GUEST BLOGGER: Barry Wasserman
The rookie, the dust and the sunscreen lotion.
This past weekend a thousand excited people descended on Hakahana Trails to take part in the first of the DualX series. Among them were three scared but terribly excited Wassermans. Among them was me. We were in Gauteng for my granny’s 90th birthday and decided to use the opportunity to do something new.
Bas Lurman told his class of ’99 to do one thing every day that scares them ( and something about sunscreen but I can’t remember). Well, this past Saturday, it happened to be a duathlon (half distance) covering 2,5km trail run, 15km mountain biking and a final run of 1,25km.
Driving up to Hakahana, I liked the look of the veld and koppies. It looked promising. From there the well planned, managed and carried out event lived up to this promise. The biggest complaint being the heat, something that, as I was told, Advendurance was not in control of.
Registration was simple and easy. We each received a pair of nifty DualX socks (the first 500 entries got shirts) and our race numbers and handlebar stickers. We had time to set up in the transition zone, which was big enough to host a presidential family reunion, before stretching and warming up, while enjoying the festive vibe.
I noticed many older bikes and 26”ers in the transition zone, something I find very encouraging as I believe that a healthy inclusive and non-snobbish environment is good for sport. If you feel you were there on the oldest, cheapest bone rattler, good on you!
We lined up at 9am with evil little butterflies in our stomachs. My sister told me to get closer to the starting line and I ignored her sage advice, preferring to pass rather than be passed. I realized my mistake as I ran up to the first bottleneck about 12m from the starting line. Yep, I learned something very important right there. Sometimes…I am wrong….about some small things.
The 2,5km traversed some jeep track (good for passing slower runners) and single track (good for scenery). I was impressed with the well-marked track and well-placed marshals.
The great number and variety of athletes also had me smiling because no new person can feel uncomfortable in an inclusive and varied bunch like this. I found no gear envy among my fellow athletes. My prerace fears of looking like a rookie moron was washed away by the first wave of sweat and dust.
In the transition zone my shoe swap and gear change went smoothly with plenty of space for all to change as they please. A well-placed water point refreshed athletes with a choice of nourishment and drink.
The 15km route was a breeze with an ascent of around 200m (just my guess – please let me know the figures). Judging by the reactions of the other riders, it was technical enough to challenge all but easy enough to allow novice riders to complete the track without getting off too much.
Here I had a chance to catch up with the rest of the field with much of the single track wide enough to pass here and there. Again I noticed that it would take a pretty dull moment to get lost.
Now and then a stretch of jeep track or paved road would allow you to eat something. I had my lovely kakkerlakkies (dried dates that resemble dead multiple amputee cockroaches) and they provided the much-needed kick I wanted before the final run.
By now the sweat, sunscreen lotion and dust caused me to feel like a golem and the wind, instead of cooling me, just dried my new clay layer. I managed to pass a last few riders before heading into the transition zone for the last time.
I remembered to get off my bike in time and the transition went as smooth as possible for a newbie. Again you pass the water point and the final run leads you off on a quick loop on some more single track. Here my muscles introduced me to some new sensations. What caused it is beyond me but I pushed through and kept going as fast as I dared.
I lost a few places here but not much. The finish line was in sight, but only yours for the crossing, once you run up and down a cruel little bridge that has you heaving upwards for 3m, enjoy the view for 3m more and then fighting not to plant your face for the last 3m going down.
Next up was the finish line and catching your breath. I was scanned, given a medal, hosed down, given water and shoved into the results tent by a bunch of friendly people. Despite years of irrational fear, no one laughed at me or pointed at my gear and whispered to their friends. I was happy.
As the rest of team Wasserman came in, the prize giving ceremony was held and a lot of really trim and fit people that was not me got prizes and some TV airtime. What I got though was a sense of accomplishment, a smooch from my wife and the sneaking suspicion that God-willing, DualX will see me again.
Note from the wife:
I am usually the one that thrive on facts and columns and numbers. So I will not be untrue to my character and disappoint the countless readers who like to count:
|Class||Race Number||First Name||Last Name||Batch||Time||Position||Pos. Gen.||Category||Pos. Cat.||Difference||Status|
|Half Ind Open||406411||Barry||Wasserman||B||01:21:01||26||22||30-34||7||+00:25:08||Finished|