- Improve my swimming performance. Last time I raced at Buffelspoort I lost 4 min to the front guy Dan Hugo (in 2011).
- Become more familiar with the terrain and bike route. In the past I experienced nasty crashes from not knowing the course at all and the hidden dangers.
- Develop the necessary mtb bike skills to challenge the podium position.
- Focus on trail running technique and form. That meant improving my core function and stability. Changing my running style and stride. Building muscle strength for up and down hill running.
- Deal with the growing stress to perform and finish in a respectable position.
The misfortune I faced
- Picking up a small knee injury that lead to a great deal of irritation and paranoia in Oct/Nov 2012. I missed a good 8 weeks of running due to this injury. No not ITB, something else...
- Monday morning of race week my racing shoes started to strike. The outer soles began to peel off from the base off the shoe. – Thus I had to do some DIY work on my outer soles. In the process almost gluing my index finger and thumb permanently with super glue.
- Also on Monday got word from VA of their new "lane usage proposal".
- Broke my frame the Tuesday, something felt wrong with the bike while cycling in Groenkloof. Took the bike to Ruan Deysel the same day for inspection and on Wednesday only he realized were the funny noise came from. Ruan gave me options of what to do. I decided to fix the carbon damage. Lucky for me Ruan is one of the few men in the cycling industry who can fix carbon fiber structures. He worked on my bike (at night – in his own personal time) as if his life depended on it – huge appreciation from my side.
Had a solid swim trailing Dan Hugo by 1 min, 40 sec to Conrad and Pieter van der Mescht 4th on the bike after T1.
Half way mark in mountain sanctuary passed Pieter going into 3rd position on the bike. Trailing Conrad by 3 min and Dan by 2 min.
Small technical problem on the bike dropped back into 4th position by 20 km mark.
@ 24 km mark Stuart Marais (2012, 3rd at Buffels Xterra) and Tyrone White (2012, 4th overall) passed me with ease.
Finishing the bike leg in 6th position and trailing Stuart in 3rd position by 2 min.
Run leg the toughest run of my life.
Managed a solid 59 min on the 12 km.
Passed Tyrone at the 4km mark on the crest of the 2 km climb.
Caught Pieter on the 2nd climb and highest point of the race.
Finished in a respectable 4th position.
Post Race thoughts
Extremely satisfied and happy with my 4th position – 3 current world champs and 1 ex world champ participated.
Realized how well you must prepare just to make top 10.
Need to improve on my overall performance.
Beaten by 3 world class athletes deservingly.
Need to change some training sessions to be more specific towards Xterra.
Will find myself racing Mountain bike races to increase my performance and experience.
Will come back in 2014 stronger.
Well organized event and good value for money.
Extreme race and not for sissies...
Thank you to Michelle, Lindsey, Alma, Jan, JP, Harry, William, Lucky, Thabiso, Andre (Jordaan and de Beer), Ruan, Izelle, Francois (007), Heidi, Jacque and everyone else for supporting me and standing behind me. Biggest effort in preparation for a single event ever from my side...
Top 5 Men
Antoine van Heerden