The flights were officially paid for, wow, it was getting real!
The lists were getting made as to what I need to stock up on, pictures of Cozumel were getting posted onto Facebook, especially about the temperature of the water. Questions such as; ‘How are you feeling?’ ‘Are you ready?’ ‘How’s the training going?’ were starting to get thrown around and I had the same answer every time someone asked me. My dad was getting worried that I wasn’t focused enough, 2 months, a month, 3 weeks, 2 weeks before the race because I wasn’t talking about it, at all!! Everyone has their own way of dealing with nerves for a race, in my case, I don’t talk about it. This is strange for me, because I’m not often quiet, hence why he was worried. I think my dad was more nervous than me anyway. Don’t worry dad I was focused.
The day had finally arrived for LB, Kim and I to start on our journey to Cozumel. What was supposed to be a 27 hour journey ended up being a 36 hour journey. It must have been quite a sight, watching 3 ladies trying to move at a rapid pace through the JFK airport with bike bags and other large luggage, only then to miss two connecting flights. It was the start of a great adventure and it makes for awesome stories. We met Andy in Cozumel, settled into the Villa and the week before the race began. A week of acclimatising to intense heat and humidity, finding foods we were familiar with, swimming in an ocean which was so clear you could see the buoy lines reaching the bottom of the ocean floor, running through the town without a scrap of littler, casually bumping into Henri Schoeman's dad and having a chat while Henri was swimming, cycling next to the ocean and absorbing Cozumel’s amazing atmosphere with the best athletes in the world.
It was the first time that the night before a race I could hardly sleep, I had terrible dreams that I had missed the race and that I didn’t finish, so that got the nerves flying sky high. We each had our own pre-race routine. I had my oats, stuck my numbers on my arms, put my trisuit on and said a prayer. Ok fine I said a lot of prayers We arrived at the race venue ready!! There wasn’t much to think about, well because there wasn’t time. I put what I needed by my bike, walked through the ins and outs of transition and visualised everything. I was ready as I could be, I was going to give it my all, soak up the experience and just enjoy every minute.
Nobody ever knows what’s going to happen in a race. You’ve put the hours of training in, you’ve woken up at whatever horrid hour in the morning to train before work, you’ve pushed hard on your intervals and you’re feeling strong for your race and you just hope and pray that it goes according to plan, but it might not go according to plan, the heat might affect you more than what you expected, your arms are just not co-operating with you for the swim or you could have just made a silly mistake and forget to put your sunglasses on for the bike leg or forget to take a GU at 20km on the bike. A wise man once told me, ‘always expect the unexpected’ #mydad #bestdadintheworld. I mean I don’t really know how you can expect the unexpected, but I suppose that means you have to be prepared for any possible outcome. I was prepared, I knew we were going to be in extreme heat on the run, so I had to drink a lot on the bike to help for the run, I had to stick to my nutrition plan and take my Gels and Enervit tabs when I planned to, I had to continuously pour water on me and stick ice in my trisuit to keep my core temperature down and don’t forget to drink! Luc had prepared all of us for this. Apart from the weather there’s not much else that you can’t control in a race, except, a dam puncture. I’ve never had a puncture before in a race, so this was a first! I realised something was wrong with my back wheel straight out of transition, I went about 500m until I realised what happened. Not much went through my mind, except to change that thing as fast as possible. I hopped off my bike chucked everything out my tool box and started changing the tube, I lifted my head and just saw my age group cycling passed me as if I was standing still! Oh wait, I was! I hopped back onto my bike and carried on. I knew my race was over, trying to catch up the time I lost while changing the tube in an Olympic distance is near to impossible. I could have pushed that bike so hard to catch up but then I wouldn’t have had the legs for the run. So I decided to race as if the puncture had never happened. Apart from that everything else went according to plan, except the swim, that was just slow, but that I know I can work on.
About two days after I started thinking clearly about what happened. Yes I did race my hardest, I raced against the best in the world and came 28th, it was my first World Champs and I never gave up. Looking back on it, I actually loved every single second of the race, I crossed the line exhausted only now knowing I gave it my all, yes I got a puncture and guaranteed it won’t be my last and now I know I need to practice changing punctures, because you always need expect the unexpected in a race and be prepared for any possible outcome. The reason for why I got a puncture, I don’t know, but we live and learn and I learned that no matter what God has a plan for me, he is in control and there’s a reason behind everything he does, we might never understand what that reason is, but I know it is out of love.
I had the most amazing time watching my teammates race their hardest, watching Kimie, after 5 years of hard hard training to finally become a world champ, watching LB dominate her race with an amazing swim, bike AND run and then watching Andy experience her first World Champs race with the biggest smile on her face after crossing that finish line. We left it all on the track. Our friendships became stronger, we laughed so hard our stomach muscles were so sore, we shared tears and most importantly we made memories together. Thank you ladies for an amazing adventure!
Lucie thank you so much for getting me ready for such an amazing race, you are truly such an amazing coach and I can’t wait for the decision of which distance I’m going to go for in the next couple of weeks and to my family and friends I could not have done this without your love and support!! Thank you!!
Where Trifactri athletes get to tell their side of the Swim, Bike and Run