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|Jane's 2nd @ Triple Challenge|
|Tuesday, 08 November 2011 10:23|
Jane's 2nd Place Finish @ Triple Challenge
A sprint finish saw Jane finish a few seconds behind the race favourite.
I was always going to the unknown. I didnâ€™t even know how I was going to fair against the course let alone against the clear favourite for the win, Jean Hackland.
It was an overcast and misty day in Pietermaritzburg at the start. The 20 km trail run was awesome. Reasonably difficult with some technical sections and some tough climbs and downhillâ€™s! Jean passed me for the first time after about 15 min. I was convinced that the race was over and I wasnâ€™t going to see her again. At least I could take home the fact that I was winning for the first 15 min! I was relatively strong on the hills and no sooner had she passed me and I was back on her heels. By the end of the run I had about a 5 min gap on her.
The 55km cycle was much harder than I was expecting. I had fallen into (and not for the first or second time) the â€˜Itâ€™s all downhillâ€™ trap! Itâ€™s not. There is a lot of tricky single-track in the second half. My legs are not used to cycling hard straight off a hard run â€“ Itâ€™s normally the other way around! Jean caught up to me just before the end of the cycle and I rode into transition just behind her. She was on the water first for the 18km paddle and for the second time I thought, that this was as close as the race was going to get. Jean has a much better paddling pedigree than me. But again, I caught her and passed her on the way to the first portage. There was a lot of cramping going on in that first stretch of the paddle. After the first portage there is a long stretch across the dam and I struggled in the wind. My inexperience was starting to show. I was also feeling sick, and starting to worry about things like sunburn. Basically I just lost focus on the job at hand. I must learn to push myself harder when I am in the lead. The second portage (about 1.7km) was the deal breaker.
I really struggled with the size and weight of the boat. Lots of peopled passed me, including Jean who was looking very comfortable running with her boat. By the end of the portage, they were all out of site. And for the third time thought the race was done. Back on the water, we were sheltered by the shore and I could focus more on paddling and less on the waves. I picked the less direct route and chose to hug shore for longer. I was making ground on Jean! I have never wished a race to be longer before! As we went around the last buoy I was just behind her. She noticed me for the first time here and it was a sprint to the finish. I knew she had her splashy off already. I thought I would try and save time by taking mine off on the move and this is where it all fell apart! Enter Rookie â€“paddler Jane. I tipped the boat in the knee deep water and it filled of water. It was so heavy and Jean beat me by seconds in the final stretch as we both dragged our boats across the finish line full of water. So after 7h08 of racing, it was 5 seconds that separated us!
Well done Jean for taking the win!
Triple Challenge was a great race. The routes were amazing and the vibe incredible! Everyone had lots of fun and it really was a challenge. Weâ€™ll definitely be back for more next year...
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