Half-Ironman 70.3 St. Croix – May 4th, 2009
The Half Ironman in St. Croix was a gorgeous race amongst 520 global athletes.
As a proud member of the flourishing TNCTC (Team Nevis Cycle and Triathlon Club) and Youth Officer of Social Services I must first herald the young people of Nevis: to become involved in sports.
I’m 28 and started sport in Nevis, 3 years ago: first with netball, then cycling, and now triathlon. I wish I had begun sooner. I would not have the same opportunities or capabilities of an athlete beginning sport in their youth.
It is very plausible to become good, even the very best, with the support and training in Nevis. Having placed 4th in my category, it is highly possible that any young person here could achieve that or better with some hard work. My first triathlon was two years ago, here, in Nevis, and three years ago: I had never ran, never rode a racer, and could not swim.
I am entirely grateful to the organization of TNCTC, and indebted to Winston, Reggie, James, and members of the club. I am grateful to the NIA for having afforded me the opportunity to represent our country. During the near 6 hours of racing I felt an abundance of appreciation and solidarity with Nevis. I could feel that I was competing for this country. It never felt like a personal achievement, but from beginning to end I could feel Nevis with me as I swam, rode, and ran. I knew what I could do was because of the investment, time, and training of Nevis and so was empowered to represent well.
The 2.4km swim took me 39.32 minutes in the open ocean from ‘the beach on the Cay’ to the transition area in central Christiansted. At the start of the bike there were 13 women ahead of me of 20 competitors aged 25 – 29. I started counting down every woman I passed and was determined to pass them all. The riding was beautiful; I felt strong on the hills and so decided to attack them all to get an advantage with the course. I rode ‘the beast’ standing, passing scores of cyclists of all ages, male and female. With 30km left to race of the 90k course there were only two women ahead to catch.
Unfortunately, a small piece of wire on the road found its way into my rear tire to puncture the tube. I had to stop and unassisted carefully sort out the procedure to change it with the ZIPP rims. While sitting on the grassy embankment at least 10 riders that passed asked me if I needed anything and if I was ok. What kindness! Luckily I had a spare tube and Co2 and after changing the flat recovered enough positions to come in a close 4th off the bike with total time of 3:12:27 including the stop. The 21km run was etched over plenty hills and included pavement, grass, sand, and a partial dirt track through the Buccaneer golf course. During the hot, hard two loop run, many athletes blew by me like they had rollers to the bottom of their shoes, appearing effortless. The three athletes in my category ran a better time, I was not able to catch them again on the ground, but I was determined that no one else would pass me.
The first loop a 26 year old woman from Brazil caught me and the two of us ran together sharing food and drinks as we ran past the aid stations. She was very strong and I willed my legs to work to not let her get ahead of me. The first hill of the second loop I attacked and made enough of a lead to comfortably hold on to my fourth position with a total run time of 2:07:13.
Winston was there with a big hug to meet me at the finish along with Vaden Jones and other Nevis supporters living in St. Croix. I held our flag proudly with a huge grin. Feat accomplished! It was a lovely lovely race. And though I came fourth in the event I did leave St. Croix with one ‘world championship,’ having won after rounds of dominoes the title amongst an eclectic athlete crew later that evening!
Next on the horizon is the Toyota Rainbow Cup in Tobago later this month. I am looking forward to tearing up that course and showcasing Nevis skills again. Having won last year, Reggie and I will be defending our titles.