TRIATHLON: Triple Challenge 2012: Race Report
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inGEAR: Words: Max Cluer, Sports Marketing | Photos: Cycho Media
TRIPLE CHALLENGE2012 Race Report
The eleventh Triple Challenge, which took place in perfect conditions on Sunday 4 November 2012, is a unique ultra-distance multisport event that has evolved to become one of the toughest endurance events in South Africa.
For those who embark on the solo journey over a 20 km trail run between the start in Pietermaritzburg to the first transition in Camperdown, then onto the bike for a testing 53 km mountain bike leg to Inanda Dam, which finishes off with either a 20 km paddle (Multisport race) or a 7 km trail run (Multi-X race), it is certainly a challenge. For the individual competitors, Race Yourself! was an appropriate race slogan, but for those setting the pace at the front of the field, the race was always on to claim the coveted titles. The MTB Challenge and the Challenge Trail Runs also took place on the same day, to make it a 4-in-1 Triple Challenge.
Derrin Smith, Team Jeep South Africa, 2012 Elite Men's Multicross Champion, Bike Leg, Monteseel
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19,6kms Trail Run Early morning start into sunrise
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Matt Trautman 2nd Elite Men Multisport Event Paddle Leg, 20kms with 2 portages
The Multisport RaceIt was an interesting race with Change A Life athlete Nhlanhla Cele and Matthew Trautman completing the first 20 km trail run with only 10 seconds separating them. But then Cele opened up a significant lead on the 53 km mountain bike leg, to arrive at the start of the paddle with nearly a 15-minute cushion on Trautman. As Trautman started to close the gap, Cele had to dig deep when he realised his victory was being threatened. Giving it everything he had, Cele went on to claim his second successive victory in a time of 06:13, barely a minute clear of Trautman, in second place. Gauteng athlete Tommy Booth, who was competing in his first Triple Challenge, claimed third place.
Top surfski paddler, Michelle Burn's (nee Eder) first attempt at the Triple Challenge saw her claim a deserving victory in the womens race, in a time of 07:49. Second place went to Caroline Ablort-Morgan, who finished the race in an impressive 08:45.
Competition amongst the various team combinations was strong with the invincible combo of runner Eric Ngubane, rider Jonathan Downham and paddler Barry Lewin (Team GU Energy) clocking the fastest overall time of 05:24 on the day in the Multisport race. The potent womens 2B Team (one runs, one bikes, both paddle) of top Dusi paddler Abigail Adie (Best 4) and defending womens champion Jean Hackland (Team Jeep) were the first two-man team home. Showing true spirit and camaraderie, a jovial Team Hash Trash was the first team in of five and they were well pleased with their efforts!
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ResultsMen overall: 1) Nhlanhla Cele (Change A Life) - 06:13.082) Matthew Trautman - 06:14.063) Tommy Booth - 06:56.04
WoMen overall: 1) Michelle Burn (Team Jeep) - 07:49.142) Caroline Ablort-Morgan - 08:45.51
TeaM 2a:1) Artav - 07:16.18
TeaM 2B: 1) Jeep/Best 4 - 06:31.44
TeaM 3: 1) Team GU Energy - 05:24.57
TeaM 5: 1) Hash Trash - 08:15.22
Nhlanhla Cele, 2011 & 2012 Elite Mens Multisport Champion on the Trail Run, 5kms into the race
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The Multi-X Race Change A Life athlete John Ntuli set a cracking pace over the first 20 km trail run, but at the expense of defending his title. Derrin Smith (Team Jeep) soon pulled back the two-minute lead Ntuli had gained on the run and went on
to clock a blistering bike leg of 02:11. There was no stopping the white Kenyan as he hammered home on the final 7 km trail run, in the rising heat, to claim the honours in an impressive 04:18.
An exhausted and elated Smith commented, I knew after last year that I needed to do some work on the bike and that's paid off today. My run was strong, but I knew that because my bike had improved I did not need to stay with the front runners on the first run and managed to conserve a little energy for the final run. This is the one I really wanted to win, so Im really happy Ive achieved my goal for the year.
Experienced multi-athlete Justin Porteous (Cranked for Christ) crossed the line in second place with a significant deficit of nearly 16 minutes. For an athlete of this calibre it was an indication of the tough conditions and heat build-up, which affected many athletes later in the day. Sizwe Mkhasibe (Change A Life) paced himself consistently over the three-part race to claim a well-deserved third place. Special mention must be made of Cape Towns Michael Redington, who finished fourth in his second Triple Challenge and less than 10 seconds off the podium.
