John Grobler smashes the Maqhwe Mfula Challenge

The Maqhwe Mfula challenge is an off road race compromising of a 25km trail
run 55km Mtb and a 8km run or paddle.It can be done either as an individual
or team event.The route follows the Duzi river from Bishopstowe ( just
outside PMB) to Inanda dam canoe club. Needless to say you travel 88kms
through the Valley of a 1000hills, of which we climbed almost all of them.
You get to run all the iconic portages like Devils Cauldron and sample some
of the best views you'll ever see whilst racing. Winding along the river you
realise how privileged you are to be able to partake in events like this and
have a religious moment or three when the combination or the raw beauty and
oppressive heat show you who's really in charge!
The day started off nice and easy with the temps being around 22degC, the
gun went off at 6:30am and we dropped into the valley and began the trail
run along the day one route of the Duzi. My coach asked me nicely to take it
easy and use it as a training day, so with this in mind and my road shoes on
the day began. After around 10kms the guys who went off a little to hard
started to come to me and around 21kms I was firmly into the mid pack. The
Valley heat had started to take its grip and a lot of nutritional and pacing
errors started to become evident with the number of people walking. 25Kms
and T1, I could feel the last 2hrs and a bit had taken its toll on my legs
so started the bike leg real easy, ha or would have liked to but the
organisers sent us up a goats path that no man alive could ride, so bike on
shoulder calves screaming up we went. Winding up and down the Valley with
little or no wind and an oppressive heat that seemed to cling to you. Just
when you think you've climbed the last real hill another beast sits and
laughs at you, needless to say I arrived at T2 half the person I used to be.
I used every nutritional trick in the book, this combined with the amazing
base my coach helped me build I muscled my way through the last run/mountain
Being on the podium next to the likes of John Ntuli is truly humbling and is
a complete bonus for being able to have days like this.
Thanks to coach Claire and the MTD Crew, you guys deliver results! =
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