I knew one or two things about the club, but most importantly, I had once mailed Lucie and she gave me advice and nutrition tips just before my first triathlon.
I always thought that was just awesome…
The first thing I thought was that this is going to be hectic and there is no ways I will ever keep up on the swims, let alone the bike and the runs.…I was tempted to just leave it, but then how would I know if I didn’t try…what’s the worst that can happen?
Two names were available as a contact, Jess and Des.
I made contact and, of course, the first thing I explained was my inexperience.
They both made me feel so relaxed about the camp and assured me that they were catering for all levels and there was nothing to worry about.
Knowing what I know now, not making contact would have been such a mistake.
So I committed, wiped the weekend clean, cancelled a marathon run that I was to do on the Sunday and waited for the camp to start.
Eventually Friday came and we met at a pool in Randburg.
Now first of all, in my mind, my swim is terrible.
The fact that I think it is terrible, actually makes it so.
I only started swimming in September last year and my first attempt in the pool, proved that I could just about manage 2 lengths….completely useless.
Nothing more intimidating than knowing that your swim is dreadful and watching the others plunge into the water and swim lengths like they are pro’s.
This is where I met Jess and Lucie for the first time.
We spent a bit of time on preparation and it was time to show your swim.
Jess is just amazing and I am so going to spend some more time with her in the pool.
I also spent a fair amount of time with Lucie and probably learnt more from her in half an hour than what I did with a swim coach in 2 months.
She and Jess were just so patient and eager to help. It made me relax in the water and I finished my laps.
I came out feeling so much better about my swim and for the first time, I knew what I needed to work on in order to improve.
Lucie then sent me videos of my swim that evening and gave me words of encouragement.
This is where I think I got to realize that this is not just a tri club. This was a club filled with people who had a genuine interest in helping you to improve.
They were proactive in assisting and giving advice and it made me realize that I am not as bad as I thought.
Cameron van der Burgh has nothing to worry about, but I’m certainly not the worst.
Saturday morning, we met at the Culinary Kitchen for a bike ride.
I am met by all these guys on TT bikes, all looking lean and fast and one of them started talking about riding out to the dam….I thought these guys are mad.
They either don’t own a car or they don’t know how far the dam is!!
I’m pretty much ready to pack my bike and go home.
I know no one, and I’m thinking….How will I ever ride with these guys?
Eventually, I see Chantelle, who I do know from work, and she introduces me to Des.
I didn’t know it then, but I would end up making it my mission to keep up with Des for the rest of the weekend….and probably for the rest of time.
So I joined the novice riders, led by Jess and Des and off we went.
Cut the long story short, I loved every single second of it.
We had such a great ride and just watching Jess and Des and their skill on the bike was amazing.
It turned out that we were not as novice as we thought and we rode at a decent speed and rode well.
That’s the great thing about attending a camp like this…you get to know where you are and where you need to be.
Turned out that I was pretty strong on the bike and held my own.
So my swim is okay and my riding is good…so far, things were looking up.
My ride would end with my first experience of hanging onto Des and her mindboggling strength, all the way back to Culinary.
That was the great thing..Des led two of us, who were somewhat stronger and Jess stayed with the slower group.
At no time did anyone feel left behind or lost.
70 odd Km’s later, we hit the road for a brick run.
I just happened to be with Des and we just happened to hit the same pace together, which just got faster and faster and faster and faster.
I was panting away, yet at no point did Des even look as if she was tired.
This was my second experience of holding my own with Des…by this time I had come to realize that Des was no ordinary athlete and I was just more than a little chuffed to have stayed with her on the bike and the run.
It was at this point that I realized how fit and how dedicated these athletes are and right then and there, I decided that I wanted to be part of this club.
I still don’t know if anyone actually rode out to the dam or not, but I did think about it for the rest of the day
Following morning, we met at the Ruimsig track and hit the road for a short bike ride.
Jess lead the group for a great ride, out to the cradle and back.
We had just started to warm up on the track, when Lucie popped in to see how we were doing.
Now I am a fair runner and I have done my fair share of marathons, but no one has ever taken the time to point out flaws in my running style, which, if corrected, will make me more efficient…..and I have run with a lot of people.
Lucie pointed them out immediately, which was just awesome, as she watched me and she noted where I needed to improve.
By this time, I think Des had figured that I was a fair runner and we hit the track intervals together.
I should mention that this is the first time I have ever done track runs, so its completely new to me and I had no idea what to expect.
I just stuck with Des, as hard as what it was, I just stuck with her until I couldn’t anymore…and that is what this is all about…..being pushed to your limit and then just a little more.
I am so going to look for Des at the track next time and I will stay with her until I can do it as easily as she does….sorry Des
Jess finished the camp off with transition and nutrition tips and I went off home, feeling tired, but so motivated.
This was the best weekend I could ever have done in order to get to know the triathlon community, get to know my own abilities and weaknesses, and just know that this is a sport that I can do.
What did I learn????
My swim is okay, my bike is good and I can run with Des…I’m going to be just fine.
To those who decided not join us, for whatever reason, I can tell you that you absolutely missed out.
Look out for the next one, as it is so worth it and then so much more.
I also felt nervous about participating, but you’ll soon realize that the coaches are so helpful and eager to teach, that you will be too busy learning and training, you will forget about being nervous.
So that’s my story.
By the way, look out for me on the road, I’m officially Trifactri’ s newest member.
You’ll soon see me talking about riding out to the dam and back !!
Oh, and Des…….I’ll be waiting for you at the track.