Finishing a successful Ironman PE It’s time to pack the bags and head off to Spain, Pontevedra for the ITU World Championships 2019.
The day before we left I packed my bike and realized that the front wheel hub was cracked, OH NO !!!! Not something you want to see the day before, but what can we do. Had no other choice to pack my training wheel. . .
Still feeling very unreal as I have been only in the sport for 2yrs and still “finding” my feet - but here I am ready for worlds.
After 40hrs of traveling, SA-> Dubai-> Barcelona ->Vigo ->Pontevedra we (me and my wife a.k.a the manager ) arrive at our hotel on the Monday 29 April.
Super exhausted but with a huge amount of excitement.
I have decided to go a week before the race as it’s my first race abroad and was not sure how my body will react with all the traveling.
I have taken the Monday to settle in and familiarize myself with the area.
From the Tuesday I have met up with Jean Marais ( another SA athlete) and started the training sessions. Did a few rides on the race course, a couple of swims and some runs along the beautiful Sanxenxo.
As race day is approaching fast, it’s time to pack the bags and rack the bike.
Off we go to race briefing and they announced that the swim might be shortened due to the super cold water.
Entering the stadium to rack the bike, the nerves hit me right in the face and realize raceday is suddenly here. All set and racked, off to ( a very disappointing) Pasta Party for some carbo loading.
I have found with the traveling my eating routine takes a knock as I follow a high protein diet and find it hard to find my kinda food.
3:30am and the alarm goes off - raceday is here ! Very excited as it’s the first time I will put on my national tri-suit and race for my country.
Unfortunately the morning did not go according to plan. The official bus never arrived at the hotel to pick us up, as we are staying 18km from the race venue. After waiting in the cold for an hour we have decided to walk and find a taxi. Obviously this is not what I need right before my race and is not good for the nerves system. The manager stepped up and quickly found us a taxi.
Finally I arrive at transition just before they close, I do my final checks and head down to the water. They then made the final announcement that the swim will be shortened to 1.5km due to cold water.
It’s 8:20 am and siren goes off. Age group 18-39 line up for the swim ( it’s a mass start and not a rolling start ) The super cold water did take my breath away for a second but overwhelming excited feeling took it away.
3 - 2 - 1 Fire - we are off. . . Swimming upstream into the current before turning around was quite challenging but on the way back I felt like a fish in the water. (1.7km swim done = 33min 19sec ) Getting out of the water I know now my race begins.
The 113km bike course is quite technical and very challenging with all the climbing, but I’m ready to take it on, its 3 loops of 37km each.
Felt really good on the bike and was focused on my heart rate to keep it consistent and not push too hard on the hills, like coach said.
(Bike done - 3hr 17min )
Heading into T2 legs was feeling good and ready to start the 30km run.
Unfortunately the run didn’t go 100% according to the plan as I had to make quite a few pit stops.
My focus on the run is not to start to fast as that is generally my problem, but I can always hear my coaches voice ( Richard Lawrie) don’t start to fast - stick to the plan ! The run course is reasonably flat, 4 loops of 7.5km each, so I had to be disciplined not to run too fast.
Running into town the crowd was out of this world ( I thought IM 70.3 Worlds in PE was amazing - but this was on another level ) Having Gomez coming past me as he was leading the race at that time and winning at the end - I felt like I was dreaming with all these people cheering you on like mad.
Coming into the stadium for a finish with the last 200m I realized what a privilege it has been to race in another country and the crowed is cheering you on - applauding you to the finish line.
What a phenomenal race, just an unbelievable experience to represent SA in an international event.
(Run done - 2hr 19min )
Total time 6hrs 21min giving me a 12th place In age group 35 to 39
A big thanks to my coach Richard Lauwrie from MTD, for making sure the body fit and race ready, a huge thanks go out to my beautiful wife ( manager ) for all her support and making sure everything goes smoothly leading up to the race and a big thanks to my sponsors ( MIP, Commodore Defensive Strategies and Haemteam ) who made it possible for me to go.
Definitely a race to remember - one for the books.
Ps - if you are ever in Pontevedra you have to go to Sanxenxo and stay at Mardevela. That area is spectacular!
Benjamin Janse van Rensburg