I was not in a good space the last time I blogged. But thankfully, and with very meticulously looking after myself, I got over it and I’m here now, amped and ready to race. I feel good and I can’t wait to set foot on Hobie Beach and for that start gun to go.
It has taken difficult decisions to really put my well-being over FOMO this last while. One such time was when I decided to not do a long ride with the team because of the risk and the conditions so close to race day, and instead I did the long ride on a Wattbike in the gym. 5 hours in the saddle and finishing 140km on a stationary bike. I didn’t think I had it in me, but I managed it. That ride also happened to be particularly tragic for the team because there were 2 crashes, a few broken bones, and 2 people out of commission and subsequently unable to race due to their injuries.
I feel like the Embark team has also bonded a lot more in the last bit of stretch to race day. In the beginning I was on my own most of the time because I was so much slower than the rest of them, but the last few rides were so special because the team helped each other through it. Sometimes this meant forcing me out of my comfort zone and making me go down on my tri-bars on stretches when I was still fearful of the bars. I may have also gotten a push up one or two hills.
Anyway, training is now done and we have arrived in Port Elizabeth. My main IronFan Fadeelah is here with me. We got a room upgrade because we complained that they gave us a double room instead of a twin room, a small detail that makes a massive difference. We are staying at the race venue hotel, so it’s quite pricey. I was not going to tolerate below-par accommodation when paying a small fortune for it. So we now have an even nicer room with a kick-ass balcony overlooking the start pier and transition area. Livin’ large baby!
Shameema, being from PE, was our chauffeur for most of the trip and she also took Gakeem and I on a short ride to show us the start of the bike course, and took Fadeelah and I on a drive of the entire bike course. And most importantly, Fadeelah and Shameema are going to be my main cheerleaders at the race tomorrow. WHOOP! They would also be a guide to Gakeem’s wife, since Meemi is a pro-level IronMan supporter already.
Race weekend is long for an IronMan race. There are lots of things to do. And of course, while doing those things, one has to take lots of photos. Registration & expo…photos and selfies. Race briefing…climb on the table for a photo with Esther because we are on opposite sides of the table. Quick run…team photo. Test swim…team photo before, team photo in the water. Yes IN the water. Of course it’s a perfectly normal thing to do! Pffft.
When I was returning from my quick bike test ride, I ran into Scott outside his hotel, which was next to ours. He was out on a run while Bianca was resting and doing final prep for the race tomorrow. I was so happy to see him and we hugged and had a quick chat. He told me that he is so happy to see how relaxed and in good spirits I am, because he remembers how down I was the last time they saw me. Yes, this certainly was a different Roggie to then. I sent my well wishes to Bianca via him and headed off. She has big plans to perform tomorrow, and she is so prepared!
During our test swim the water was very choppy. I asked my coach if that was normal and he said it wasn’t normal, the ocean is usually a lot calmer. I really hope it eases up by tomorrow. I really do not want them to cancel the swim for this race when I worked so hard on my swim, it wouldn’t feel as if I did a proper IronMan.
My bike is now racked in transition, my fuel supplies are all ready, and my kit is ready. Fadeelah being here has been a tremendous help to me, both mentally and physically. She made my sandwiches for my special needs bag for tomorrow, so they are going to taste extra special 🥰.
What a journey it has been! Started at the bottom… now we’re here. Tomorrow I swim 3.8km, cycle 180km, run 42.2km. I have 16h45m in which to do it.