Race Report - Prestige Ultra

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go as planned on Sunday.

After a decent taper week, I was feeling fresh and ready to race. Prestige ultra was my prep race before Ironman. I was hoping to get a good indication of my fitness from this race.

Prestige is a half ironman distance event. 1.9km swim, 90km bike and a 21 km run. The course is very flat and fast.

The swim was a 2 loop course in the vaal river with a current behind you on the way out and then you turn and fight it on the way back.

The swim went well, I was able to get into a good rhythm early on and stuck to a solid pace. I came out of the water at 32min30sec (this is good for me). My transition was not too bad either and I hit the bike just after 35min.

My plan for the bike was to try and average 230watts normalized power for the 90 km course. This would give me an average of 77% of my FTP (functional threshold power) and hopefully an average pace of over 35km/hour. Things started well and I was able to maintain around 240watts for the first 20km, I probably would have pulled back a bit on the second loop. Unfortunately, this is where my race ended. I hit a rough patch of tar and because I was in the bars I lost control. This pushed me onto the gravel next to the road and the bike slid out under me. The right side of my body hit the tar and my hip took most of the impact.

I got some pretty bad road rash and I'm a bit bruised but nothing is broken and my head is fine…..well relatively speaking, I’ve never been 100% upstairs.

My bikes derailleur was bent, handle bars knocked out of position and front brake badly damaged. I will know the extent of the damage once I send it in this week.

Could I have carried on?…. probably. I would have had to disconnect my front brakes and gear changes would have been a bit of a mess but I think I could have got the bike functioning again. Physically I probably could have pushed on even though my body felt like I had been cleared out by Os du Randt. The thing is, this was not my main race and I took the decision to call it a day and save myself for Ironman.

So I sit here today thinking “what can I learn for this experience?” and the answer is simple. These things happen, it can be disappointing and annoying but in the end of the day you just have to get over it and carry on. It can be an accident, mechanical problems or just a bad day, but we don’t have control over everything and you just have to accept it. You need to put your big boy pants on, “man up” and get on with it. I’ll be back tomorrow for a double session  and to start the last big block before Ironman.

The one positive was that I was able to watch my mates Matt Kassel and Dave Brown compete. Matt had a brilliant day out and he finished in 5h01, a personal best (He would have gone sub 5 if he didn’t transition like a woman getting ready to go out for dinner). Dave also smashed it with a 4h55 and had the second fastest bike split, time to enter a full Dave.