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One of the few races on the Cape Town triathlon calendar brought us a spectacular setting out in the Slanghoek Valley of Worcester. Jailbreak (the title says itself) is usually set within the confines of a prison but unfortunately owing to logistical reasons and drought the venue had to change to the iconic Slanghoek Valley with beautiful surrounds, not to mention that most athletes are able to even take in this Valley while their eye-balls are popping out during a swim-bike-run event.
The race itinerary was set so that specific age-groups were split apart to make up for the possible clash of some few hundred athletes being in the dam at one given time. The swim consisted of two laps of the dam with a little off the deck dive for good measure and some entertainment. Olympic standard dives, face plants and belly flops, you name it, it probably happened. The pace of the swim was pretty hot from the start, nothing ITU style but still HOT. Kent and Riaan were leading the front pack with guys dropping off faster than you can say "anaerobic". I for one did not match the pace at all and wanted the swim over and onto the bike but not without a few kicks, punches, taking in some water and losing a swim cap though.
The run into transition (T1) was fairly close but not close enough for most as it's possibly the most crucial part of the race. The top guys were within sight of each other but it took a real body numbing effort to hold position. Leading out was Kent closely followed by Riaan, Travis McGrath and myself. With a few hiccups as always - nothing ever go smoothly or will go your way when heart rates are at their highest. A few kilometres down the road everyone started to find their positions except for Kent, who left us all for dust about a kilometre down the road. A few changes along the way meant myself and Travis pushing the pace while Riaan kept a fair distance but not far off the pace. This pretty much stayed as is for most of the way until about 30km in when Travis started dropping off. By this time, the profile of the race was hitting its heights and it was pretty much a climb to the transition zone. I enjoy the hillier courses as it suits me better but being the first race back after practically 2 years off I didn’t feel I had the strength to conjure any past performances I had climbing so I stuck to what I had. Getting closer to T2, thoughts of excitement came up that it was the last discipline and pretty much my element of triathlon - the run.
The transition was a slow one but I was in a good position anyway so I kept it steady. I heard a few shouts of my name but one that stands out at most races is my brother, Guy. He tends to get quite excited and likes to pass on splits between myself and the next guy, this one being Kent. "You're in fighting distance, RUUUN!!!". Obviously I'd believe him so I went out, maybe a little too hard but taking risks here and there in a shorter distance race is quite acceptable until you meet the stage where you realize it was a stupid decision. The run took us through the sandy jeep track in the vineyards for the first 3km before hitting the tar roads where you could see all the riders coming into T2. After about 4km I pretty much went into survival mode for the rest of the race and kept it there. I noticed at one point Kent had turned to see how close the next person was and that pretty much made him change a gear up. I knew that when my distance to catch had increased again. Yup, went out too hard, again! One rider passing by shouted "catch the coach". A few words came to mind but those will never be spoken of. After the turnaround came and gone, it was pretty much head on home hoping no Kenyan like runner was around the corner. I hadn't seen the other positions until crossing paths with them. Riaan had climbed into 3rd - Awesome, MTD top 3!! Travis (not MTD) looking in a solid 4th with Rohan and another guy (didn't know who he was) were in 5th and 6th. Brett aka "bike guy" in a solid top 10 too.
I was quite pleased that I could still remember how to put a swim-bike-run together but nothing stood out more than seeing the MTD guys and girls make up the big percentage of the top positions. Awesome work team! Onto 70.3 East London!!