Jeannie Dreyer (nee Bomford) added another title to her impressive resume as she claimed the womens title in the Multi-X race, and became the first athlete to win both the Multisport and Multi-X versions of Triple Challenge. Not forgetting that this classy athlete gave birth to her second child just five months ago! Melanie Palframan showed good form to place second ahead of a consistent race from Wendy Mills, who took third place.
The two-man team combinations were well represented with 2BX (one runs, one bikes, both run) contestants Team Singletrackfuel (Darryl Fitzell and Brendan van Wyk) clocking the fastest team time for the day in 04:52. The 2AX category (split the run, both bike, both run) was won by Sibling Supreme (Bruce and Teresa Moller) in a time of 06:11.
Dusi Legend and winner of the very first Triple Challenge 11 years ago, Martin Dreyer, congratulates Nhlanhla Cele on his 2nd win in the Triple Challenge, with Rebecca Laird, GU Energy South Africa
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Daniel Carleton Team Jeep South Africa, Nick's Sneak off Monteseel, Knarly Single Track
ResultsMen overall: 1) Derrin Smith (Team Jeep) - 04:18.372) Justin Porteous (Cranked 4 Christ) 04:34.223) Sizwe Mkhasibe (Change A Life) 04:47.18
WoMen overall: 1) Jeannie Dreyer (HiTec USN) - 05:25.042) Melanie Palframan - 05h58.253) Wendy Mills - 06:08.13
TeaMs 2aX: 1) Sibling Supreme - 06:11.59
TeaM 2BX: 1) Team Singletrackfuel - 04:52.48
Race Director Max Cluer commented after the event, It is great to see a resurgence of participants in the various Triple Challenge team categories. This race is incredibly difficult for an individual and is certainly a bucket-list event for any off-road endurance athlete, as can be seen by our proud list of champions over the past 10 years. As a team, it is achievable, lots of fun, and it's also very spectator friendly as the athletes traverse from Pietermaritzburg through to Inanda Dam. This creates a great vibe for the athletes and makes for an enjoyable day out for family and friends.
The Challenge MTBHeld in conjunction with the Triple Challenge on Sunday 4 November 2012, this 53 km mountain bike race into the Valley of a Thousand Hills may not sound too demanding, especially when the finish elevation is lower than the start, but its what goes on in-between where the challenge comes in. More than a hundred participants discovered this firsthand and the only rider to break the two-hour barrier on race day was defending champ Andrew Hill (TIB Insurance). While challenging, the route was equally spectacular with breathtaking views over the heart of the Valley of a Thousand Hills as riders' dropped down into the Inanda Dam Valley. The first half of the route was relatively easy, but the second half bit back with a couple of portage sections, some tricky single track and lung-buster hills, which combined with some heat and humidity made for a mix of energy draining and exhilarating mountain biking.
Hill claimed victory in a time of 01:56, but the result may have been very different had Brendan Davids (Team Sho Air) not punctured a tyre, but thats racing for you! Both of these top-class mountain bikers race regularly around the country and abroad, so when they commented on this being a tough ride, you can bet it was! Leeroy Emslie placed third.
Jackie Church (Team Jeep) was again the winner of the womens race in a time of 02:32, with second place going to USA rider Kendall Ryan. Nicola Nairn claimed third.
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ResultsMen overall: 1) Andrew Hill (TIB Insurance) - 01:56.452) Brendan Davids (Team Sho Air) - 02:00.443) Leeroy Emslie - 02:16
WoMen: 1) Jackie Church (Team Jeep) - 02:322) Kendal Ryan (USA) - 02:32.533) Nicola Nairn - 03:10.23
The Challenge Trail Runs With the demand for trail runs increasing, the organisers introduced the Challenge Trail Run as a stand alone event to the Triple Challenge last year. This year, the 10 km option was included to give trail runners the opportunity to run an exclusive route between Pietermaritzburg and Camperdown as part of the Triple Challenge on Sunday 4 November. Traversing four private farms and nature reserves, this run certainly was a treat.
Matthew Kretzmann and Alison Misselhorn were the respective mens and womens winners of the 20 km trail run. Both commented on how much they loved the run and route, promising to return next year. Roxanne Vale took the win in the 10 km trail run, with Klara Harman in second, and both claimed the fastest times, upsetting many of the men who trailed home behind them!
Results10 kM Men: 1) Ray Hartman - 01:00.022) Tinus van den Berg - 01:01.243) Carl Marks - 01:02.58