Hellfire….what a race!
And it truly stuck to its name, as it makes us athletes pass through hell and make our bodies feel as if they are on fire with that sun penetrating the skin on our bodies.
The initial stages of the hellfire race start off calmly, with a walk down to the picturesque sandy beach, but even from before the word go, the race proves to be only for the tough ones.
The sea is rough, hence even the swim section will not be a breeze as the currents and waves need to be battled through. This did not deter me, as I fought bravely through the waves to produce a good solid swim. As I exited the swim section, I was faced with the daunting task of running (and sometimes trying to walk quickly) up the steps of the beach to arrive at the transition. This took my breath away more than the actual swim itself, so I was glad of a little ‘breather’ when I arrived at my mountain bike and I was able to stop, albeit for a few seconds, to put on my BUFF®, helmet and sunglasses. These were essential items to protect me from the sun, which was already quite strong!
Off onto the offroad mountain bike course, the going was tough. It was offroad terrain, in the dust, hilly and often solitary going in order to keep ahead of the pack. The tough bit on the bike was the infamous hellfire hill, where I had to physically get off my bike and push it up as the going was too offroad and too steep. I was not strong enough to carry the bike up the hill, as some of the top men did, but I ensured I was light on my legs, to keep going uphill as fast as possible. The BUFF® helped in this section as this year I was spared from the stinging sweat coming down into my eyes and causing yet another added discomfort. The BUFF® was playing its role brilliantly!
Back into transition zone after an arduous two laps on the bike and now it’s for the hardest section of the triathlon in terms of mental toughness. By now the mercury has crept over the 45 degrees centigrade mark and it is a challenge of mind over body, in order to run on offroad, dusty, hilly terrain, whilst on my right hand side I can look down to the sandy beach and clear blue water beneath me. My body wants to dive into that water, yet my disciplined mind keeps my body on track. Hydration and keeping the body cool is essential, hence the visor BUFF® helps shade my face, head and neck from the sun. I also threw ice cold water over my head, which the BUFF® material happily absorbed and then kept that coolness all over my head in the ensuing run segment.
I covered the two laps of the run segment strongly and ran through the finish gantry with a big sigh of relief that the Hellfire triathlon is once again conquered, and once again won for the fourth year running. I also thank the organizers and the sponsors, including BUFF®, for such a well organized event.
I was happy to win another BUFF® to make use of during my training, as no matter how many BUFFs I own, there is always another one I’d like to have, as they are all fantastic!