Well it was only a week after Ironman 70.3 South Africa and it was time for Xterra Buffelspoort. I knew that it would be a difficult race, first of all I'm no off-road expert and obviously because it was only a week after a 70.3. Luckily, or so I thought, the distance was only 1.5 km/27 km/12 km but to my surprise it was very hard and a very warm day.
This was my first Xterra race and I must say I was surprised at the relaxed atmosphere compared to Ironman racing. I've done some Mountain bike races and some Trail runs before but never an Xterra.
Swim: 35 min
Finished 8th in my age group and 48th overall.
The swim was a non wet-suit swim and do I need to say more. Luckily I didn't get a panic attack again or ran out of air but decided to just get through the swim even if it was slow.
Onto the mountain bike and I must say I enjoyed it. Not too hard with some amazing singe track and most importantly I didn't fall. Overtook a lot of riders on the bike which gave me some extra motivation. One thing when you don't have the technical skills and have been involved in a big accident is that I overtook a lot of people going uphill but then all of them overtook me again going downhill, and there were some serious downhills. One thing I realized again is that I will never be a downhill racer, don't have the courage for that.
Then things became ugly on the run. Not nice running on tired legs after the previous week's race and also if the run route is going up a mountain twice.
First I had to negotiate running down next to the Dam wall over the low water bridge and then up again at the other side of the dam wall. OK, not running, actually walking when the gradient is 22% for 150 meters with the gradient as some point 45%
From there on it went OK until we hit the mountain. Only 2.3 km at 8.5%, with the last 1 km at 12.5% gradient but on tired legs that is brutal. Down the other side and before I could recover it was another uphill. This time it was just short of 1 km but at 13%.
Luckily that was the end of uphills but then the dreaded downhills on tired legs. At the end I finished and was feeling great finishing my first Xterra and more importantly not injuring myself.
Now it's three weeks of hard training before another Half Ironman, the Prestige Ultra