This trip to Budapest Ironman 70.3 2015, a relatively short period of time that created a wonderful memory. An amazing build up to the event, funky fellow Team Tissink athletes, an intense period of training building up to the event together with the ever present “will to succeed on purpose”.
A chilly overcast morning dawned as I made my way to the Infopark which served as the hub and start of the 2015 Budapest Ironman70.3 triathlon. The maze of underground and surface public transport made up of trams, trains and busses proving once again to be timeous and of great assistance.
The hype of activity and nervous tension that greeted us triathletes at the transition area was palpable, the “Geronimo” gang (mates from SA and abroad) were hard at work doing their last minute touches to bike, run bags and adding nutrition etc to their well oiled machines. An amazing atmosphere and vibe could be felt as the belated 09h00 pro start approached. A staggered starting time of 15 minutes between age groups made for a 10h35 start for the men in my 45-49 category.
A great experience for me to see most of my mates start and exit the water, stand on the road side and shout words of encouragement. With my start time fast approaching, it was time to do the proverbial wetsuit ritual and get in a quick 5 minute warm up swim before the horn sounded for the start. Like clockwork, the 10h35 horn sounded, the mind numbed as the inevitable swim start “washing machine” worked its magic with the 156 odd wetsuit clad triathletes all jostling for a clear swim line up to the first bout. The swim leg was 1900m in a bay off the side of the famous Danube river, fresh water, an out and back route with no major surprises. I exited the water in 31:41 pretty much content with the time and 24th place but knew that the bike leg lay ahead and that I had no idea of the route. Quick through T1 and out onto the asphalt I soon found a rhythm at around 37kmh as the course meandered along the rivers edge, a slight breeze made for a few interesting moments as I had 900mm deep section wheels on. Surprisingly quick and well marshalled roads led to the only real climb on the course which was at around the 15km mark. A big bump that took us up through some of the historic buildings and parks that make this such a famous city. The 90 km bike course was very technical in that there were a number of sharp 90 degree turns, tram tracks, bridges, traffic circles and cat eyes to negotiate. 2 laps of 45kms went passed relatively quickly and uneventful in a PB bike split of 2h28min averaging around 37kmh and a climb of 17 places up to 8th position off the bike. Exiting T2 with hurting legs made for a tough first 3 Km’s, digging deep and hoping for a small reprieve, the legs finally began to feel better at the first turnaround point which came at 2.5kms on a 4 lap 21km course. Seeing all of the fellow “Geronimo” triathlete gang at various stages out on the run leg made the ever increasing pain fade for brief moments. Making my way back to the red carpet on the last lap was hard, really intense and emotional as I began to realise that I could finish under the ever evasive 5hour mark. (This 5 hour mark was discussed and plotted on with coach Nats for some time). On to the red carpet passing loved ones, spectators, supporters and friends was a blur……under the arch and finally home in 15th position and PB of 4:51:19….. Emotionally high but physically shattered! Budapest conquered and medal in hand, thousands of micro thoughts racing through my mind it was time to eat, drink, celebrate and do my part in cheering to bring home all of our fellow “Geronimo” athletes.
Special mention must go to my ever present and supportive Wife Karen for once again being there for me through this journey, for her support and endless love. To Terry and Debs on their well deserved “international” podiums (wonderful people and friends). To coach Nats, the Tissink crew, thank you for the kind words and messages of encouragement.
Until the next adventure……