In spite of not having the best of swims Basson Engelbrecht managed to finish third at the African Triathlon Cup race in Troutbeck, Zimbabwe, on Saturday. Ayan Beisenbayev (Kazakhstan) won the 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run in 2 hours, 01 minutes and 06 seconds. Germany’s Jonathan Zipf was second in 2:01:43 and Engelbrecht third in 2:02:35.
Engelbrecht (Tuks/HPC) impressed with his aggressive style of racing. He took the early lead in the swim, was the fastest on the bike and led the run for one lap. He said afterwards that he was looking forward to his next race.
He says: ‘I am glad that I now know that I can run and cycle with the best. The fact that I back myself on the bike so much that I have the guts to try breakaways and go around corners at full speed is certainly a big confidence booster. The long and hard hours I put into training have helped me to be aggressive when racing. If I am honest I have to admit that I have made one or two tactical blunders. But, as they say, you learn from your mistakes. We may have to check why I was so exhausted after the first bit of the swim. It could have been because of the altitude or maybe I started the swim a bit too fast. After about 150 metres I was in the lead by about a body length, but when I passed the first marker my body went numb and I had to ease up a bit. In hindsight it was amateurish of me to do that, because the pack was immediately behind me and they swam right over me. Luckily I did not panic. I managed to get into the slipstream of one of the guys, which gave me time to recover slightly and catch up with the leaders again.’
Engelbrecht, who was first off his bike, started the run. He was followed by the eventual winner, Beisenbayev, and his compatriot, Temirian Temirov, and by Bob Haller of Luxemburg. He says: ‘I took the lead for the first lap but Beisenbayev passed me going downhill. I was running quite comfortably and managed to put some distance between myself and the athletes from Luxembourg and Kazakhstan. Unfortunately the German athlete caught up with us. I’m very happy to say that I was able to run side by side with him for a lap and a half. I even pushed the pace up a bit. But when he found another gear going down the hills I just could not stick. But, yeah, for now I am happy with my third place finish.’
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott