Written by Nicol Muller – triathlete, fitness coach, all round happy person.
Racing on the picturesque 300 year old Boschendal Wine Estate in Franschhoek in the 2016 Standard Bank Boschendal Duo challenge, where I took part in the 10 km trail run, was nothing short of phenomenal! With a few days of rain prior, I knew I was in for some mud and water.
Upon arrival at 07:30, unexpected showers started, my first thoughts: this is going to be fun! One thing about the off-road community – they are such a happy bunch – through the showers I saw mountain bikers slogging their bike up to the transition tent laughing, full of smiles! Many could and should learn from this mentality!
As soon as the first event started, I turned into race mode. Standing right in front of my group at the start line, I was the only one doing all sorts of weird warm-up movements having a young gentleman say from behind me “you look like you’re ready”. This young gentleman happened to also be the same lad who gave me my first splash of mud only 200 m into the race! It was sealed right there – I was a part of the trail – time to race!
The first part if the race was a consistent uphill section. This is where I am relatively strong and I was pleasantly surprised to find the gradient far easier than anticipated. Expecting a steeper climb I was happy to keep a decent pace and hopped over the rocks diligently while dodging bushy branches! Nothing too intense if you can keep your breathing pattern consistent!
After the climb we hit the single track, where my adrenalin started flowing! Again, to my advantage there we no real technical bits and it was a great little section to let the legs free up a bit! This section also allowed you to take in the beautiful surroundings.
The last speedy downhill section had a few abrupt changes in terrain which caught me off-guard at some points. A stream we ran through which at first I thought was just a waterlogged path, ended up being just that: a stream with rocks underneath! The very high wooden stairs we had to climb were a sneaky little treat and trying to run up the, I found my legs to be a bit like lead. Ending the descent with a flowing river crossing was indeed the cherry on top! What is a trail run without a stoney river? Stones…what stones? Fighting for a podium position, it literally felt like I was walking on water.
I ended up with a 3rd place which I was completely thrilled with as this was my first podium! A wise man once told me “podium positions become a habit”. I sure do hope it is true!
From beginning to end this event was extraordinary – the MC kept the vibe cheerful throughout and the event organizer Amoija really outdid themselves, from food to drinks to massages, all was at our disposal! I will be back next year and I hope to see you there too!
For all results follow this link: https://www.entryninja.com/results/event/6681
For more exciting Amoija events go here: http://amoija.com/