Triathlon racing comes to the Cradle of Humankind for the first time and some of the countries’ best triathletes are aiming to have their name inscribed on the winner’s trophy of the aptly named TRIROCK Cradle of Humankind. Following months of event preparation, and the tarring of a link road, the race is all set to go on the 15th February. Just under a thousand triathletes will be gathered when the gun goes and the top spot of the podium will provide an interesting battle for both spectators and competitors.
Winner of TRIROCK Durban, Donovan van Gelder will be there to test his abilities at higher altitude, coming from the coast where he does all of his training. Van Gelder had this to say about this race preparations, “Since New Year’s I have focused on TRIROCK Cradle and, although quite tired now from a quicker than normal build up and some ‘catch up training’ I think I will be in good shape on the 15th”
In a unique double, the winner of the woman’s race from TRIROCK Durban, Kirsten Schut has also confirmed her entry and has decided to use the event in her familiar training areas as preparation for her triathlon goals and aspirations. “Quote” said Schut.
Van Gelder’s opinion of bringing racing of the calibre of TRIROCK to Gauteng, “I think it is awesome! As much as I love Durban and all the fantastic events we have here I think the bulk of triathletes are up in Gauteng. To have a race on their regular training roads is fantastic and I believe that this event has the potential to be the biggest in the country. What I like about Grant and TRIROCK is that he is not scared of a challenge. He has a vision for a race and it seems no matter what the obstacle, he makes it happen. I think this kind of attitude is raising the bar for all events around the country and we as athletes are benefitting.”
Bringing international flavour to the event will be Karol Dzalaj from Slovakia who recently finished 7th in a triathlon in East London over the same distances as TRIROCK. Trained as a Special Forces solider, Dzalaj used his time in the army to gain strength and discipline – cornerstone qualities of triathletes. Winner of the Czech Cup, a long distance triathlon in 2012, he has participated in other international endurance events with his highlight being a 3rd place in IM Malaysia.
With the demands placed on the body by the extreme training these athletes have to go through other “Pro category” entrants such as Mike Cannon and Gerhard de Bruin will be looking to exploit any weaknesses these top contenders show. Cannon, runner-up to van Gelder in Durban, thinks it will be a difficult challenge but is up for the opportunity. “I love to race and will give it my all,” he said “but am realistic about my chances coming from Durban and racing at altitude. If it is my day, then I will be over-joyed but am just thrilled to be racing another incredible edition of the TRIROCK series.”
While these professionals have been fine tuning their performance, a strong first year field of triathletes have been preparing for months to complete the 1,9 km swim, a 90 km cycle and a 21 km run in a personal best time. All three disciplines require extensive skills and endurance training, but crossing the finish line on the day is sufficient reward for all the hard work they’ve put in. The sense of accomplishment they’ll get from finishing the race – whether in record time or not – is without equal. This ensures that there will be serious racing happening on the day along with a great deal of fun and fitness.
TRIROCK includes a kids’ event – called KidzRock, a sprint distance triathlon (CradleRock) and the long distance event so all members of the family can have an event to participate in. All ages, all abilities and all levels of fitness are accommodated adding the extensive fun element to the whole weekends activities.
Entries for the event are still open and more information is available at www.trirock-cradleofhumakind.com for the long event and www.rockthecradle.co.za for the sprint distance race. The event caters for relay teams, so athletes wishing to complete only an individual leg of the triathlon can do so as part of a team of three. Phone Grant Kunneke on 082 564 5345 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.