Race to Stanford

Duncan tell us abut his 'race to Stanford’

I don't like a lot of things. I don't like coffee rides, I don't like selfies while on a group ride, I don't like moms who chuck their 4 screaming children into my lane at the pool and then act surprised when I swim over them, and I don't like making excuses for racking up a whole bunch of PWs ( Personal Worsts) at a race, it's a sign of weakness! Now I've done a few races, (I'm old enough to to be Riaan's dad), some good and some bad....... and then I did Race 2 Stanford.

R2S is a half iron man distance race that starts with a swim in the New Harbor at Hermanus, you then hop on your bike and pedal, via the scenic route to Stanford. This is followed by a 21 km run around the quaint village of Stanford. This is what the blurb said. It had to because if they told the truth, only the clinically insane would have pitched up to race (actually it still may have been quite full). This race made 70.3 East London look like a downhill race with a tail wind.

The gun goes off at 07h30, old school mass start, it's a wet start, which was a good thing as the water was 15* , so I had a bit of time to get used to the water. Off we went, two laps in some real choppy water, but that's ok , I like it rough in the water, it softens all those skinny racing snakes up a bit. A quick T1 ( bit of a euphemism with me, but whatever) and onto the bike

It's a beautifully scenic ride over Hemel n Aarde, Shaws Pass followed by a few rolling hills into Stanford. Again all evil marketing spin........ I could not tell you one single thing about the scenery, I could have been cycling on Mars..... Why you ask, well several reasons.  Hemel n Aarde and Shaws Pass are steep. Very, very, very steep. The kind of steep that has you doing 10km/hr, while pushing out 400watts, while you curse every light weight Price - like climber who goes past you. Of course you catch them on the downhill while doing 75km/hr on the tri-bars, praying to a deity of your choice that the 35km/hr cross wind does not blow you into an oncoming truck as this will vaporize you to death. This is how the ride goes, suffer uphill , small blade big cog followed by a kamikaze descent, for 70km. Then with 20km to go, the wind shifts to a tail wind and you suddenly discover it's 35 degrees in the heat, but at least the bike is done, just a 21km run to do.

If only it were that simple. The run is a brutal, dusty, hot trail run. About 85% of reach 7km loop (yes looped, that way you can get excited about what you have to run through  twice more) is off road and not just pleasant rutted sloped, dusty road. No. There is deep sand, thick grass, rocks and stones and twists and turns which means you can't just shuffle along, oh no, otherwise your toe will catch a root and you will fall on your face and then lie there and just laugh and laugh while others run around you (because they are too tired to run over you). The water tables were awesome and became a point where you gathered to blankly stare at other sufferers. By now my back had gone into a spasm from the effort of holding onto my bike while trying not to get blown off and die. The good news was that I was out on the run for so long and "running" so slow that it cleared up after about 10km.

And then I finished..... About 60 min slower than my slowest 70.3East London. Matt Trautman won.... 4:40 was his time. Apparently he raced in China a few weeks prior and did a 3:30ish. This was supposed to make me feel better. It didn't. I now have PWs for my bike, run and half iron man. Will I do it again, probably. Not to, would be a sign of weakness, besides, apart from the hell beast of a course it was a really well put together race, well sponsored , well put together and very well organized. Besides it's fun to be able to do a half iron man race that's harder than the hardest 70.3 in the world ........ Right?!


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