So I started with a few Olympic distance events not that I was good at all, battled probably the first 2 years to brake 3 hours on an Olympic distance. I eventually got the courage together to enter my first 70.3 East London. I could not do this by myself and who better to do my first one with, my wife. She was not keen at first but also agreed to enter (well I just entered her and let her know afterwards). So training was going on but not much to write home about. In December of 2015 I rode between Christmas and New year in the Cradle to get a few long rides in and I saw a group of people in pink and blue coming past me. Boy they flew and I pedaled so hard just to catch up with them and started to chat to a guy named Richard Gaugeler. We chatted from Lion and Rhino park to the first stretch on the caves rode where he had to do Intervals. But in that time he mentioned how awesome this group of people is and how they encourage one another and push each other to their limits.
When I got home I realised if I had to do an Ironman I had to have people around me training for the same goal. Training by oneself is not great and one becomes despondent. I checked the web out now and then to see what Trifactri is all about. Decided I have to join when I saw the results this group of people is getting. Made the call the Lucie Zelenkova and we met. Boy was I surprised.
We discussed a few things about previous races and where I would like to go. I thought really I was in shape weighing in at 81kg. Lucie's first words “Your bum is too big” . I don’t even know this woman from a bar of soap and she tells me my bum is too big. Too much Fanta grape I suppose. Well I did drink a lot. The wise words that I will always remember from her is “I have to make you slower, to make you faster” Never fully understood the concept before but in hind sight it makes sense. So I am running with the girls at track thinking I can out sprint them on the first session, LOL could not even stay with them for the first set. Gradually we started increasing training and I got better. Step by step, day by day.
It felt good getting Desi in transition just to calm the nerves, she told me all will be fine once you hit the water, problem is getting through the part and try to calm down before hitting the water. Exiting transition and who is there, my wife and Lucie, shouting my name or my nickname that Grant gave me. Everyone at Ironman knows my name, Weanie. Small group huddled up and we got ready, everyone telling me to smile but inside the butterflies are all over. We are ready heading down. Felt really emotional walking to the start as I realised what I was about to do, put my body through pain for the next 11h30 so I hoped. Robyn and myself agreed we would start together as this worked so well at 70.3 and it really helps having a familiar face next to you. We really calmed each other down telling each other we can do this. One discipline at a time. Final good byes to my wife, Luc with last words of encouragement and before we knew we were standing in front ready to go.
Once I was in the water all the nerves just disappeared, the first buoy came quick. Then I knew the 1.6km to the next turn was up. Got into a rhythm and just grinded it out. The back portion was very choppy and at around 2.4km I felt sea sick as it was up and down. Out the water and I knew I could somewhat recover on the bike. The scenery is really awesome and on a 180 bike one has to take the time and see what is around you. At 135km Robyn caught up to me and we stopped to refill bottles. We were off heading back, luckily the wind shifted a bit and the tail wind was welcomed. On the run we go. Got Nadi just out of transition and I never saw him again. Felt like I was standing still. Felt really good for the first portion of the race and all of a sudden at 30km the Great Wall of China was in front of me not in width by in height. 30 -35km was really a struggle and the pace dropped big time.
A few shout outs, My wife Mariana for sticking it out with me for the last 10 months of hard training, Lucie I could not have done this without you. I really appreciate all the work that you have put in, through the ups and downs, Robyn my starting buddy thanks for keeping my nerves in tact, Jono and Rory for the long runs on Sunday mornings, Neil R for the pool sessions at Little falls, My hill buddies on Wednesday’s. Rich J for pimping my bike out on short notice really appreciate it. The list can go on and on. Trifactri team you guys are amazing real inspiration to me!! Going back next year, PE see you soon - Ziets (Weanie)