This was the 11th Suncity Ultra event. 147 individual athletes participated in the Ultra event, as well as 7 teams.
The morning of 6th May began ominously cold and dark. Athletes emerged quietly from their rooms, sneaking towards the transition and catering areas. Fortunately, the excellent MC managed to elevate the atmosphere and lift our spirits with his cheerful talks and the promise that everything would look better with sunrise over the mountain.
At that stage I was still convinced that my ice cold hands and feet would not be able to perform any swimming actions, but mercifully the water felt warm and comforting in comparison to the cold morning.
Sun City Ultra definitely takes the cake for the longest distance between the swim and the transition area - enough time at least to drive blood to all the right places as you run uphill around the one green towards the Transition Tent.
After yet another long run to the mount line, we finally took off on an awesome bike route. Although roads were not totally closed off for the event, I was never aware of any impatience or obstruction from vehicle drivers. The tar surface - having recently been resealed - was really smooth.
Transition was excellent - with excited and super accommodating helpers. Just the perfect preparation for the run!
When Claire said that the route for the 21 km run was awesome, and that I would enjoy this part, I thought that it would be different from the 70.3 and IM's which I'd done in the past. Nothing prepared me for what was waiting for me, however:
With "number 2 in my category" blowing in my neck, the first round was not good, with so many undulating little hills!! The second round was better though - and it definitely is the most beautiful 21 km route I've ever done - an endless array of paved roads swerving between luscious greens on one of the country's best known golf courses. The two trail parts of the route also ensured that athletes were certainly never bored.
Unlike the 70.3 and IM with their many spectators, on this route, the monkeys and golfers seemed not to take any notice of me. Maybe they cheered James Cunnama and Matt Trautman on, but I was generously left alone to battle my own physical and mental battles!