My First Triathlon

author : Team BT
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Go, go, go! All nerves gone with breath when I hit the water.


5fm/Energade Triathlon, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Sunday 12 October 2003

600m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run.


Was tense the whole week leading up to the race. Felt well prepared though. Accommodation with Dave and Lee was sorted out well in advance.

 Picked up Willy from airport at 18h30 on Friday after driving from EL. Good to see him.

 “Braaied” on Friday night and the boys went  to the German club Octoberfest in Walmer. Had about 4 draughts, “carbo-loading” and was entertained by Ross Digs-Peak (pigs dick) what a character. He writes historical books. In bed at about 01h30.


Up quite early. Have beacon and eggs with toast. Willy and I off to register and pick up race packs and check our route at 10h00. Received Energade Triathlon series 2003 t-shirt, water bottle, bike tag, timing chip, energy bar and roll-on deodorant. Bit peeved, as they don't give us instructions about what to do with bike tag. Would have chucked it away if someone didn't tell me to put it on my bike. Check out transition area. Have a chat to some race officials about access and so forth. Try working out where the buoys in the sea will be. Get some misinformation from some bystander about the actual distance. We do the cycle route in the car and identify some markers. Quite a flat route. Try to work out running route.

 Back to Dave and Lee. Watched the Springboks demolish Uruguay 72-6 in their first world cup game at Dave's local "The Kilt and Claymore". Have a “joll”. Very nice waitress, makes me think of Fiona. Have a snack basket for lunch. Still, very tense. Have more beers. Home at about 16h30. Willy and I go for very leisurely 10km cycle in the UPE grounds. Chatting and catching up most of the way. Dave “braais” again for supper, “wors” and steak with potatoes. In bed at about 22h00

Sunday- Race Day 

Want to leave at about 07h00. Race starts at 09h00.

 Woke up very early. Still tense. Legs are stiff from the cycle, wondered if it was such a good idea. Have a jam “sarmie” and vita-thion. Pack car and leave at 07h20. Very close. Check in bikes and set out gear. Had to show brain bucket and swim cap for inspection. Saw really good athletes go in with backpack, set up and leave, thought to remember that for the future. To our utter horror we see that the buoys are freaken far out. Now we are scared of the swim. I am starting to calm down. We where not allowed to check in our bike before we were not body marked on the right forearm and leg.


Race briefing at 08h40. Move down to water edge. Woman start at exactly 09h00. Men at 09h07 and teams 7 minutes later.

 Go, go, go! All nerves gone with breath when I hit the water. Water was cool, not too cold but very choppy. Couldn't do a proper breaststroke, only trying to breath. Very difficult going. 100m into race I know that I will finish. Happy with my choice of conserving energy and not attempting freestyle. Finish the whole swim doing breaststroke. To the first buoy was the most difficult. Across takes long but is a bit easier. Back into beach more difficult than expected. Willy was behind me. Legs feel like two bent sticks, not sure if I will be able to walk up the beach. See Dave and Lee cheering. Happy the swim is over.

1st transition

Wipe face. Put on t-shirt and shorts, then brain-bucket. Wipe feet then put on socks and “tekkies”. Have some juice. Wait about Five minutes for Willy. We leave together on the cycle.

 Loose Willy quite early on in the cycle leg. Maintaining a good constant pace. Glad for all the spinning I did. I realize that there is wind, it felt like it is from the front. Actually it is from the side, little from the front. Thought that I should push a bit harder in the wind, as I would need less energy coming back with the wind. I don't note that the last part of the first cycle leg is very quite and easy. Started overtaking people. When I turn I am faced with a strong wind straight from the front. The road has turned and the wind is now straight front the front. I am still very strong and am still overtaking people- now more. Bum is sore now and I have to stand every now and then. 

2nd transition

 Wait about 15 minutes for Willy. See Sarah and Jacquelyn. Glad I remembered to hydrate through the cycle leg. Have to wee now. Remember that I needed to wee on the beach already. Thought I'll relieve myself in the sea, did not happen. Willy takes long to come in. He has no time to rest.

 We start the run together. Loose Willy about 200m into the run. First 2.5km feels good, most probably ran 3.5km, training distance, without stopping. Disappointed that I stopped twice after that. See Dave and Lee waiting about 200m before the finish. They are there when I finish. I realize that I am doing the next most convenient race. I like. Willy comes in about 5 minutes later. We cheer him on. He deserves a gold medal.

Lessons learned

-Don’t “carbo-load” too much too close to the race.

-Sleep more.

-Watch fluid intake just prior to race, very uncomfortable racing with a full                          bladder.



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date: September 4, 2004

Team BT