With a sting in the tail, the Durban Triathlon took on a brand new format for 2016, changing from off-road to a road triathlon. More about the sting later, but the increased attendance due to the road format made for a great vibe and lots of action.
All the prominent tri clubs like Club MSM, Cape Multisport Club, ATC, and training groups like MTD and Tri4all showed up in great numbers. Athletes fresh off Ironman, newbies, oldies as well as top athletes like Jean de Villiers and SA ITU elite representitive Vicky van der Merwe, showed up.
The swim in the Phisantekraal dam can only be a winner on a perfect day. Flat and calm conditions made viewing the bouys quite easy, and since it comprises a two lap swim, it was great for spectators. The swim started in waves, minimizing the washing machine effect. As expected Vicky led the field for rhe ladies, and Jean also looked like the winner right of the bat.
The sting came in the form of the bike leg. Due to live stock that could not be moved from their pens, the transition area was moved away from the tar road, and athletes had to run on a 300 meter long jeep track to the tar road. But as the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. The next sting was the rest of the bike route that was extensively under construction. It required careful negotiating the single lane course sharing double lane traffic, as well as a very rough road surface at some points. With a pushy wind on the home leg and tough climbing, it was a super-demanding leg. The upside, if you embraced these adversities, it counted in your favour. If you were the nervous, easily scared type, your race would be impacted very negatively. You had to beat these variables, or get beaten. You choose! Nevertheless, the bikes flew with vigour towards T2 and the run.
The 2-lap run through the Durbanville vineyards is always the best. It is not trail and not road either, just a fast off-road run. The 5 Km lap ascends 124 meters over the first 2,5 Km, taxing the legs quite a bit, but then offered a very fast negative slope back to the turning point. A more enjoyable run is hard to find.
As predicted, Vicky led from start to finish, but due to an unforseen infringment in the swim leg, had to be omited from the results. In style, Vicky applauded Iqela Events for presenting this race, as triathlons are not happening that often. Jean de Villiers showed his metal by taking the win with authority and class.
Next year all roadworks will be a thing of the past and even faster race times will be clocked. We look forward to see all of you there! A big thanks to Land Rover, First Accent, Sportsmans Warehouse and Brooks for their contributions to make this event possible. For all the results follow this link.