“Then, you walk in the dark wrapped up in a blanket to keep you from freezing and wasting valuable energy by shivering.”
The Big 5 consists of the following:
1. 80km Argus Cycle Tour Mountain Bike
2. 1.85km Dragon Mile Swim
3. 14km Featherbed Trail run
4. 34km Knysna Xterra
5. 21km Knysna Half Marathon
Event 1: Argus Cycle Tour Mountain Bike – 80km
It was a icy morning as every morning is in Knysna during winter time. I cycled up and down before the start to try and keep warm. The start is never easy, with a short neutral zone and then the climbing starts up the steep long climb of SilmolaHill, that warms you up very quickly.
Then a steep decent and another steep long climb, only at the top of that hill did I realize I lost my one water bottle and I struggled with only one, not wanting to stop to fill up at a water point as I would lose my group and because nothing fuelsme as well as Endurade does. I struggled at about the 45km mark with my legs feeling very sore from the effects of my Pompe disease but I just went easy and rested a while and then was able to finish strong in 3.49hrs.
Event 2: 1.85km Dragon Mile Swim – 1.85km
I got in the water about 15minute before the start, this was a must as you needed to try and get used to the icy water so that when you began the race you would not suffer from such ad brain freeze. I managed to stick with the top pro’s in the swim and came out 6th overall and 3rd in the big 5 field.
Day Off: Recovery
Very important on the day off to keep the legs up and recover hard, so I went for a leg loosening spin to the Knysna heads and took my bike through some trails and caves that you should not be taking your bike on. Those trails are meant for hiking, but I still had fun and it was very technically challenging. After I made sure to help my muscles recover with some NutritechCassein, protein that releases slowly over 6hrs and helps rebuild muscles.
Event 3: Featherbed Trail Run – 14km
I started off with a very cold ferry ride on the lagoon to the opposite side of the Knysna heads. It is one of my favorite trail runs because it is one of the few times during the year that they allow people to run on this side of the heads. You start with about 4km of very steep climbing and enough stairs to make anyone walk. At the 8km mark I had great pain in my legs caused from my condition and I had to stop and lie down in the bushes for a while and then I managed to walk for a bit and planned on walking to the finish but once I got to the train tracks I was able to jog again and I was very pleased to make it to the finish line.
My Altra Lone Peaks were perfect for this technical and challenging course.
Day Off: Recovery
Kept the legs in my amazing Incrediwear leg compression brace all day to help speed up recovery and blood flow. Double checked that bike was running smoothly for the next day event. Massage also of utmost importance.
Event 4: Knysna Xterra – 3km Trail Run/24km MTB/7km Trail Run
The 1st run I had to go very easy as my legs were not feeling great but once I got onto the mountain bike I felt really good and decided to start doing some catch up and so I rode really hard and started passing lots of competitors. We had so much rain the day before and so the Mtb course was very slippery and muddy. After 12km into the race I saw a friend who had a bad side wall slash in his tyre and he was coming 3rd in the Big 5 and he had no spares, so I decided since I am not racing hard because of my disease that I would stop and help him, it took quite a while as we had to take his tyre off and then put some Racefood bar (multi-purpose use) wrappers folded up on the slash and put a tube in and then bombed it twice. It worked and he raced away, good deed done. This meant I had to ride a bit more cautious as I had used all my spares on his bike.
I completed the bike in a good time and went onto the tough, very slippery last 7km run. The run went surprisingly well and I passed a lot of competitors, it was a great fun event and I am still taking mud out of my ears.
Event 5: Knysna Half Marathon – 21km
Starts with a very early icy cold taxi hell drive into the forest where the race start line is. Then, you walk in the dark wrapped up in a blanket to keep you from freezing and wasting valuable energy by shivering.
I always knew that the 21km Knysna Half marathon was going to be a challenge as the pain I experience as a result of my condition is heightened more so than ever when I run. So I started off slowly and began to build to a good steady pace, I had a great run except for the long steep downhill of Simola, I had to walk down there as my legs were just too painful. I was very pleased to finish in a good time and that was also the completion of the Big 5 Sport Challenge.
A huge thank you goes out to all my amazing sponsors, for all your continued support especially during this transitional time while I am still experimenting and finding out my limits with my newly diagnosed disease. I will be doing a lot of events in the future for a organization to try and create awareness of this rare disease, with our population in SA we should have 300 people with the disease but because of doctors not being aware of it there are only 4 diagnosed patients in SA. This is another way I see as a great opportunity to give you further exposure and media coverage.
“First In, Last Out”
“Train like a Pro”
“Embrace the Pace”
“Eat clean, train dirty”
“Live long, live strong”