The Robben Island Off-Road Triathlon – 1 November 2014

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“IT ALWAYS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL IT’S DONE” – NELSON MANDELA – Photo by Dylan Haskin

It was a perfect morning with clear skies and very little wind. My excitement got the better of me with my first trip to the iconic Robben Island and to top it of with we get to do a swim, bike and run on the island.

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The No.1 bike racking spot – Photo by Chris Hitchcock

As we left the Table Bay harbour, Table Mountain showed off her natural beauty, with cameras flashing away as each athlete and spectator made full use of this unique opportunity to capture this stunning morning in our mother city.

Soon after departure the focus shifted to the small island in the distance. Robben Island is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 km long north-south, and 1.9 km wide, with an area of 5.07 km². It is relatively flat and just a few meters above sea level. The crossing took around 60 minutes and with very little effort we reached the small harbour on Robben Island, which soon would be transformed into a washing machine as was always the case with open water swimming.

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View of the transition area as the sun starts to rise in the distance – Photo by Chris Hitchcock

The general feeling on the island was really chilled, with everybody smiling from ear to ear. Was that the case because of the opportunity to visit this historic island, or simply because of the great weather? The bikes got racked, bodies marked and everyone dressed up in their best Saturday race outfits. To my surprise even the water temperature decided to rise up to a reasonable 16 degrees, surprising all of us as the great Robben Island Triathlon show was to follow soon!

Start of the 800m swim.

Start of the 800m swim – Photo by Dylan Haskin

The 1st 200m of the swim was frantic, I got slapped by a fellow swimmer and in the process lost my goggles. I managed to find my goggles and once they were back on my head, tried to catch up with the leading bunch of swimmers, which never happened. I managed to settle into an easy rhythm and soon my swim was completed in around 13mins for the 800m. Once on the bike I told myself to take it easy and appreciate the surroundings, the natural beauty and near perfect day. As nature would have it, I soon caught up with a competitor in front of me and then another one. The view on the South East side of Robben Island was breath taking, I couldn’t feel any pain and just felt strong as the scenery numbed any possible weakness. I caught up with the leading lady, Robyn Williams and Richard De Villiers just before the second lap on the cycle. At this stage I decided I’m going for it and dropped another gear since only Michael Cannon stood between myself and taking the lead. I caught up with Michael with about 5km to go on the bike. When I looked back I noticed that no one was following me and I assumed something must have gone wrong for Michael. I later found out that he had two flats, the last one happening just as I passed him, culminating in a DNF for him.

I would also encourage everyone to use tubeless tires, as so many athletes didn’t finish the race due to running out of spares.

I would also encourage everyone to use tubeless tires, as so many athletes didn’t finish the race due to running out of spares – Photo by Chris Hitchcock

For the first time ever I entered transition in the lead and my plan was not to give it up. If you blinked you would have missed my T2. I got straight into my stride, knowing all too well that Michael can run.

At the turning point I had my first opportunity to take a look at the race field behind me. To my relief there was no one approaching my lead which gave me the opportunity to appreciate the view and sublime landscape. I have to admit, running with the lead bike was very cool and luckily he liked chatting as well. Although the TriRock Robben Island was a bucket list event to me, someone had to win and I’m very proud to say that this was my day.

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One of the magnificent views from Robben Island – Photo by Dylan Haskin

TriRock Robben Island, it’s not just a race, it is much more than that. It is hard to put it into words, but in this short race report I’m asking all likeminded active friends to do this race, no matter your fitness level. You have the option of a long and short course triathlon and also a 14km flat trail run where you get to relive rich history. I’m almost feeling that missing prize giving was meant to be. Everyone decided to rather do the prison tour, which resulted in us missing the time slot for the prize giving.

As athlete and media representative I’m proud to have been part of this event as the TriRock team really goes out of their way to deliver top class events with amazing locations.

Also a very big thanks to all the super friendly WP race referees, we all know these events will not be possible without them.

Herewith the top10 results:

Men

1 Tiaan Pretorius 1:35:44
2 Richard de Villiers 1:42:25
3 Burger Symington 1:44:01
4 Henry Wolstenholme 1:45:35
5 Cavan Osborne 1:45:41
6 Simon Lewis 1:45:49
7 Gerhard Hanekom 1:47:07
8 Dave Chapman 1:47:33
9 Favid de Villiers 1:53:32
10 Mike Shea 1:56:07

Women

1 Robyn Williams 1:43:18
2 Nina Swiegelaar 1:46:50
3 Ceejae Miller 1:56:05
4 Lynne Mclean-Anderson 2:13:12
5 Chantelie Brunner 2:16:56
6 Jane Fisher 2:19:18
7 Celeste Sirin 2:21:58
8 Annette Theron 2:29:20
9 Angela Allan 2:37:53
10 Michelle Davy 2:42:50

Hope to see you at their next event:

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The TriRock Cradle of Humankind inaugural event will take place at Hero Adventure @ Heia Safari nestled below Swartkop koppie adjacent to Cradle of Humankind. It comprises a 1,9Km swim, 90Km bike and 21Km run. Experience one of the true hidden gems of the Cradle of Humankind with a full road closure and stunning swim course.

Please follow me as I blog and race as part of @TeamEnduroHub

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