads of Transkei. Left East London at about 09h45 and after dodging potholes, cows, dogs, horses and school kids and after getting stuck behind heavy vehicle number two hundred and fifty four we at last arrived in PMB at about 17h00. And that is where the carbo-loading started, again.
It wasn't two seconds and Peter (Bhugs' cousin) had the fire going and we relaxed after the taxing drive. We did really well with the beers, which will explain my reluctance to get out of bed on Saturday morning. Chris, Peter's younger brother joined us later. We even had energy to go out for a drink afterwards.
We have to register at the race venue between 2 and 4.
I need batteries for my camera so we go shopping at the "Hanger". After some coffee we return home. But not before I manage to buy some plastic spiders. Bhugs has this primal fear of spiders and can't even be in the same room as one. Aha. And just as it happens, to get to the flat where we stay you have to get through a little garden gate, and to release the catch for the gate you have to stick your finger into a pipe to lift up the catch. What better place for a spider to wait for Bhugs.
At about two, Peter joins us to go and register. It is about a 30min drive to the venue. We are quite early but the place is buzzing with activity. Most of the advertising and markers are already up. I can see that this race is about twice the size of the PE race. Bhugs is amazed by the lack of un-professional looking athletes. I just laugh quietly and remember my first race.
Registration goes as efficiently as before. This time there is no bike tag. There are also no more T-shirts in the smaller sizes, only last year’s surplus stock.
We again try to asses the swim distance, which this time is a route between anchored sailboats, which makes it very narrow. The transition area is on the bank about 70m from the water edge and the cycle starts with an almighty uphill. We travel the cycle route in the car, which incidentally helped nothing, as the route would be changed on race day for safety reasons.
The boys decide to go for a drive up the Midlands Meander and see what this part of the country has to offer. Peter takes us to this little farm brewery in Rawdons called Nottingham Road Brewing Company (www.rawdons.co.za). After buying the t-shirt we relax in the local pub to taste the merchandise. We order a "paddle" each which gives you the opportunity to taste each of the four beers they brew, Pickled Pig Porter, Whistling Weasel Pale Ale, Tiddly Toad Lager and the Pye Eyed Possum Pilsner. Two words- shplendid. We stop at the next Pub which is called the "Bier Fassle" have another beer and decide to go there for lunch after the race to try their "Eisbein".
We return to PMB later and Peter has to explain why he did not pitch for an afternoon engagement with Mel, his wife to be. I get a chance to place to "Spider" for Bhugs and the result is absolutely hilarious. He unwittingly touches the spider and only once he sees that it is a spider does he let out some squeaks and some girly grumble. I laugh so much that I have to take energade to stay hydrated. Afterwards he lets me know that the games have begun and that my time will come.
Sunday (Race Day)
Race starts at 09h00, we want to be there at 7.
I had a good nights rest. I stay with the toast and jam for breakfast but go slowly on the liquid intake. We pack the car and are off.
We arrive about 2 hours before the start. Should have taken a sports bag for all my goodies. Make a note for next time. The transition area is on a hill. Energade have the prettiest girls doing the body marking. We choose a spot at the top close to the exit for the bike leg. Not too long and all the athletes move to the waters edge. I see a police dog on a rubber duck that I presume is trained to find bodies.
This time around the race does not start exactly on time, but close enough. The ladies start first and the men get going when the first ladies already exit the water. This time around I get kicked all the time as the swim course is very narrow between the boats and the field just cant seem to spread out. A very frustrating swim later Bhugs exits about 50 meters ahead of me. When I arrive at my bike Bhugs is already on his way out.
Wipe face. Put on shirt and shorts. Brain bucket on. Wipe feet, which are red and muddy from the exit out the dam (lake). Put on socks and "tekkies". Sunglasses.
I catch Bhugs about 5min into the cycle and smoke him. Later I would have to hear about his brake touching the rim or some story. I have a good cycle and pick up the back wheel of two old guys traveling just fast enough to make me work for my time. On the last uphill I past them. At the transition I can feel that I have worked hard.
Park bike, remove helmet, have a sip of water and of I go.
Bhugs is nowhere in site. I struggle on the run. I have to go very slow and get passed by many people. I expect Bhugs to pass me at any moment. He is a good runner with a few marathons under his belt. I manage to keep of his charge and finish about 2 minutes ahead of him. I am wasted.
The heat is amazing and we decide not to stay in the sun any longer. We pack up say our goodbyes and return to PMB. There is an "Eisbein" at the "Bier Fassel" with my name on. That evening Bhugs spends time with his family while I visit an old friend.
-Use a bag to carry your goodies too and from Transition
-Check that your brakes don't catch.
-Take more photos
-Get swim fit too stay ahead of the masses
-Invest in a road bike.
-Take a friend with
-Visit the surrounding attractions