“The first race of the year often is all or nothing.” It’s a statement you hear before the season kick-off, when uncertainty regarding conditioning abounds. How strong did I come out of the winter? How did the others? And it surfaces again after the race, when results are discussed and dissected.
The Ironman 70.3 South Africa on January 20th was D-Day for the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team, and more specifically Tine Deckers, Bart Aernouts and Axel Zeebroek.
Bart Aernouts proved the “all” part of the tried and tested Ironman saying. He had left for South Africa reluctant to commit to ambitions for a top result. The birth of his daughter Paulien mid-December had shortened and altered his winter training. Would the January training camp in Lanzarote be enough to get him race ready? His impressive win on Sunday gave a resoundingly positive answer to that question. Bart might not have felt as strong as he wanted to, but in the end he out-powered the rest on the bike and in the run. It was a win he described as both reassuring and motivational. And really fun, naturally.
Axel Zeebroek and Tine Deckers got to face the flip side of the “all”. Axel had left for South Africa in excellent shape, as strong as he’d ever come out of a winter. The result: one of the worst season openers he’d ever done. No energy or strength on the bike and a disappointing 13th place finish. Tine Deckers, 14 weeks pregnant, was aching to record a top result in a race she had finished second and third in the previous years and which would be her last before she has the baby. Instead, she lost her goggles just 200 meters into the swim. Her race was over before it had even begun. That too is Ironman. Anything is possible, for better or worse. As we celebrate a successful kick-off to 2013, we look forward to the highs and lows that make our sport so (heartbreakingly) beautiful.
For more information about the Uplace Triathlon Team – click here