Cameron Schaefer - 1st (25-29) and 1st Overall Male
Chris Bruchhausen - 2nd (18 - 24)
Claire Louw - 1st (50-54)
Jason Reid - 3rd (30 - 34)
Travis Mcgrath - 3rd (18 - 24)
Shane Kemp - 7th (18 - 24)
Mariella Dierks - 7th (25 - 29)
Jolene Meyer - 9th (30 - 34)
Massive Well Done to everyone!
Camerons SA Age Group Champs 2016 Review...
After completing my first real structured 2-months of training in Nov/Dec, I once again had to settle into a very compact sort of program starting out in Jan as I went back to varsity. And with WP champs being cancelled this Feb, SA Champs became my first goal race of the year.
I must say the training leading up to race suited me perfectly. I only had time for training once a day, so I had to make each session count and was forced to keep up the intensity. I was a bit worried with only swimming & cycling twice a week, because these are the two disciplines that have taken me the longest to find some form again. However, my running was really getting strong and I knew I could use this as a weapon when it came to race day.
I really had no idea where my fitness stood as race day got closer. The first time I felt confident that I could perform was at about 3wks to go after I completed a really intense training week, followed by a massive 4hr brick (4 x 40min TT - 20min run) on Saturday and my Argus PB (2hr47) on the Sunday.
I started to taper slowly after this, and I can honestly say that Claire got it 100% right. I had the best taper week of my life and my legs felt amazing.
I was super excited to test myself on race morning. My goals for this race were to go for the AG win. The problem was all the age groupers started together and it was difficult to know what place I was lying in my 5yr age category. So I had to go for the overall age group win instead. As with every race I enter, I always compete to win, but realistically I wasn't expecting it considering the training volume I've been doing this year.
The conditions were good for me. There was a solid 30km/hr headwind which made it a tough swim and a difficult bike/run course.
I wasn't expecting much from my swim. I had shoulder issues leading up to the race (fortunately they didn't effect my swim on race day) and the sea swim looked long and choppy. It was a 2 x 750m lap swim with a short beach run portage between each lap. I exited the water after lap 1 in 8th place and about 45sec behind the leader. This gave me confidence for the 2nd swim lap as my goal was to restrict the overall gap out the water to about 2mins. I ended up having a good 2nd lap, holding my place and I came into T1 only 1min20 behind the leader, lying in 8th place.
Now I could test myself. I got onto the bike and just smashed it from the first pedal stroke. It was a 3 x 13km out-and-back lap course and full of hills. This course suited me perfectly and I started immediately moving up places and found myself in 1st place just after half a lap. I consolidated myself after this and kept a solid pace the whole way through the rest of the bike. I really felt strong on the bike, but I was starting to fatigue towards the 40km mark. I had the 3rd quickest bike split and came into T2 with the 2 (faster) guys on my tail. This didn't bother me, as I was backing myself on the run.
I ran out of T2 with 1 other guy (as it turns out, he ended up being in my age category). I had been focusing hard on my brick runs during training and knew that I could run fast for the 1st 10min. So I took the lead out T2 and gave it everything. The run was 4 x 2.5km out-and-back laps (we were with the wind going out, and into the wind coming back). I felt good on the first lap, and ended up pulling a 30sec lead after 2.5km. I then kept pushing and could see I was extending my lead each lap.
Its sounds like I had the race in the bag, however it was one of the hardest triathlons runs I've ever done. With 8 turning points and a heavy wind, also with the reality that this is SA champs and nobody is giving up the win that easily, I had to fight mentally to keep pushing the pace. I only knew I had it in the bag during the last 500m, which is when I slowed down a little and enjoyed the moment. I ended up winning by 1min35. And I still cant believe that I have a SA age group title to my name.
I must thank Claire again. We had little time to work with because of my study schedule, but we made a program that was short and sweet, and it got the job done. And the taper week felt amazing :)
The next big one on my list is Durban 70.3 in June. I have only ever raced one 70.3 distance before (Kansas 70.3 way back in 2009). I remember I was 19yrs old, coming 2nd in my age cat until the last 2km on the run. My legs seized up worse than you could imagine. I ended up walking and lost 4 spots in those 2km to end 6th and I swore I would never do that distance again.
There’s some big training to come for me and I'm excited to see how I can perform.